A lot of things will be revealed when Nintendo releases their quarterly report in a few weeks. So ahead of that I do want to speculate on what the rest of this crazy year will bring to Nintendo. This is shaping up to be the current peak of Switch sales, if they manufacture 30M units that's how much they would sale for FY2020. This increase can be driven by Animal Crossing, Ring Fit Adventure, and a strong evergreen library. In Japan, we are also finally seeing actual titles that can sell half a million and contribute to the perception of the system.
Now one thing Nintendo is notorious about is keeping things under wraps. There are constantly rumors around what they are working on:
Pikmin, Donkey Kong, Tomodachi, Wario, new 3D Mario have all been talked about in the past few years.
What we do know is that the Zelda team is working on Breath of the Wild 2 and this was supposed to be Nintendo's big fall title. We still don't know if the game has been delayed but looking at the history and complications around COVID it's a real possibility. This is the first time we've faced no major fall title confirmed so late into the year. IF Breath of the Wild 2 makes it, it would be insane but what would they have if it doesn't make it and how could they still ensure hitting such lofty numbers?
Nintendo sells 50% of hardware and software during the final quarter and they've had enough time to prepare to continue growth while everyone seemingly is looking to join their ecosystem. What their rivals are doing isn't going to affect them because Switch is a proven complementary device to either PS/XB/PC or bought by blue ocean audience. This is why we would see the biggest fall sales in the industry in a while and despite strong launch especially by PS5 it would still be Nintendo coming out on top. This will happen regardless of whether Breath of the Wild 2 launches. And I will overview my reasoning on this below.
Now Nintendo is definitely working on a few things, Mario Kart 9 must be at least in Prototype phase but Nintendo probably isn't in a hurry to finish this as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe continues to maintain massive sales while also maintaining it's the high price. I think maybe someone at Nintendo read the famous Polygon article and decided they won't launch Mario Kart 9 until they've ensured 8 is the best selling game in the franchise.
The other sure thing is a new 3D Mario(hoping for a new Galaxy), now this reveal might coincide with the reveal of some ports of games from prior generations. These ports might give Nintendo the option of pushing this title to the fall 2021 window. It's would be four years from Super Mario Odyssey.
Below are the internal resources and what they are likely working on, outside of Breath of the Wild 2 I don't see what other game could have been the big Fall Title planned for this year(supplemented by New Horizon & Ring Fit Adventure DLC and Pokemon Snap). Now if Breath of the Wild 2 is pushed back there is still a chance of an unannounced game to launch in the fall but it's unlikely to be able to fill the void by itself.
- Nintendo EPD Production Group No1 is known to be associated with the Development of Bayonetta 3, usually, this is the group that works on games together with external or internal partners. There are a few different 3rd Party games coming out that this team could be involved in(Pokemon Snap being a recent example we learned about).
- Nintendo EPD Production Group No2 is the team responsible for Animal Crossing and Splatoon 2, currently, they could be early into the Development of Splatoon 3. But the majority of their resources is the continued content in New Horizon. This team is a key team in terms of growth driven by games like Animal Crossing and Splatoon. With future content in New Horizon being a key part of Nintendo's holiday strategy. Also since their new game released, they've started to support Splatoon 2 as well, which I will return to.
- Nintendo EPD Production Group No. 3 focused around all things Zelda and Hyrule, at this point, we cannot say whether Breath of the Wild 2 will be able to launch this year but the majority of this group is definitely focused around building on the huge success of the original. To me they would be the key in keeping the focus on Nintendo as the sequel if pulled off flawlessly will shift attention from Sony and Microsoft's console launches. They could also be involved in a smaller project that we will probably hear about next year.
- Nintendo EPD Production Group No. 4 I believe this group's last game was Super Mario Maker 2, unclear on what they are working on right now
- Nintendo EPD Production Group No. 5 & 6 this is another key group that will be driving success right now, their latest hit is Ring Fit Adventure. But these two teams also produced Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training.
- Nintendo EPD Production Group No. 7 Not know what they are working on - could be a new Wario, Tomodachi or Rhytumn Heaven
- Nintendo EPD Production Group No. 8 Only involved in Super Mario Maker 2 and Smash Ultimate recently
- Nintendo EPD Production Group No. 9 Working on Mario Kart Tour and NSBMU, this group is potentially working on unknown projects.
- Nintendo EPD Production Group No. 10 Last worked on Super Mario Maker 2 and NSBMU
As theorized before a lot of these groups are involved in Mario Kart 9 and new 3D Mario. What I expect revealed the next 6 months
- Group 1: Pokemon Snap & Bayonetta 3
- Group 2: New Horizon DLC & Splatoon 2 Support
- Group 3: Breath of the Wild 2
- Group 4, 8, 9, 10: New 3DS Mario, Mario Kart and rumored Mario remasters/ports
- Group 5 & 6: Support for Ring Fit Adventure + AA Game
- Group 7: Unannounced title
- Retro: Metroid Prime 4
- Monolith: Supporting Breath of the Wild 2 and an unannounced title
- NDCube: Just launched Clubhouse Games
I expect Group 1 is helping with Pokemon Snap, and Bayonetta 3 expecting Snap to be Oct/Nov and Bayonetta 3 Dec/Jan
The big fall game planned was Breath of the Wild 2 but it's unclear if it will make it in a 2020 launch window, if it doesn't Nintendo is very likely to push it back to March 2021. I don't expect Monolith to be releasing anything and most of their resources are probably focused on assisting with Breath of the Wild 2
Finally, there is Retro, announced to be working on Metroid Prime 4 in January 2019, its hard for me to believe that the game would be ready by the end of this fiscal year. But that mainly depends on when Retro began to be involved in the restarted project.
So what is the best way to ensure at least 45-50% of Yearly sales are made in the fall?
New Horizon, Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Ring Fit Adventure DLC
It's obvious that New Horizon will continue to be a GaaS, we don't know whether to expect new content to be paid or continued to be free but I do expect something pretty major for the fall. Currently, everything is happening on an island, but what about a Mountain Resort? If this game isn't supported for at least 2 years I would be massively surprised. The floor for New Horizon with 2 years of support is 40 Million World wide without any problems. It would be one of the best selling games World Wide in November and December.
Group 2 is extremely adept at supporting games and they are behind two of Nintendo's most often updated games. Now with New Horizon released it likely released a certain percent of the team to return to Splatoon. Now the question is whether Splatoon 2 had some PoC additional content that never made it into the game(we know about two such modes), so to Nintendo already realizing COVID would affect development they might have decided to push back Splatoon 3 if they are able to push sales of Splatoon 2 this year through additional content. One Splatfest seem to reignite interest in the game in Japan and with digital promotions, we aren't getting the full picture of the sales. Thus far this has only lead to Splatfests, but it would be pretty easy if these new concepts were somewhat developed but scrapped or put off for the sequel. Now with no fall games Group 2 could have been tasked with a bit more support of Splatoon 2 that they could get to the audience before the end of the year. I don't expect these to be major but a few more maps, or some customization options, with a new mode being an outside possibility to that a dev team could build in a 9 month period.
Ring Fit Adventure's lack of stock actually makes it central to Nintendo's fall plans, personally's my opinion is that they've been holding back stock since May. Ring Fit's current lack of stock is probably focused around preparing enough stock for a "second launch" for the game during Q3 when Nintendo usually makes 50% of their Software and Hardware sales. Ring Fit bundle and DLC could be how Nintendo approaches the holidays if Breath of the Wild 2 isn't where the majority of their marketing is focused on. We've already seen one major update for the game without much notice but we always gotta keep in mind that this game is currently 3.5M to 5M World Wide but the team behind this created hits that sold much much more namely Wii Sports a game thats sold 82M and people still actually buy Wii and buy it... Did Ring Fit really get a major marketing push during it's launch? I think the potential is there with the announcement of DLC and new Peripherals you could buy.
Finally, this is more of hope considering how well it's selling but I still would love to see Mario Kart 8 Deluxe DLC.. if they aren't planning 9 anytime soon.. they could still release new maps and characters from Splatoon, Breath of the Wild, New Horizon, Minecraft universe. I love my Mario Kart 8 but I bought it back in 2014 for the Wii U.. I would totally pay $30 just for one DLC Pack with 4 maps and characters
Let me know what you think? Still, hoping for a big announcement or a Breath of the Wild 2 date? Pessimistic about their chances because of competition?
To me, they are going from strength to strength at the moment. This will be a historic year for them...Last edited by noshten - on 01 August 2020