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May NPD 2019

Forums - Sales Discussion - May NPD 2019

Shadow1980 said:

(Note: Same format as previous post.)

"The bias I was refering to is your general neglect of handheld consoles, not something that has to with a specific manufacturer."

1. Well, I went ahead and addressed handhelds in my previous post. The Switch isn't a pure handheld, though, but it wouldn't surprise me if a lower-cost handheld-only model was released in the future.

"Your bias was most visible when Aquamarine could only provide NPD numbers for five consoles and you agreed with her that the 5-10k units the 360 and PS3 sold each month were more important than data for the 3DS and Vita which sold many times more (well, not really true for the Vita, but the 3DS did a lot better than 10k units a month)."

2. When did I do this? I don't recall it. I do recall asking for 3DS data in the past since we're missing a lot of months from 2017 & 2018 (and I think we've gotten only one month for 2019 so far), and I have made charts comparing the Switch to the 3DS in other NPD threads. If I did have that exchange with Aquamarine, well, you must have a much better memory than I do if you can remember what I did better than I do.

"Switch was always meant to replace both the Wii U and 3DS."

3. Not officially. A per Reggie himself:

"3DS has a long life in front of it. We’ve already announced games that will be launching in the first couple quarters of this year. There are a number of big games coming. And in our view, the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Switch are going to live side-by-side. You’re going to be meeting different price points, you’re going to be meeting different types of consumers, you’re going to have the newest, freshest content available on Nintendo Switch, you’ve got a thousand-game library available on Nintendo 3DS, plus some key new ones coming. They’re going to coexist just fine. We’ve done this before, managing two different systems."

"I think there’s a sense that Nintendo Switch is a portable device. It is portable. But at its heart, it’s a home console that you can take with you on the go."

And the market responded to it as if it weren't a direct replacement for the 3DS. Based on the partial data we do have, 2017 doesn't appear to have experienced a massive drop-off like what we saw with the DS in 2011, or the GBA in 2005, or the GBC in 2001. Even 2018 seems to have experienced only a modest decline (VGC pegs it at -26%, which seems plausible given the limited NPD data indicates sales that were slightly up earlier in the year, modestly down in the summer, but down a good bit in the last third of the year). 2019 seems to be the point where the 3DS is finally starting to accelerate in its decline. Even looking to Japan, where the Switch is selling more like we'd expect from a handheld, we didn't see the 3DS experience a major drop-off, at least not right away; it didn't start to experience any consistent and major declines until November 2017. Overall, the 3DS's decline is more gradual than we'd normally expect from a system that has been officially replaced. It's decline more closely mirrors what we've seen of the Vita in Japan, which never had a successor and only declined gradually before starting to run out of gas entirely as support dried up.

"What's missing in your analysis is price, something that matters in the handheld market."

4. I do think a lower-cost (~$200) handheld-only model is likely. But do I think it'll be guaranteed to propel the Switch well beyond the Wii? I don't know about that. I'm taking a wait-and-see approach. I still think a best-case scenario would be a statistical tie with the Wii, though I would love to be proven wrong if and when we see a handheld-only Switch model released. Also, it wouldn't surprise me if at some point the standard model Switch got a price cut, but I doubt it will be a deep price cut, which means I expect its effects to be modest.

"The obvious highlights of late-life DS and 3DS first party support were Pokémon games that arrived after the respective successor had already launched."

5. The DS getting Pokemon Black 2 & White 2 does not translate to "good post-replacement support." According to Wikipedia's list of DS games, that was literally the only Nintendo game released for the DS after the 3DS was released. From April to December 2011, the DS had only 18 games released for it. 11 games were released in 2012, and only three in 2013. That's not very good support. The 3DS got good support for a while after the Switch was released, but Nintendo officially didn't consider the Switch a 3DS replacement. Likewise, the GBA continued to get good support after the DS was released, but Nintendo's original intent was for the DS to supplement the GBA, not replace it. Whenever Nintendo releases a system with the intent of it replacing another, the system being replaced was quickly abandoned.

"Furthermore, with Nintendo now only supporting one console per generation, the transitional phase between Switch and its eventual successor can absolutely be expected to see first party support for Switch after the successor has launched, because the hybrid console business model comes at a relatively high launch price, so the predecessor's purpose is to serve the lower end of the market."

6. Considering Nintendo's track record of rapidly abandoning a system once an official replacement is released, I'll believe it when I see it.

"You don't seem to be aware how long the Switch's battery life actually is."

7. As someone who bought a Switch on day one, I have to say that I do know. In my experience, I get about 2 to 2.5 hours of play time playing stuff like Smash, Zelda, or Mario. It is far more limited for on-the-go play than Nintendo's dedicated portables were. My 3DS can last me twice that or longer. That's why I think Nintendo's first big revision for the Switch ought to be a dedicated handheld model with a longer battery life. It's nice being able to play the Switch undocked, but it just doesn't last me long enough to bother taking it out of the house for an extended period of time. Depending on the games you play, you probably need a car charger for any kind of extended road trip.

"Expecting the Switch to get replaced about as fast as the 3DS was despite Switch being much more successful is far from a best case scenario."

8. Considering Nintendo systems still run on cycles closer to historical norms, I cannot assume the Switch will run for longer before its successor is released. I don't just assume breaks from precedent without good reason. There was a 5-year gap between the NES and SNES (six if you count the test market runs that began in 1985), between the SNES and the N64, between the N64 and GC, and between the GC and Wii. There was only a 4-½ year gap between the Wii U and Switch, though the Wii U's life was cut short. There was a 6-year gap between the DS and 3DS, between the Wii and Wii U, and between the 3DS and Switch. The GBA was around for only 3-½ years before the DS was released (though as mentioned Nintendo's original intent wasn't for the DS to replace the GBA, but it did have that effect as far as consumers were concerned). The only Nintendo system to have a truly long lifespan was the Game Boy, which, if we count the GBC as a Game Boy model (as Nintendo does), was around for 12 years before the GBA was released. Given historical precedent, I will not assume the Switch's successor will be out any later than late 2022/early 2023, and my projections assumed a Q1 2023 launch.

If Nintendo starts to run on longer cycles and can sustain it, that's great, and it could be what the Switch needs to surpass the Wii, but once again I'll believe it when I see it.

"I expect Switch's successor to launch in late 2024. The above numbers are roughly my best case scenario. I think that adds up to 52m lifetime. But since not everything works out ideal all the time, my actual prediction is ~45m."

9. So you not only think passing the Wii is a surefire thing, but that it could likely pass the PS2 and potentially even threaten the DS's record? Well, if there's one thing I can say is that you're a far more generous person than I am. I recall being accused of being too conservative for the PS4 as well, so it's not really in my nature to assume near-record sales.

1. What's more likely is that Nintendo will release a handheld-first Switch because they won't give up the concept of different playstyles. Such a handheld-first Switch would have built-in controls on the console itself, but would still be able to switch after the separate purchase of accessories (dock, controllers); such an SKU brings down the costs considerably without hurting the overall marketing message.

2. It happened when Aquamarine was an active member, so probably in the first half of 2016. Your motivation was to complete the datasets for the 360 and PS3.

3. Reggie's job was more the one of a marketing guy than someone who has real influence on the direction of Nintendo. Back then when he said that, it was important to establish Switch as a home console that can be used in portable mode, because Nintendo was charging $60 for the games. If Nintendo had allowed it to let it settle in that Switch is a handheld that connects to the TV, the software prices would have become a problem. Regardless of marketing speech though, the market had no problem to accept Switch as a home console that can be played on the go, because the signature games for it comfortably met the expectations that people have towards home console games.

That Switch didn't cut into 3DS sales like a conventional successor would have done can be attributed to the launch price of Switch at $300. The 3DS launched at $250, but that price was cut to $170, €170 and 15k yen so quickly that the launch price didn't hold the 3DS back for long.

4. Following your statement how Switch didn't cut into 3DS sales like a conventional successor, you are unsure if price is really a factor. I mean, look at how the 3DS sold at $250 and what it pulled off at $170.

5. I had lost track of what this point was really about. It's about whether or not Switch will see good late-life support. And yes, Switch can be expected to get that because of what I already mentioned before. The next transitional phase will have only two Nintendo consoles that need attention, Switch and its successor. Previous transitions were a lot harder to manage because of current gen home console and handheld plus a next gen home console and/or handheld where up to four consoles were involved. The Wii U getting cut off in early 2017 (Breath of the Wild was its last Nintendo game) created a situation of only two consoles Nintendo had to take care of after that point, Switch and the 3DS. That already went well. Whereas the DS was in a situation of having been replaced by the 3DS, the Wii getting games too, plus the upcoming Wii U already occupied developers in 2011 as well.

6. A good analysis considers the surrounding circumstances and picks out precedents that match up the closest. There's no good reason to sit there and pretend that Nintendo will have to manage three or more consoles at once when Switch is getting replaced.

7. This kind of narrow game selection you mention there forces me to reiterate that you have a general bias against handhelds, because if you played a broader range of games, you'd have experienced better battery life. That aside though, yes, a handheld-first Switch will emphasize longer battery life because price isn't the only important thing for a portable console.

8. Here's a summary of an investors briefing which holds more weight than something Reggie says.

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2018-02-09-nintendo-plots-longer-lifecycle-for-switch

If Reggie could convince you so easily, you should take the above as fact.

9. I expect Switch to do so well because it's more than a usual home console. The above link also highlights that the portable aspect can help to increase sales because there's an incentive for more than one unit per household, something that has historically been rather common for Nintendo handhelds in the United States.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

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What's up with the thread for June?



chakkra said:

What's up with the thread for June?

NPD results don't get leaked until at least 10 days after a tracking period has ended, so there's no point in making a thread any sooner.

July 6th is the final day of June 2019, so the June NPD thread won't get made next week either.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

RolStoppable said:
chakkra said:

What's up with the thread for June?

NPD results don't get leaked until at least 10 days after a tracking period has ended, so there's no point in making a thread any sooner.

July 6th is the final day of June 2019, so the June NPD thread won't get made next week either.

Ohh, ok. Thanks

I just wanted to make my predictions early :)



Shadow1980 said:

"You don't seem to be aware how long the Switch's battery life actually is."

As someone who bought a Switch on day one, I have to say that I do know. In my experience, I get about 2 to 2.5 hours of play time playing stuff like Smash, Zelda, or Mario. It is far more limited for on-the-go play than Nintendo's dedicated portables were. My 3DS can last me twice that or longer. That's why I think Nintendo's first big revision for the Switch ought to be a dedicated handheld model with a longer battery life. It's nice being able to play the Switch undocked, but it just doesn't last me long enough to bother taking it out of the house for an extended period of time. Depending on the games you play, you probably need a car charger for any kind of extended road trip.

That's awfully low. I get way over 3 hours, sometimes close to 4 hours out of Smash. Seems like your model has some battery failure to me.

I do agree on the longer battery life of a Switch mini. The Mariko chip/die shrink seems to be perfect for just that: Same power while consuming a good chunk less energy.

Last edited by Bofferbrauer2 - on 07 July 2019

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Bofferbrauer2 said:

That's awfully low. I get way over 3 hours, sometimes close to 4 hours out of Smash. Seems like your model has some battery failure to me.

I do agree on the longer battery life of a Switch mini. The Mariko chip/die shrink seems to be perfect for just that: Same power while consuming a good chunk less energy.

Maybe I have the volume up too loud? My hearing isn't the best.



Shadow1980 said:
Bofferbrauer2 said:

That's awfully low. I get way over 3 hours, sometimes close to 4 hours out of Smash. Seems like your model has some battery failure to me.

I do agree on the longer battery life of a Switch mini. The Mariko chip/die shrink seems to be perfect for just that: Same power while consuming a good chunk less energy.

Maybe I have the volume up too loud? My hearing isn't the best.

A few factors can go into the battery. Volume, brightness, airplane mode, and of course, the game your playing. 

I bought the Switch on launch day, (Take a wild guess why.) And I've had it last for as short as 2.5 hours to as long as 6.5-7 hours. 

I can get close to 7 hours on airplane mode and low brightness with Sonic Mania. 

I agree that the first Switch revision we get needs to put longer battery life at the forefront. I'm just not keen on the idea of making a handheld only model to do it, because, to me, it defeats the purpose. The main selling point of the Switch is that it can work as both a handheld AND a console, whichever one you prefer.

I think it would be better to make a Switch Slick or Switch Mini, with the added battery life, by itself that is also compatible with the docking stations, which are already being sold separately, along with selling the Switch by itself without the dock. That way, you still have the bundle or SKU that focuses primarily and on the portable/handheld aspect of the Switch, without completely disregarding the stationary/console aspect of it and defeating the main concept.



Pancho A. Ovies

Nintendo Switch in Japan (Famitsu): 2018 vs. 2019
http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread.php?id=238945&page=2

PlayStation 4/Xbox One/Nintendo Switch: 2018 vs. 2019
http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread.php?id=239387