Forums - Sales Discussion - Switch can't/won't outsell DS because...........

Radek said:
120 million IMO, I don't expect anything more.

I would say the same thing. Which is a great achievement already.



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Keiji said:
Radek said:
120 million IMO, I don't expect anything more.

I would say the same thing. Which is a great achievement already.

100 million seems like a minimum with how it has been selling with a peak of 120-125 million. 



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Shadow1980 said:

Because this:

The Switch did better than the DS initially in the U.S., but that's because the DS had a weak start. When the DS Lite was released, the DS experienced the single largest and most protracted period of growth of any system ever in the U.S. market. Once you put the Switch up against post-DS Lite quarters, the DS has outperformed it considerably (only in Q4 of Year 2 did the Switch do better than the post-Lite DS). Overall, the DS sold about 8.2M in 2007, vs. about 6.5M for the Switch in 2019. That's 29.6% better for Year 3 for the DS. And the DS kept growing. Total Year 1 to Year 3 sales for the Switch are now only less than 700k ahead of what the DS did in the same time frame (and if you add in the 1225k the DS sold in Nov.+Dec. 2004, it's actually ahead of the Switch).

Unless the Switch can manage 50% YoY growth this year, that deficit is going to grow, very quickly, and considering January NPD summaries indicate the Switch is actually slightly down this year, and with no new hardware model due this year, that doesn't bode well for any significant year-over-year growth. Even a big price cut and some big game likely won't do the trick for the Switch this year. Historical sales patterns show that, in nearly cases (and in all cases with Nintendo systems), once a system has had several quarters of YoY growth and that growth ceases and turns into YoY declines, that system will have entered the terminal decline phase of its life. It's entirely possible that 2019 was the Switch's peak in the U.S., though we won't have a clear enough picture to tell for certain for at least another few months.

In Japan, the Switch has already racked up a staggering deficit against the DS. Even if we ignore the DS's 2004 sales, the Switch is running a deficit of nearly 8 million units against the DS. The Switch is even trailing the 3DS by a decent amount, and the 3DS also fell well short of the DS. Unless it pulls some mind-blowing figures over the next 3-4 years that put 2019 sales levels to shame, there's no way in hell the Switch is going to even come close matching the DS in Japan, much less surpassing it.

And if VGC data is any indication, the Switch will have to quadruple its current LTD sales figures in Europe to just tie the DS. No system has ever been that back-loaded, so it'd be safe to file that under "Not Going to Happen."

TL;DR: A cursory glance at the sales data demonstrates quite clearly that the odds of the Switch surpassing the DS are close to nil.

The main problem with this argument is that you can compare the DS to the first three years of the PS2 and get a similar story.  

Data has not yet shown when Switch will peak.  If we are going by sales so far this year, Switch has not peaked yet comparing YoY Jan-Feb sales to last year (worldwide).  Data has also not given us an indication yet of what Switch's legs will be like.  Going by data alone is going to give an incomplete picture.

On the other hand we can measure market size.  If you combine all of the handheld gamers and all of the home gamers, then that is a huge potential market for Switch.  It only needs to sell to about 55% of that market in order to beat the DS.  On top of that the home version is actually more popular than the Lite version.  Home gamers are going for Switch in a big way and handheld gamers love it too.  Switch has a lot more growth potential than even the DS had.

That is why saying the Switch can't possibly outsell the DS is calling this way too early.  



The_Liquid_Laser said:

The main problem with this argument is that you can compare the DS to the first three years of the PS2 and get a similar story.  

Data has not yet shown when Switch will peak.  If we are going by sales so far this year, Switch has not peaked yet comparing YoY Jan-Feb sales to last year (worldwide).  Data has also not given us an indication yet of what Switch's legs will be like.  Going by data alone is going to give an incomplete picture.

On the other hand we can measure market size.  If you combine all of the handheld gamers and all of the home gamers, then that is a huge potential market for Switch.  It only needs to sell to about 55% of that market in order to beat the DS.  On top of that the home version is actually more popular than the Lite version.  Home gamers are going for Switch in a big way and handheld gamers love it too.  Switch has a lot more growth potential than even the DS had.

That is why saying the Switch can't possibly outsell the DS is calling this way too early.  

What's the PS2 have to do with this?

In any case, we can look at older systems to look at trends to see when a system experiencing a period of growth might pass its peak and enter its decline phase (note: the N64 and 3DS were omitted from these charts because they peaked within their first year).

Except for the GameCube (for reasons I'll explain in a bit), every Nintendo system had a period of at least a few quarters where they experienced year-over-year growth (with the DS it was 14 straight quarters of YoY growth, the best such streak for any system ever), but that growth slowed and eventually flipped over into YoY declines. At no point in any Nintendo system released in the past 20 years have we seen a Nintendo system experience a period of growth, then some declines, and then another multi-quarter period of significant growth. It just doesn't happen. Once we see two or three quarters of YoY declines, that has always heralded the start of the terminal decline phase of a Nintendo system's life.

The GameCube was an odd duck because it had a price cut very early that gave a good boost to Q2 sales, but that had petered out, hence the YoY declines in Q2 & Q3 2003. Then it had another price cut in Sept. 2003 that gave Q4 that year a big boost, but that boost was even shorter-lived that the boost caused by the price cut.


Going back to the Switch, we can see that it already has had five straight quarters of growth. Except for a brief reversal in Q3 2019 (thanks to the release of the Lite), we've seen a general downward trend in the amount of YoY growth. While we don't have actual numbers yet, the Switch is known to be down already in January, only its second month where it was down YoY since Nov. 2018 (the other month was July 2019). Now, January could just be statistical noise, or it could be a result of Jan. 2019 having gotten a residual boost from Smash. It's possible that February and March could make up for it by being up YoY. I already admitted in my previous post that it's still too early in the year to tell for sure if the Switch is post-peak or not.

However, we do know the following two facts:

1) The Switch's YoY increases have been declining and, regardless of the reasons, Nintendo systems experiencing a multi-quarter growth period see said growth slow and then flip over into YoY declines, which initiates the post-peak period of the system's life.

2) The Switch's YoY increases have not been of the same magnitude of growth that the DS experienced. It's not even close. They're not even in the same league as the Wii's YoY increases during its growth period. They're more in line with those of the GBA.

Based on these facts, I simply do not see a multi-year increase in Switch sales in the cards (there's also no precedent for a multi-year period of flat-sales for Nintendo systems). And without rapid growth over the next two years, that gap between the Switch and the DS will grow and fast. Is it possible that we could see continued and significant growth out of the Switch? Yes. Is it likely? No. Could it potentially meet or beat the DS? Not a chance.

And as for the total size of the market, that's such a nebulous quantity as to be useless. After three generations, we can surmise that the total combined global market for PlayStation & Xbox is in the 170-180M range, something that's been pretty damn consistent so far (even the final WW total for combined PS4+XBO sales will likely end up in that range). But when it comes to Nintendo, they've been highly volatile. They went from the GameCube (bad sales) to the Wii (good sales) to the Wii U (bad sales) and now to the Switch (good sales). Even their handhelds have not shown much consistency. And this is all before taking into account regional differences in sales. And counting the home console and old handheld market separately is even less useful. We have only a vague idea what the overlap between Nintendo home console owners and PS/Xbox owners are, and we have even less of an idea what the overlap between what, say, Wii and DS owners were, or DS owners and PS/Xbox owners.

We have no idea that Nintendo's total potential market size is, and it really doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is what the sales data says, and as more time passes we'll start to get an ever more clear picture of what the Switch's trajectory will be.



Random_Matt said:
Someone say the Switch isn't underpowered? A downclocked Shield from years ago, deluded.

As a hybrid it’s fine 



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Can someone remind me how many units Switch sold in 2019? Can't find the data and I'm on phone atm.



Radek said:
Can someone remind me how many units Switch sold in 2019? Can't find the data and I'm on phone atm.

19.35 million units. 



Shadow1980 said:

[...]
However, we do know the following two facts:

1) The Switch's YoY increases have been declining and, regardless of the reasons, Nintendo systems experiencing a multi-quarter growth period see said growth slow and then flip over into YoY declines, which initiates the post-peak period of the system's life.

[...]

I believe this depends on whether you are looking at US/Americas data or Worldwide data. 

Switch shipments for first 9 months of fiscal year

Apr. 1 to Dec 31 Americas YoY % increase World YoY % increase
2017 4.74 12.13
2018 5.8 22% 14.48 19%
2019 6.85 18% 17.74 23%

The YoY increase was actually greater for the first 9 months of the current fiscal year.  Not only has Switch not peaked but it's growth rate is increasing too.  The Americas tell a different story.  One might guess Switch is slowing down in the Americas but not the rest of the world.  But what I really think is that Smash Bros is simply really popular in the US and that makes 2018 proportionally higher in the Americas compared to the worldwide total.  Either way, Switch sales have most definitely not peaked nor are they anywhere close.

Shadow1980 said: 
"And as for the total size of the market, that's such a nebulous quantity as to be useless. After three generations, we can surmise that the total combined global market for PlayStation & Xbox is in the 170-180M range, something that's been pretty damn consistent so far (even the final WW total for combined PS4+XBO sales will likely end up in that range). But when it comes to Nintendo, they've been highly volatile. They went from the GameCube (bad sales) to the Wii (good sales) to the Wii U (bad sales) and now to the Switch (good sales). Even their handhelds have not shown much consistency. And this is all before taking into account regional differences in sales. And counting the home console and old handheld market separately is even less useful. We have only a vague idea what the overlap between Nintendo home console owners and PS/Xbox owners are, and we have even less of an idea what the overlap between what, say, Wii and DS owners were, or DS owners and PS/Xbox owners."

There are lots of industries out there where markets are actually measured and analyzed.  Come to these forums and people act like it's voodoo.

The home console market is pretty easy to measure because of Generation 6.  PS2 + XBox + Gamecube = 158m + 25m + 22m = 205m.  Now looking at Generation 8 we are far enough along to get good estimates, PS4 + XB1 + WiiU = 130m + 50m + 14m = 194m.  The market size hasn't changed much (net) since Generation 6.  The Wii temporarily gained and lost a lot of customers, which might confuse people.  But comparing Generation 6 and 8 there is not much change.  The handheld market is really easy to measure 3DS + Vita = 75m + 16m = 91m.

If you combine the home and handheld market that is a potential of 285m (194m + 91m) sales.  Given, I do know there is some overlap, but it isn't so big of a deal as people say, since it is common for a household to own more than one handheld.  I.e. a household that owns a PS4 and a 3DS can easily buy 2 Switches as well.  However, lets just take the most conservative case anyway which is that there is 100% overlap between the home and handheld market and each household only buys one system.  Even in that case Switch sells to the whole 91m handheld market plus to some percentage of the remaining 103m (194m - 91m) in the home market.  Even in the extremely conservative case Switch has the potential to pass the DS.

That is why it is really too early to say it's impossible at this point.  I personally have reason to believe that it is not just possible, but the likely result.  However, I am just trying to present the idea that it is possible here.  The market size indicates it is possible.  And the current sales data won't give a strong indication who is right until after Switch has hit it's peak year.  What is clear is that Switch sales are still accelerating.  It's too early to call based on data alone.



victor83fernandes said:
Radek said:

Yes it can run GTA 5 and COD but neither of these publishers want to release these games on it so...

People are missing the point, most people are upgrading to 4K, in fact you almost cant find a 1080p TV anymore.

Then, GTA5 is from last gen, it doesn't hold up well compared to modern games, gta5 is full of jaggies compared with modern open world games.

Then the ps5/xbox series X will be another big jump, further eliminating jaggies.

By next year, the graphics will be way ahead of the switch, switch will still be great for portable games, but not for full console games as those will look leagues ahead on the main consoles, therefore no one will buy a 720p game on switch if they can have it in 2160p on the main consoles, that's like 9x the pixel count, imagine that, and then the main consoles will have better effects, performance and AA, add to that the switch could have maximum 64gb space on the memory on the SD, the new home consoles can do 100GB on 2 discs (2 discs are way cheaper than a 64gb SD).

The switch is fine for ports and some people might trade graphics for portability, but next gen the difference will be far too massive, I personally think it already is, playing witcher 3 on my xbox X is a huge difference to the switch, its like a completely different game all together, so imagine next gen. 3rd party developers will be forced to leave the switch, unless they want to make exclusive games for it.

So, sales will start to slow a lot next year when people witness next gen graphics.

The switch will be left behind just like the Wii was when the ps4/One released. Graphics were acceptable against the ps3/360, but not acceptable compared to the ps4/One

What a nonsense.

People didnt stop buying wiis because of ps4/one graphics. It just became less attractive, specially for it main demographics, along with the lack of support. And people dont buy switch because graphics of xbox one x. I bet you didnt buy the switch to play the witcher. They buy because they can play mario kart, zelda, smash bros, and even ring fit adventure (this one exclusively on tv), the main selling point of switch has nothing to do with the pixel count of switch against any competitor.

Yet, It is likely that switch start to decline after ps5/series x launch, because it was a coincidence that the launch of these consoles is around the time switch gonna peak. But would be a mere correlation, not the cause. 



Shadow1980 said:
The_Liquid_Laser said:

The main problem with this argument is that you can compare the DS to the first three years of the PS2 and get a similar story.  

Data has not yet shown when Switch will peak.  If we are going by sales so far this year, Switch has not peaked yet comparing YoY Jan-Feb sales to last year (worldwide).  Data has also not given us an indication yet of what Switch's legs will be like.  Going by data alone is going to give an incomplete picture.

On the other hand we can measure market size.  If you combine all of the handheld gamers and all of the home gamers, then that is a huge potential market for Switch.  It only needs to sell to about 55% of that market in order to beat the DS.  On top of that the home version is actually more popular than the Lite version.  Home gamers are going for Switch in a big way and handheld gamers love it too.  Switch has a lot more growth potential than even the DS had.

That is why saying the Switch can't possibly outsell the DS is calling this way too early.  

What's the PS2 have to do with this?

In any case, we can look at older systems to look at trends to see when a system experiencing a period of growth might pass its peak and enter its decline phase (note: the N64 and 3DS were omitted from these charts because they peaked within their first year).

Except for the GameCube (for reasons I'll explain in a bit), every Nintendo system had a period of at least a few quarters where they experienced year-over-year growth (with the DS it was 14 straight quarters of YoY growth, the best such streak for any system ever), but that growth slowed and eventually flipped over into YoY declines. At no point in any Nintendo system released in the past 20 years have we seen a Nintendo system experience a period of growth, then some declines, and then another multi-quarter period of significant growth. It just doesn't happen. Once we see two or three quarters of YoY declines, that has always heralded the start of the terminal decline phase of a Nintendo system's life.

The GameCube was an odd duck because it had a price cut very early that gave a good boost to Q2 sales, but that had petered out, hence the YoY declines in Q2 & Q3 2003. Then it had another price cut in Sept. 2003 that gave Q4 that year a big boost, but that boost was even shorter-lived that the boost caused by the price cut.


Going back to the Switch, we can see that it already has had five straight quarters of growth. Except for a brief reversal in Q3 2019 (thanks to the release of the Lite), we've seen a general downward trend in the amount of YoY growth. While we don't have actual numbers yet, the Switch is known to be down already in January, only its second month where it was down YoY since Nov. 2018 (the other month was July 2019). Now, January could just be statistical noise, or it could be a result of Jan. 2019 having gotten a residual boost from Smash. It's possible that February and March could make up for it by being up YoY. I already admitted in my previous post that it's still too early in the year to tell for sure if the Switch is post-peak or not.

However, we do know the following two facts:

1) The Switch's YoY increases have been declining and, regardless of the reasons, Nintendo systems experiencing a multi-quarter growth period see said growth slow and then flip over into YoY declines, which initiates the post-peak period of the system's life.

2) The Switch's YoY increases have not been of the same magnitude of growth that the DS experienced. It's not even close. They're not even in the same league as the Wii's YoY increases during its growth period. They're more in line with those of the GBA.

Based on these facts, I simply do not see a multi-year increase in Switch sales in the cards (there's also no precedent for a multi-year period of flat-sales for Nintendo systems). And without rapid growth over the next two years, that gap between the Switch and the DS will grow and fast. Is it possible that we could see continued and significant growth out of the Switch? Yes. Is it likely? No. Could it potentially meet or beat the DS? Not a chance.

And as for the total size of the market, that's such a nebulous quantity as to be useless. After three generations, we can surmise that the total combined global market for PlayStation & Xbox is in the 170-180M range, something that's been pretty damn consistent so far (even the final WW total for combined PS4+XBO sales will likely end up in that range). But when it comes to Nintendo, they've been highly volatile. They went from the GameCube (bad sales) to the Wii (good sales) to the Wii U (bad sales) and now to the Switch (good sales). Even their handhelds have not shown much consistency. And this is all before taking into account regional differences in sales. And counting the home console and old handheld market separately is even less useful. We have only a vague idea what the overlap between Nintendo home console owners and PS/Xbox owners are, and we have even less of an idea what the overlap between what, say, Wii and DS owners were, or DS owners and PS/Xbox owners.

We have no idea that Nintendo's total potential market size is, and it really doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is what the sales data says, and as more time passes we'll start to get an ever more clear picture of what the Switch's trajectory will be.

In the U.S Switch's year over year growth is slightly lower, however worldwide the Switch is still growing in sales based on 2019. If we were to take VGchartz numbers though so far for 2020, The Switch is likely experiencing around a 20% growth YoY which is similar to last year despite not having a game in Jan-Feb of 2020 unlike 2019 where NSMBU released. So it's hard to argue the Switch's growth is slowing down when only looking at U.S numbers since worldwide the Switch is still growing slightly. The only thing that might slow the momentum down in 2020 is the shortages as a result of the coronavirus.

It's still unlikely it'll come close to the DS's sales because the Switch doesn't really have that casual gamer appeal like the DS did, but the Switch's growth certainly isn't slowing down.