2021 is set to be an unprecedented year, I don't think Nintendo are under any pressure from PS5. The PS5 has already shown us what to expect from it and it won't be attractive for Japanese buyers until well into the future when it become less bulky & expensive.
In terms of Nintendo they've already proven that they can make dominate the Japanese market without Major 3rd Party support and in 2021 they are actually going to receive more 3rd Party support than the previous 4 years combined. Combine that with their 1st and 2nd party exclusives and the situation in 2021 will be one of total domination by the Switch with over 90% of hardware & software market.
Prediction for 2021 known titles:
- Monster Hunter Rise >5M
- New Horizon, Ring Fit Adventure >2M
- Bowser's Fury >1.5M
- Momotaro, Olive Town >1M
- Bravely Default 2, SMT V, Rune Factory 5, Monster Hunter Stories 2 >500K
Just across the titles we know about thus far which have been dated as 2021 & evergreens I believe there is a lot of potential growth; as the games reveled thus far will definitely making a case for 2021>2020 in several different ways.
Monster Hunter Rise, New Horizon, Ring Fit Adventure have the potential to surpass 10 million sales combined in 2021. More importantly these will be three of the titles expanding the audience - just these three games can ensure hardware is flat YoY and we are about to experience the 3rd best year for a platform in Japan's history.
Outside of these titles we also have a consistent stream of games that will easily sell more than some games that made the Top 10 in 2020. Momotaro for example doesn't show any signs of slowing down and will likely continue to do well in 2020, that's why I think it has the potential to surpass 1 million in 2021, bringing it's lifetime sales above 2.5 million.
Olive Town will greatly benefit from last year's launch of New Horizon, the game is priced like Momotaro and will likely resonate with the audience that bought New Horizon.
Bowser's Fury is an enhanced edition of a game that sold 600K on the Wii U, so at bare minimum we are looking at 1 million sold(I think with potential of over 2 million lifetime).
We also have games that could definitely see big franchise growth like Bravely Default 2, Shin Megami Tensei V, Rune Factory 5, Monster Hunter Stories 2 but at least 3 of them I anticipate will take the franchise into a new stratosphere.
TOP 10 Switch Famitsu 2020 H1:
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons - 4.783.229
- Pokemon Sword / Shield - 626.193
- Ring Fit Adventure - 490.407
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 317.718
- Smash Ultimate - 265.630
- Minecraft - 260.993
- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX - 255.177
- Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training for Nintendo Switch - 208.796
- Super Mario Party - 198.773
- Splatoon 2 - 193.890
TOTAL SOFTWARE: 7.600.806
TOTAL HARDWARE: 2.666.882
As we can see in 2020 H1 outside of New Horizon no 2020 title really had much impact, Ring Fit Adventure was supply constrained during the first half of 2020, Pokemon Sword / Shield wasn't performing much better than what I anticipate Momotaro will do.
On average Switch was selling 100K per week but obviously a lot of the stock was focused on the New Horizon launch. The only new game to sell above 200K in the first half of the year was Pokemon Mystery Dungeon which honestly didn't perform all that impressive. Compare this to the situation if all the games I listed above manage to launch before the end of June:
- Monster Hunter Rise >3.5M
- Bowser's Fury, Ring Fit Adventure, New Horizon >1M
- Olive Town >750K
- Momotaro, Bravely Default 2 >500K
- SMT V, Rune Factory 5, Monster Hunter Stories 2 >400K
SOFTWARE PREDICTION >9450K
HARDWARE PREDICTION >3250K
To reach such a hardware total by H2 Switch would need to sell 125K hardware on average for the first 26 weeks of 2021, which would be 25% growth YoY.
With no Switch Pro or additional titles I think we are set to see such growth, outside of the much stronger line-up we are also going to see much less competition as the PS5 is unlikely to be able to maintain PlayStation's market share in 2020 - leading to some of the PS4 audience migrating to the Switch.
Now if a Switch Pro or some other major 1st or 2nd Party title gets announced for April/May by Nintendo - we might see an even stronger performance.
Overall Switch's position on the Japanese Market is unprecedented in 2021, the last time Nintendo enjoyed such domination was in 1994 and we cannot really compare the two periods as the video game market was far smaller back than.
A lot of people continue to talk about the cliff but 2021 will be another year of growth for Nintendo. Especially without any competition and a title like Monster Hunter Rise launching so early, there is definitely going to be strong momentum heading into H2. I cannot really talk about the second half of the year outside of the fact that it should at worse match H1 in terms of Hardware and Software sales. Once we know a bit more about what to expect in the fall we can draw our conclusions but 2020 had ZERO big 1st Party or 2nd Party games - imagine the difference Breath of the Wild 2 and a new Pokemon game can make to H2 2021.
One Final Reminder about the legs of Animal Crossing, since I think I might be underestimating the game with my 2 million prediction, we gotta remember we've never seen such a monster before.
- 2012: 2.286.977
- 2013: 1.730.182
- 2014: 232.273
- 2015: 195.655
- 2016: 118.463
- 2017: 247.621
- 2018: 105.371
- 2019: 47.880
- 2020: >8.5M shipped+digital