The Nintendo Switch will sell five million units in 2017, according to a new report. A sales forecast from industry analytics firm SuperData Research suggests that sales of the console could hit five million by the end of the year, with North American sales set to account for 45% of that figure, European sales set to account for 35% and sales in Nintendo’s home country of Japan set to account for 12%.

But SuperData (via GameSpot) expects Nintendo, which itself has forecast 2 million Nintendo Switch sales at launch, to face significant challenges following the console’s “slow-and-steady” release. The firm expects the console to “appeal mostly to a loyal fanbase” before a “broader, more mainstream audience” adopts it.

Moreover, the high price of the console – $300 without a bundled game – is a “higher barrier to entry for consumers” when compared to the PS4 and the Xbox One which both include at least one free game for that price. SuperData calls the need for Nintendo to establish the Switch as a “second device” the “biggest challenge” for the company, as it will need to take into account the fact that over 50 million PS4s have been sold and over 20 million Xbox One consoles are in the wild.

zelda breath of the wild

SuperData also points to the “absence of strong launch titles” as a particular problem area. The Nintendo Switch launch line-up has been called weak by some who just aren’t impressed by the amount, the quality or the price of the console’s games. While it’s true that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (the most talked about Switch launch game) has been getting stellar reviews across the globe, more than one incredible well-received game is needed to establish the Nintendo Switch as a must-have purchase.

Despite this sales forecast failing to paint a rosy picture for the Switch’s first year on sale – and reigniting concerns that the console won’t outdo its predecessor, the Wii U – nothing is certain. The release of games like Super Mario Odyssey, which unfortunately miss the Switch launch window, could prove to be a massive hit for the console. Nintendo may even have some secret games up its sleeves, such as the rumored Nintendo Switch port of Pokemon Sun and Moon. Either of these could see the Switch sell even more than five million this year so it’s perhaps a little too soon to count the new console out just yet.

The Nintendo Switch will be available from March 3, 2017.

tags: Nintendo, Switch