According to the Wall Street Journal, the Nintendo Switch's massive success's caught its company a little off-guard. An initial production run of eight million Switch units turned out to be far short of demand. To quote:
In the fiscal year starting April 2017, assemblers under contract with Nintendo are now planning to manufacture 16 million or more Switches, up from an initial plan for eight million, said people briefed on the plans. Even after accounting for inventory, that suggests Nintendo believes it can sell significantly more than 10 million units during the 12-month period, they said, beating expectations of many analysts.
First-year sales above 10 million would clear the threshold that analysts say must be reached to generate interest from outside software producers, who in turn can deliver a fresh stream of titles to keep consumers interested in the device.
Of course, this feeds into criticism levied by Jim Sterling and others that Nintendo's release plans and recurring shortages across multiple products reveals a rather lackluster competence when it comes to actually pushing their own product. But a cloud of uncertainty about the Switch's fortunes may conceivably excuse the conservative release. As Games Industry reported earlier, analysts were predicting wildly different figures leading up to its launch:
- DFC expected 8.5 million, with an eventual install base of 40m.
- IHS expected a lackluster 4.4m by its first year.
- SuperData initially expected only 5 million.
- Niko Partners expected 10 million -- the most optimistic of the quoted analysts, but still short of the current expectations.
SuperData claims that the Switch has already exceeded 1.5 million units sold in its first week, thus leading to the turbocharged production announcement. Only 13.56 million Nintendo Wii Us were ever sold, meaning that the Switch is expected to come close to, or even exceed, its predecessor's final numbers within its first year.