Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Nintendo Q&A - Outlook for fiscal year ending March 2021

Nintendo has uploaded the English translation of last week's Q&A session with their investors:
https://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/pdf/2020/200508e.pdf

Here's an abridged version written by myself, for the full information visit Nintendo's official page.

Hardware (A1 and A4) - Nintendo was unable to produce as many Switch consoles as they wanted last fiscal year, hence the shortages in the Japanese market. Components for the current fiscal year are secured, but COVID-19 continues to pose a risk because it remains unclear how long the worldwide crisis lasts. The forecast assumes no major hickups.

Software (A1 and A4) - Game development via home office comes with large challenges and games might get possibly delayed in case that the corona crisis is prolonged or worsens. However, Nintendo's forecast assumes that first party titles can release as planned. (Sidenote: Yesterday's announcement of Paper Mario, scheduled for release in July, should be comforting for the people who like to assume the worst.)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (A1 and A5) - Around 50% of the consumers who purchased AC:NH in Japan, the USA and Europe in March got a digital copy. This means that SuperData's estimate of 5m digital copies in March alone was surprisingly close. What played into the high digital share was that Nintendo originally anticipated lifetime sales of around 15m, but actual demand greatly exceeded their expectations right from the start. This explains both the low physical shipments of Animal Crossing in America and Europe (Japan alone got ~3m copies, leaving only ~3m for the rest of the world, a breakdown that I didn't think was realistic) as well as their in hindsight modest hardware forecast back in January (forecast for the fiscal year was adjusted up to 19.5m Switch consoles shipped, actual result was 21m).

Switch's lifecycle (A2) - Nintendo reiterates that Switch has just entered the middle of its lifecycle and that it is possible to aim for growth that is unlike any other hardware to date. (In other words, Switch's successor is still more than three years away.)

A3 - Nintendo answers a speculative question with common sense and is unsurprisingly vague because they aren't clairvoyants.

More emphasis on evergreens (A5 and A8) - Nintendo now considers their long term sellers even more important than in the past. Should go hand in hand with their answer to Q8 regarding an increased marketing budget. When the number of old titles grows and new games have to be advertised as well, it costs more money to cover all games eventually.

Digital business (A6) - Digital software sales are expected to continue to grow, albeit not at the rate seen in the most recent fiscal quarter because Nintendo understands that COVID-19 restrictions provided a boost, plus Animal Crossing is a game that users like to have installed on their console for quick daily access. Paid memberships for Nintendo Switch Online are above 15 million accounts (family memberships included). The number of consumers with a Nintendo account has exceeded 100 million.

China (A7) - Did not contribute significantly last fiscal year, is not expected to contribute much in the current fiscal year either. 2.37m Switch consoles were shipped to Other last fiscal year and China accounted only for a small part of that number. Not all that surprising when only three Switch games (NSMBU Deluxe, MK8 Deluxe, Super Mario Odyssey) were released over the course of the first four months of availability of the console, two of the aforementioned three titles weren't out until mid-March.

Mobile business (A9) - Nintendo is working on new applications, but is not ready to announce them at this point. No intent to release more applications than during any of the previous fiscal years.



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NSW successor not coming in 2022 confirmed for those who suggest it, I still think if this FY and next FY continue to do close to/above 20mil then a successor won’t come intill end of 2024 or spring 2025. Most people seem to be on board with 2023 spring which doesn’t make sense to me



tbone51 said:
NSW successor not coming in 2022 confirmed for those who suggest it, I still think if this FY and next FY continue to do close to/above 20mil then a successor won’t come intill end of 2024 or spring 2025. Most people seem to be on board with 2023 spring which doesn’t make sense to me

The people who want a successor to launch in spring 2023 or earlier are those who don't want ports of PS5/XSX games on Switch's successor.



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

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

tbone51 said:
NSW successor not coming in 2022 confirmed for those who suggest it, I still think if this FY and next FY continue to do close to/above 20mil then a successor won’t come intill end of 2024 or spring 2025. Most people seem to be on board with 2023 spring which doesn’t make sense to me

I think unless the Switch continues to sell insane numbers in 2022, we will see a successor in either holiday 2023 or first half 2024 (as that time slate seemed to work well for Switch) I don't at all see it happening prior to then regardless and if the console keeps selling it could definitely be even later.



tbone51 said:
NSW successor not coming in 2022 confirmed for those who suggest it, I still think if this FY and next FY continue to do close to/above 20mil then a successor won’t come intill end of 2024 or spring 2025. Most people seem to be on board with 2023 spring which doesn’t make sense to me

Remember when people thought PS5 was for sure coming in 2019? Those same people think Switch successor must be coming 2022. Nintendo has it's own plans as always. :P



The sentence below is false. 
The sentence above is true. 

Currently playing Skryim modded to hell and back. 

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RolStoppable said:
tbone51 said:
NSW successor not coming in 2022 confirmed for those who suggest it, I still think if this FY and next FY continue to do close to/above 20mil then a successor won’t come intill end of 2024 or spring 2025. Most people seem to be on board with 2023 spring which doesn’t make sense to me

The people who want a successor to launch in spring 2023 or earlier are those who don't want ports of PS5/XSX games on Switch's successor.

Yes this exactly. Longer they wait the more powerful the Switch 2 will be, which means the smaller the gap will be with the home consoles, which means the more likely Switch 2 will be able to get current multiplat games.

With how popular Switch is it never made any sense to suggest it would be replaced in 2022, I don't understand where those people are coming from. I think Spring 2023 has always been the earliest reasonable guess, but holiday 2023 or spring 2024 is far more likely. I'm all for spring 2024 as by then I think Nintendo will be able to launch a Switch 2 that will have a smaller gap with home consoles than the current Switch gap, leading to much better third party multiplat support, and March launch worked for Switch having two huge buying seasons for year 1 so it makes sense they'll do it again.



The "wait for years to have better hardware argument" is non-sensical.

For starters the PS5 and XB2 are not magical unicorns. The RDNA2 architecture they use is only now catching up to Nvidia chips from 2 years ago. AMD seriously lags behind Nvidia. Nvidia Ampere (which a 2023 Nvidia chip would likely be based on) will still be architecturally better than RDNA2, so as long as the chip is Ampere based it will have the architecture that's better than what's on RDNA2 chips. There is no point in waiting for Orin based chips to have better architecture than RDNA2, Ampere will already do that without much fuss. 

The Switch 2 chip really would only need to be about the same to the PS5 as the Tegra X1 was to the XB1 circa 2015.

If it is and you add in DLSS 2.0 or 3.0 implementation, the Switch 2 becomes basically effectively 3-4x more powerful because it only needs to draw 1/4-1/15th the pixels is some cases.

If DLSS had been available on the current Switch, it would be able to run PS4/XB1 games no problem.

The issue with waiting so long is third parties invest too much into PS5/XBSX/PC's pipeline that those systems become their focus, they're not going to care that much about a platform that is starting way back at 0 in 2024 when PS5 is well past probably 50 million units by then + whatever XBox has.

The current Switch can actually handle a lot more PS4/XB1 ports, devs just don't want to bother with it because the PS4 + XB1 + PC userbase is so far ahead and they don't want to change mid-cycle that much. Timing is as important as hardware, if you wait too long developers have already made their bed for the generation and are not going to be as amenable to including something else. 

Last edited by Soundwave - on 15 May 2020

Soundwave said:

The "wait for years to have better hardware argument" is non-sensical.

For starters the PS5 and XB2 are not magical unicorns. The RDNA2 architecture they use is only now catching up to Nvidia chips from 2 years ago. AMD seriously lags behind Nvidia. Nvidia Ampere (which a 2023 Nvidia chip would likely be based on) will still be architecturally better than RDNA2, so as long as the chip is Ampere based it will have the architecture that's better than what's on RDNA2 chips. There is no point in waiting for Orin based chips to have better architecture than RDNA2, Ampere will already do that without much fuss. 

The Switch 2 chip really would only need to be about the same to the PS5 as the Tegra X1 was to the XB1 circa 2015.

If it is and you add in DLSS 2.0 or 3.0 implementation, the Switch 2 becomes basically effectively 3-4x more powerful because it only needs to draw 1/4-1/15th the pixels is some cases.

If DLSS had been available on the current Switch, it would be able to run PS4/XB1 games no problem.

The issue with waiting so long is third parties invest too much into PS5/XBSX/PC's pipeline that those systems become their focus, they're not going to care that much about a platform that is starting way back at 0 in 2024 when PS5 is well past probably 50 million units by then + whatever XBox has.

The current Switch can actually handle a lot more PS4/XB1 ports, devs just don't want to bother with it because the PS4 + XB1 + PC userbase is so far ahead and they don't want to change mid-cycle that much. Timing is as important as hardware, if you wait too long developers have already made their bed for the generation and are not going to be as amenable to including something else. 

No. Just no.

First off no one is saying wait years to get a more powerful system. Most people agree 2023-2024 launch is when would make sense, but if the later part of that range means a Switch 2 that can handle home console ports without a ton of issues and therefore it will get way more multiplats then it makes sense to launch in the later part of the reasonable Switch 2 launch range unless the Switch is totally dead by 2023 which seems incredibly unlikely.

And why are you talking about magical unicorns? Home consoles are obviously more powerful than a portables. No the Switch can not handle more than the PS4/XB1, that's ludicrous, it isn't nearly as powerful as them.

At least you are right about one thing, devs don't want to bother with porting games to Switch, but you're wrong about the reason. If Switch could easily handle those games like you suggest then of course they would port them, otherwise they'd just be throwing away money. The whole strategy behind mutliplats is to get them on as much hardware as possible. They don't bring them to Switch because it takes a lot of effort to port it over and figure out how to get it running well on Switch and what downgrades should be put in and trying to figure out if it'd just be so downgraded as to not be a good experience so people won't even be interested in it. And that is the whole point of waiting later in the launch range for Switch 2 if that means getting that extra bit of power to bring it close enough to the home consoles that third parties don't have to try to figure out if porting and downgrading a game to the Switch 2 is gonna leave it in a poor state, they'll just be able to port it over with perhaps a few simple graphical downgrades equivalent to lowering the settings on the game (i.e. lower res, shorter draw distance, little bit lower frame rate, but everything else the same).

Saying third parties won't invest in Switch 2 because they're just gonna stick to PS5/XBS/PC pipeline is the whole point of what we're talking about. We want a Switch 2 that is powerful enough to be in that pipeline! To say that is non-sensical is itself non-sensical!



Slownenberg said:
Soundwave said:

The "wait for years to have better hardware argument" is non-sensical.

For starters the PS5 and XB2 are not magical unicorns. The RDNA2 architecture they use is only now catching up to Nvidia chips from 2 years ago. AMD seriously lags behind Nvidia. Nvidia Ampere (which a 2023 Nvidia chip would likely be based on) will still be architecturally better than RDNA2, so as long as the chip is Ampere based it will have the architecture that's better than what's on RDNA2 chips. There is no point in waiting for Orin based chips to have better architecture than RDNA2, Ampere will already do that without much fuss. 

The Switch 2 chip really would only need to be about the same to the PS5 as the Tegra X1 was to the XB1 circa 2015.

If it is and you add in DLSS 2.0 or 3.0 implementation, the Switch 2 becomes basically effectively 3-4x more powerful because it only needs to draw 1/4-1/15th the pixels is some cases.

If DLSS had been available on the current Switch, it would be able to run PS4/XB1 games no problem.

The issue with waiting so long is third parties invest too much into PS5/XBSX/PC's pipeline that those systems become their focus, they're not going to care that much about a platform that is starting way back at 0 in 2024 when PS5 is well past probably 50 million units by then + whatever XBox has.

The current Switch can actually handle a lot more PS4/XB1 ports, devs just don't want to bother with it because the PS4 + XB1 + PC userbase is so far ahead and they don't want to change mid-cycle that much. Timing is as important as hardware, if you wait too long developers have already made their bed for the generation and are not going to be as amenable to including something else. 

No. Just no.

First off no one is saying wait years to get a more powerful system. Most people agree 2023-2024 launch is when would make sense, but if the later part of that range means a Switch 2 that can handle home console ports without a ton of issues and therefore it will get way more multiplats then it makes sense to launch in the later part of the reasonable Switch 2 launch range unless the Switch is totally dead by 2023 which seems incredibly unlikely.

And why are you talking about magical unicorns? Home consoles are obviously more powerful than a portables. No the Switch can not handle more than the PS4/XB1, that's ludicrous, it isn't nearly as powerful as them.

At least you are right about one thing, devs don't want to bother with porting games to Switch, but you're wrong about the reason. If Switch could easily handle those games like you suggest then of course they would port them, otherwise they'd just be throwing away money. The whole strategy behind mutliplats is to get them on as much hardware as possible. They don't bring them to Switch because it takes a lot of effort to port it over and figure out how to get it running well on Switch and what downgrades should be put in and trying to figure out if it'd just be so downgraded as to not be a good experience so people won't even be interested in it. And that is the whole point of waiting later in the launch range for Switch 2 if that means getting that extra bit of power to bring it close enough to the home consoles that third parties don't have to try to figure out if porting and downgrading a game to the Switch 2 is gonna leave it in a poor state, they'll just be able to port it over with perhaps a few simple graphical downgrades equivalent to lowering the settings on the game (i.e. lower res, shorter draw distance, little bit lower frame rate, but everything else the same).

Saying third parties won't invest in Switch 2 because they're just gonna stick to PS5/XBS/PC pipeline is the whole point of what we're talking about. We want a Switch 2 that is powerful enough to be in that pipeline! To say that is non-sensical is itself non-sensical!

I said the current Switch can run more PS4/XB1 games than it currently gets, developers don't want to bother because it came out too late in the game. 

The Tegra X1 was released in May 2015 ... the PS4 was only 1 1/2 years old at that point, it's already capable of running PS4 games. 

The Tegra X1 can basically draw basically the same visuals a PS4 can, the main difference is it has to do so at a lower resolution, so you get an image that's blurrier/more distorted. I think devs look at that and say "well it's going to be an ugly looking port, not worth our time". Mortal Kombat, Witcher 3, DOOM, etc. do run pretty well on Switch, the main issue with them really is they image quality is kind of ugly and I think that is putting devs off (why put in the effort to make a Switch version when the end product is going to look image wise a good deal worse). 

DLSS completely changes that, it will let Switch 2 to render at even lower resolutions while having image quality that's actually better. You'll be able to get a very solid 720p-1080p image undocked reconstructed up from as low as 640x360 (this is N64 tier resolution, lol). Docked you'll be able to get 1440p-full 4K easy while only rendering 720p. Lower actual base resolution also means you can bump up the graphical details, you don't have to have everything on low settings, you have overhead horsepower now that you didn't before. 

As long as Nvidia can give Nintendo a chip for 2023 that is equivalent to what the Tegra X1 was for 2015, they will be able to do PS5 ports easier than what's possible now with Switch-PS4. DLSS 2.0 completely changes the pixel resolution requirements that dramatically. 

So as long as the Switch 2 is basically equivalent to what the current Switch is relative to XB1, you'll have next-gen ports that are easier to do. The architecture is the big thing, AMD's RDNA2 is basically only catching up now to Nvidia Turing from 2018, Ampere will be better than Turing. As long as the architecture is there it's really then just what performance (resolution + fps) you can get, but DLSS is a game changer on that front. 

Last edited by Soundwave - on 15 May 2020

Soundwave said:

I said the current Switch can run more PS4/XB1 games than it currently gets, developers don't want to bother because it came out too late in the game. 

Just simply not true. You really think developers are like "oh Switch came out too late so we're not gonna bother with it!" REALLY?? That's absurd.

Let me try to explain this very clearly because you just don't seem to understand what is going on here:

Developers will put games on systems where they think they will make a lot of money. Switch has been out for 3 years and has blown by XB1 sales despite coming out later. Developers don't have a cut off date per-generation for when they'll make games for a system based on when it launches as you seem to think, they put games on systems based on the first sentence in this paragraph: will it make good money. Money comes from excited userbase, which in part relies on the ability to have the game be good on the system, and size of that system's userbase. It would make far more sense for them to put games on Switch instead of XB1 despite it coming out later because the Switch has a larger userbase that will continue to grow far larger for years to come.

The reason they don't is the power difference. They either have to make two different games for PS4 and Switch, or downgrade it a lot to the point where gamers might just not be interested in it, or they have to do a lot of work in conjunction with downgrades to highly optimize it for the Switch. They generally don't want to do the first option because that involves making two separate games so costs and requires a second team just to make the same game. They sometimes do the second option but that usually leads to poor sales plus bad will so they don't want to do that either. And there are a few instances of the third option like Witcher 3 which has gotten a lot of praise for being on the Switch but they again usually don't bother with doing this because it takes a lot of work. Why don't they want to bother with doing a lot of work you might ask? It's not because they years ago said oh the Switch came out too late so arbitrarily and against all business sense we'll simply ignore this highly successful system for its entire life despite the fact that we could make tons of money off of by porting multiplats. They don't bother with it because they can already hit two out of three systems with a straight port without having to worry about downgrading the game to the point where it runs poorly and people won't buy it or spending a ton of effort optimizing a port so the downgrades aren't terrible. Instead they can just do a straight port to the XB1, and even though it is a less popular system it means an easier and better port which means more excited userbase which means easier to make money. If Switch 2 closes the gap so a few quick and easy graphical changes to multiplats equivalent to just adjusting some graphical settings down can make it run well on Nintendo's system that'll lead to much more third party support. This imaginary cut off date of yours doesn't exist. Businesses make decisions for business reasons, not imaginary reasons.

If the Switch came out the same day that it did but was a decent amount more powerful to the point where PS4/XB1 games could easily be ported over there would be a hell of a lot more AAA multiplats on the system. Period. There are no imaginary cut off dates when developers decide they'll only support previously launched systems. The fact that you had to come up with this crazy cut off date theory should be a red flag to you when making this argument.

Last edited by Slownenberg - on 15 May 2020