zero covid effect for sony and Microsoft?
The COVID bump was clearly a thing for the PS4 & XBO (I've gone over this in previous threads and will not reiterate the data & analysis here), and I think it's definitely a factor for the PS5 & XBS. Demand for consoles is still elevated. I think that if there were no supply issues, the PS5 & XBS would have total combined sales well ahead of the PS4 & XBO, which had no stock issues, rather than simply barely keeping pace with them. Sony & MS got the least benefit out of the COVID bump because of the generational transition. They shipped enough PS4s & XBOs to meet what they thought was going to be a normal level of demand in 2020, not expecting the sudden surge in demand that began in March. And for whatever https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-16/sony-is-said-to-plan-limited-playstation-5-output-in-first-year">reason, they haven't been making enough of their newer systems to fully meet demand for those. Nintendo meanwhile was in the middle of a console life cycle rather than in the middle of a transition. Nintendo was much better positioned to weather the aspects of the pandemic that could negatively impact sales potential, and were able to increase production of the Switch. Had the pandemic happened in, say, 2017 instead, we could have potentially seen a record-smashing year for combined PlayStation & Xbox sales, while the Switch, still in its infancy and having moderate supply issues, could have been negatively impacted.
Well you do know what happened to people predicting peaks for the Switch, right ?
Yeah. They failed to predict a major pandemic would hit and cause demand for consoles to skyrocket.
Literally every professional analyst and commentator agrees that the pandemic was the primary driver of the increased demand for consoles over the past year. The data agrees with them. The only place where that simple fact is controversial is online discussions where there's frequently less partiality on the matter because some people feel they have a horse in the race. As I've said in previous threads, based on known predictions, not a single person, professional or amateur, came anywhere close to getting it right for the Switch in 2020. Had the pandemic not been a thing, the last 12 months would have seen far lower Switch sales.
I get it. Lots of perfectly reasonable and understandable excitement for the Switch. It's a great system with great games. Nintendo fans are happy to see it selling well after the company hit a rough patch post-Wii. But let's not pretend that the last 12 months of sales were normal. They weren't. And when things go back to normal, it stands to reason that demand will soften in the absence of the biggest factor that drove increased demand in the past year. Demand for consoles is abnormally high, fueled by increased demand for at-home entertainment and further boosted by stimulus checks. If demand is being artificially inflated by a temporary external factor, it stands to reason that once said factor goes away the level of demand will not maintain its momentum. I look at the pandemic as a canister of nitrous that gives a temporary one-time speed boost to a race car. But apparently some people think the Switch exists in a vacuum and once you let off the accelerator it will continue coasting forever at the same speed, regardless of what made it go so fast in the first place.