If you were hoping for Nintendo to surprise us with a new console this holiday season, you can officially shelve your excitement until at least next year. In an earnings call this week, Nintendo’s President, Shuntaro Furukawa, announced that no new or upgraded hardware is planned for the current financial year, which goes through March 31, 2024. This all but guarantees we won’t see a Switch 2 or Switch Pro before next April at the earliest.
Given how popular the Switch has been since its debut in 2017, this is not especially surprising, but sales have slowed significantly over the past year. Switch sales declined 22.1% from 2021 to 2022 due to semiconductor shortages, production issues, and the global economy. Despite all of this, Nintendo will push forward with its six-year-old console.
With all of that in mind, why isn’t Nintendo rushing to get a new console to market?
Two words: New Zelda.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will be available exclusively for the Nintendo Switch this Friday, May 12th. As of last December, Breath of the Wild had sold 29 million copies, making it the fourth best-selling Switch game of all time. The sequel is one of the most highly-anticipated games of 2023, and while Nintendo has already sold over 125 million Switch consoles, millions more will fly off the shelves if Tears of the Kingdom is as celebrated as its predecessor.
“Sustaining the Switch’s sales momentum will be difficult in its seventh year,” Furukawa said on a call after the results were revealed, according to Bloomberg. “Our goal of selling 15 million unit this fiscal year is a bit of stretch. But we will do our best to bolster demand going into the holiday season so that we can achieve the goal.”
Save for the arrival of Mario Kart 9, there are few better ways to bolster demand than releasing the sequel to a game many consider to be one of the best ever made.
Nintendo is banking on Tears of the Kingdom in May, Pikmin 4 in July, and its DLC for Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet this fall and winter to give the Switch another year of viability before it turns its attention to new hardware. So if these new releases do not push sales over the edge, and Nintendo doesn’t come close to hitting its 15 million unit target, the company might finally have to reallocate its resources to the Switch 2.