Nintendo's Next Console Transition Is A "Major Concern" For The Company [Update]

Nintendo wants to retain as much of its userbase as possible when it moves on to a Switch successor.

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During a Japanese investor Q&A this week, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa spoke about how the company plans to transition away from the Switch console in the future.

"We have already announced a portion of our software roadmap releasing up to next spring," Furukawa said (via VGC). "Unlike the past, we continue to have a large variety of games scheduled to be released, even beyond five years of release. This is because the Nintendo Switch has had such a smooth launch, allowing us to focus all of our development resources on a single platform."

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Update: Although that translation originally included the phrase "major concern," Nintendo's subsequently released transcription (PDF) does not use that language. Translation is not a perfect science, and it's possible that Nintendo wanted to clarify its wording with the translated version.

Whatever the case, in response to a question about eventually transitioning to a new generation of hardware, Furukawa said, "[L]ooking back on past experiences of generational change such as the change from the Wii and Nintendo DS eras, we recognize that one of our tasks is ensuring the transition to future generations of hardware is as smooth as possible. To that end, we are focusing on building long-term relationships with our consumers (through Nintendo Accounts). While continuing to release new Nintendo Switch software for consumers to enjoy, we aim to maintain relationships across hardware generations through services that utilize Nintendo Accounts and by providing opportunities for them to experience our IP through other non-gaming channels."

The original story follows.

Furukawa explained that Nintendo's strategy is to ensure that it doesn't lose its massive userbase--over 100 million users according to the company's 2021 financial year report--will be to ensure that it provides services that also use Nintendo Accounts and other IP outside of gaming software. Some form of backwards compatibility was hinted at by Furukawa, as another method for retaining the Switch's audience.

As part of Nintendo's latest earnings briefing, the company announced that lifetime Switch sales have now reached 107.65 million units as of March 31 and game sales have climbed to 822.18 million units. That figure currently puts the Switch close to the PS4 and Game Boy on the best-selling consoles of all time chart, although it still has a way to go before it can beat the PS2 record of 155 million lifetime sales.

That number could be hard to achieve due to the global semiconductor shortage caused in part by the coronavirus pandemic, which Nintendo believes won't end anytime soon. This past fiscal year, Nintendo sold fewer Switch units than the one prior and the company has also dropped its expected Switch sales for the current fiscal year from 21.7 million to 21 million.

There'll still be plenty of games to play on the system though, including a number of first-party titles such as Bayonetta 3 and plenty of indie games that were revealed in today's Indie World Showcase.

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