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Forums - Sales Discussion - Switch Sales Predictions: Open Your Eyes - UPDATE: Switch LTD Shipments Reach 111.08m by June 30th, Forecast for Current Fiscal Year Remains at 21.0m

Some people will recognize "open your eyes" as a quote from an upcoming video game that releases on Nintendo Switch, but it is more than that. It doesn't just mean that you should make predictions while essentially being blindfolded by your own choice. Open Your Eyes is also the name of the level 3 finisher of Baten Kaitos Origins' character Milliarde that hits all enemies for high damage. That's what this thread is going to do.

Over the past couple of days it was hard to miss how negative this forum has been in regards to Switch's sales prospects. What bothers me the most is that the vast majority of people think that decline for Nintendo is a given, some even going as far as already high-fiving each other because now it's only a wait of a couple of years more until they will be able to play Nintendo games on PlayStation. I know it stings that PS has sold hundreds of millions consoles, but has always missed out on the best games; people long for the day that this devastatingly long streak comes to an end.

At this point some people will already be upset enough to hammer in an angry response, but you really should read on. I am going to challenge the assumption that Nintendo has nowhere to go but down, so I will list many smaller assumptions that typically feed into the one big assumption. Not everything will apply to everyone, but at least something has to apply to everyone, otherwise you wouldn't arrive at the one big assumption that makes you throw out numbers like 20, 30, 40 or 50m units lifetime

1. "Nintendo's mindshare is on the decline."

Let's start with an obvious one. People aren't interested in Nintendo anymore. They have given up on them. But is this really true?

Since we are on a sales website, it stands to reason that we use sales data to make predictions. If we look at what Nintendo has done in the recent past, we won't get around their smartphone games which had a verifiably positive effect on Nintendo's hardware and software sales. When Nintendo announced that they would be making smartphones and provided their strategic outlook, people kept ignoring it and instead opted for the line of thinking that Nintendo is selling out or already planning their exit from the dedicated gaming hardware market. But instead things played out like Nintendo expected and the sales of their dedicated gaming hardware and software received notable boosts. Following the release of Pokémon Go, the 3DS won an NPD month out of nowhere and was up year-over-year in all following months. Japan showed a similar effect. For Europe we don't get any numbers, except for Nintendo's shipments; they were up too.

Nintendo's strategy for IP awareness is working. Nintendo's mindshare is on the rise.

2. "Most Nintendo fans here don't like the Switch all that much."

This is expanded on with reasons like "price is too high" and "Nintendo fans want powerful hardware." But how many of those people are really worth listening too?

For starters, most of those people bought a Wii U for $350. At that point a red flag should go up, because we are on a sales website and can easily check whether or not someone's opinion is in line with actual market reception. Since the Wii U was a huge failure, anyone who thought that it was worth $300 isn't exactly the best person to talk to when it comes to judging price and value of a Nintendo console. Regarding powerful hardware, we have options to look at. Firstly, the GameCube is the best example of powerful Nintendo hardware; it was a failure. Secondly, if Nintendo fans truly valued powerful hardware, then each Nintendo home console should have comfortably outsold its handheld counterpart in each generation; sales data begs to differ.

An irrelevant minority shouldn't go into sales analysis, or at the very least should not be considered as representative of the majority.

3. "Switch is screwed because people got burned by the Wii U. People don't trust Nintendo anymore."

A look at sales data should make it obvious that the majority of Nintendo fans skipped the Wii U altogether, so the only people who got burned by game delays and droughts are the ones who bought a Wii U. Everybody else didn't really give a damn about the Wii U to begin with and the only hard feelings that would have existed date back to over five years ago when Nintendo announced that they would make a piece of trash. Sane people do not hold grudges over video games forever.

Also worth of note, Nintendo is clearly rebranding itself. A new generation means that a company can get rid of baggage. GC being a failure didn't harm the Wii.

4. "No Western multiplatform support means that Switch is dead on arrival."

Sales data of all previous Nintendo systems shows that multiplatform support, especially from the West, didn't play much of a role. Nintendo isn't like PS and Xbox, and people do not buy Nintendo systems to play PC ports. The most important games from America and Europe (important means that we can say they have a notable positive effect on Nintendo's hardware sales) that are still relevant today are IPs like LEGO, Skylanders and Just Dance. Nintendo has no trouble getting them anyway.

5. "The Switch launch lineup is weak."

For the love of Din, Farore and Nayru, take a look at sales data! Notice a pattern here? You are supposed to use numbers, not feelings, when making sales predictions. In March and April Nintendo will already have ticked the boxes for epic single player game (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild) and massively popular multiplayer game for both online AND offline modes (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe). How many consoles in the past launched with such juggernauts?

"But Zelda and Mario Kart are on the Wii U."

What did I say about sales data? Use it, you simpleton. Not only was the Wii U a huge failure, but ports of great games have sold well on previous consoles. Market reception tells us that games like The Last of Us, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and, of course, Grand Theft Auto V are more desirable than almost all of the new stuff that has come out.

And if you belong to the trolls who push lines like "Nintendo fans buy the same games over and over again" and "Nintendo fans buy anything Nintendo puts out", then that would be all the more reason that you conclude that the Switch launch lineup is a beast.

6. "Nintendo didn't show many of their own games. Looks like there will be Wii U-like droughts again."

You are too used to other console reveals where wild promises and announcements are made. All Nintendo games that were announced are scheduled for 2017. You are also oblivious to the fact that Switch will get all of Nintendo's games as Switch will be the only Nintendo console this generation. Droughts like on the Wii U are simply not going to happen.

7. "Nintendo can't sell a system primarily with their own games."

Ever heard of sales data? You can browse the topseller lists of all Nintendo systems here on VGC. Take a look at Nintendo's two most recent consoles:

There are ten unique IPs that sold more than 4m copies with individual installments. No other video game developer has such a varied and successful portfolio of IPs. Nintendo games have always been the main pillars for success, regardless of how many third party games were put on their platforms.

8. "3DS and Wii U hardware had no problems, or at least not as many as Switch has."

I don't think anybody would say this, but a lot of you must be thinking it regardless. If you expect further decline for Nintendo this generation, you basically must believe that the 3DS and Wii U were better executed than Switch.

What is wrong with you?

9. "Nintendo's addressable market is limited to Wii U and 3DS owners."

Oh man, this is the point where you really have to open your eyes and not be so narrow-minded. You let your personal feelings dictate your sales predictions. "Switch is expensive, doesn't have Western multiplatform games etc." You project your idea of what console gaming has to be on everyone else. You believe that people who do not own and want an eighth generation system (Wii U, 3DS, PS4, PSV, XB1) are not interested in consoles, period. You don't want to consider the possibility that all of the eighth generation systems might suck to a lot of people. I mean, look at the choices of the eighth gen: Nintendo does what they want with no respect for previous sales data, Sony and Microsoft offer dumbed down PC gaming, plus a handheld that doesn't get any games worth of note.

Now Switch comes and offers completely different values. A passionate gamer who couldn't care less about the crappy eighth gen could look at Nintendo's new console and say: "Zelda is a massive open world game again, that's right up my alley because that's the Zelda I loved. I can take this thing to my office, effortlessly set it up during breaks and rock games like Mario Kart, Bomberman and Street Fighter 2 with my colleagues. And it's only $300? Are you kidding me?"

The point is, the value evaluation for Switch in the real world will be very different to what is done on gaming forums where local multiplayer and leaving your house are frowned upon. In the real world the gaming of the NES and SNES days is highly valued. On gaming forums SNES games are considered worse than indie games, because "indie games are newer". Switch is set up to resonate strongly with the passionate gamer of the old days who nowadays has no console made for them. If you weren't so close-minded, you'd realize that Nintendo doesn't even need non-gamers to make Switch a big success. There is a large market that is not properly catered to, and that's the former gamer.

10. "Switch's price is too high."

This is the best point that is made for why the Switch will have problems. But is it really that big of a concern? What are the alternatives to Switch? There is none, so Nintendo can be bullish with the price. Eventually it will come down and have different bundles.


I'll leave this thread incomplete because it is already too long as it is. Discussions on VGC should make more use of sales data again. It's not smart to assume everything will stay as it is, because when did that ever hold true? It's also not smart to underestimate Nintendo. The VGC community still feels the burn from Splatoon where it was a foregone conclusion that the game would fail because Nintendo's trajectory was one of failure and the game was different in pretty much every way to regular shooters. And now the community looks at Switch and doesn't hesitate for a second to use the same logic that was applied to Splatoon. Did you not learn anything? Switch offers different values than any console Nintendo has made before.

Didn't proofread, so there's a good chance that some things are missing in the points that I brought up. Want to watch football now. I regret that I didn't put in more insults, but that stuff requires fine-tuning.

UPDATE: April 29th, 2017

Earlier this week Nintendo released their financial results for the fiscal year that ended on March 31st, 2017. Here are the important shipment numbers as well as the forecast for the following fiscal year:

Switch - 2.74m (original forecast was 2m)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) - 2.76m
Forecast for Switch hardware - 10m

If the forecast is met, then Switch's total after 13 months (12.74m) will almost match Wii U's lifetime numbers (13.56m), therefore serving the people who predicted Switch to do worse than Wii U not only a slap in the face, but a brutal kick in the groin area. Similarly, people who predicted 20m or 30m lifetime won't be seeing their predictions come true either. Those who said 40m or 50m can keep their hopes alive. For now.

The prediction thread that inspired the thread you are reading here

50m was generally the high end for predictions which still constitutes a significant decline over the Wii U and 3DS combined. The actual consensus was closer to 30m which is insane. The amount of people who predicted improvement was both miniscule in the thread as well as in the poll. As of this writing, the poll shows only ~7.5% predicting numbers greater than Wii U and 3DS combined, and this includes lots of troll votes for the >100m option which accounts for ~5.5% of the grand total, compared to only a ~2.1% share for the range of 80-100m.

My prediction in the thread was more than 100m lifetime. Something that already now looks a lot more likely to be closer to the actual outcome than the VGC consensus. Nintendo can beat my 2017 prediction of 8m units, maybe even comfortably so. But right now is the most volatile period of the Switch's lifecycle, because the price is at its highest point while the message that Switch will receive all of Nintendo's games going forward has yet to trickle down to the massmarket. I am not sure how 2017 will play out, but 2018 onwards is going to be smooth sailing with high sales numbers for both hardware and software. Long term success is a lock, short term is very hard to say because it's unclear how quickly the Switch concept can gain traction and maintain momentum. Japan and the USA are looking good, but the fragmented nature of the European market remains a question mark.

"Rol, you are so arrogant. A Nintendo fan predicting success for Switch is nothing unusual."

That's what many of you probably think right now. But there are two problems.

1. For Switch predictions, even most of the biggest Nintendo fans were strolling around like beaten dogs after the Wii U disaster and were cautious with predictions in the range of 40-70m. It was basically the exact opposite of the generation before when even most of the biggest Nintendo haters didn't dare to predict less than 50m units for the Wii U. My confidence in Switch was not a given, if the circumstances are properly remembered.

2. I was actually one of the few who predicted big failure for the Wii U. People tend to say that we must wait for sales to come in to make proper predictions, but that is wrong. This thread right here was posted on January 15th, 2017; that's only three days after the proper reveal of Switch. Similarly, it didn't take more than a couple of days for me to doom the Wii U and have Nintendo fans and others argue with me for ~1.5 years leading up to Wii U launch for how wrong I supposedly was. Anyway, here is a thread that I posted in July 2010 to explain why Nintendo is in a good position to stay #1 in the video game business, but the most interesting part starts at post #269 which was a bump on June 11th, 2011. That's only a couple of days after the Wii U was unveiled.

This is where my journey of being let down by Nintendo started. Of course you probably remember my recent past (say, the last two years) as having a positive outlook for Nintendo despite both the Wii U and 3DS being in trouble, but that's because I look into the future while the VGC community around me is stuck in the present. There have been notably positive signs for Nintendo ever since the day they announced NX and that caused the change of my general attitude towards Nintendo. I am ahead of the curve, be it positive or negative.

Here's food for thought: How many people are able to claim that they got both the Wii U and Switch correct?

Why is Switch going to be a success?

This thread was originally posted to highlight fallacies of the conventional wisdom. Point 5 ("Switch's launch lineup is weak") should already turn some doubters into believers, because it's the first point that can be proven one way or the other. With Switch still being widely sold out in late April with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild leading the way and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe completing the one-two punch for launch, it's clear that the thought of a weak launch shouldn't have been entertained to begin with, but that didn't stop NeoGAF and the rest of the internet to come up with preposterous ideas.

More importantly though, I wrote another thread to talk about Nintendo's positioning and strategy for Switch:

This was on February 14th, 2017. It was a given that Switch was going to be a success, what is not as easy to predict is how successful it is going to be, because the console reaches out beyond the people who were accounted for by sales data during the eighth generation. A close-minded analyst pretends that nothing outside the numbers exist, but an open-minded person would say that there may be no products that satisfies all of the existing needs. The mother of all fallacies is that the Wii U failure led to the conclusion that nobody wants Nintendo anymore; the correct conclusion is that the Wii U sucked butt, so good hardware was going to go a long way to get Nintendo back on track. Switch is good hardware.

Another important factor in Switch becoming a success is that Nintendo didn't suck up to third parties. Switch couldn't exist if Nintendo tried to appease the likes of EA, Ubisoft and Activision. Here's a thread that explains why Switch is the correct course of action:

It was written on June 29th, 2014. I like it because people rushed in to stick up for third parties. I also like it because with Switch Nintendo ended up doing what I wanted and Switch is succeeding. I added this because newer VGC members might not be familiar with my posting history, just like they might not know that I was always against the Wii U and am not one of the people who championed it at first and then turned around to bash it when it didn't become a success.


More updates to this thread will be done in the following quarters, but fear not, they won't be as long. The original original post was incomplete, so for this update I had to provide additional information that was either missing or requested, like my posting history.

UPDATE: July 31st, 2017

Nintendo's financial report provided updated figures for Switch hardware and its bestsellers by June 30th, 2017.

Switch - 1.96m for the quarter, lifting the LTD number to 4.70m.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) - 3.92m (+1.16m this quarter)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 3.54m
1-2-Switch - 1.22m
ARMS - 1.18m

Nintendo is on track to meet their hardware forecast of 10m units for the current fiscal year. During the past quarter Switch shortages have continued in Japan and the USA while easing up in Europe. It's safe to say that global sell-through has surpassed 4m and momentum will remain strong with the successful launch of Splatoon 2. My prediction of 8m sold through in calendar year 2017 will be easily surpassed, by how much has to be seen.

A variety of interesting links to VGC threads and predictions of analysts

*Quick edit on August 3rd: In light of recent necrobumps of a couple of the below VGC threads, please refrain from necrobumping. You can get moderated for doing so. You can read the threads just fine without bumping them.*

A thread that discusses Switch's sales prospects. Can it beat the Wii? Thread created on May 2nd, 20

A thread from October 2016 that declared that Nintendo is committing the same mistakes with Switch as they did with Wii U. Also, NX (a.k.a. Switch) is dead on arrival, written in June 2016.

Anfebious predicts lifetime sales of more than 100m units on May 24th. Nautilus predicted 100m right after the Switch teaser trailer in October 2016, a highly speculative thread because many important details about Switch were kept under wraps until January 12th, 2017.

On January 17th Michael Pachter predicted Switch sales of 1m units for the fiscal year ending March 2017 and a further 4m in the fiscal year ending March 2018.

Following the Switch presentation on January 12th, a GDC survey among 4,500 developers had only 50% of them answer that Switch could beat the Wii U's lifetime sales. Apparently that qualified as optimism.

On January 13th, our friends from Polygon wrote an article about the disappointment of Nintendo fans who were strongly considering to delay their Switch purchase until at least the holidays.

Lifetime sales predictions for Switch, a thread created on March 30th, 2017.

On July 8th Michael Pachter can see Switch selling 50m lifetime, but can't see 100m units because that would be 20m per year.


This concludes this quarter's update. The outlook for Switch has already become considerably more positive since half a year ago and at the time of this writing the vast majority of predictions and expectations have risen above 40m units lifetime.

UPDATE: October 30th, 2017

Nintendo's latest financial report has been released.

Switch - 7.63m (+2.93m this quarter)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 4.70m (+0.78m)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 4.42m (+0.88m)
Splatoon 2 - 3.61m (NEW)
1-2-Switch - 1.37m (+0.15m)
ARMS - 1.35m (+0.17m)

More importantly, Nintendo raised their forecast for Switch hardware shipments from 10m to 14m. Sell-through numbers for calendar year 2017 should exceed 12m, beating my initial expectations (8m) by over 50%. This also means that the few people who predicted Switch to sell less than Wii U will be officially confirmed to be wrong in less than one year.

A variety of interesting links to VGC threads and predictions of analysts

Credit Suisse predicts 130m Switch consoles sold by the end of 2022.

A prediction thread in September 2017 for lifetime sales of various consoles, including Switch. The minimum prediction for Switch has raised to 40m, just like I expected in last quarter's update of Open Your Eyes. The community consensus has moved into the area of 80-90m, so it more than doubled compared to eight months before.

Then again, not everyone has seen the light yet. Posted in August in this very thread:

A flashback to how dire things looked for Switch right after the presentation in January 2017. Nintendo should go third party.

Links to the threads for the Switch reveal trailer and initial thoughts, both created on October 20th, 2016.

This concludes this quarter's update. By now there's little doubt that Nintendo has a winner on their hands with Switch. The question has shifted from "Will it succeed or fail?" to "How much of a success is it going to be?"

*Added on November 2nd: Colin Moriarty was right.

*Added on January 8th: An article from prior to Switch launch. No Grand Theft Auto, Read Dead Redemption, Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed for Switch. Doesn't bode well for Nintendo, its stock and investors.

UPDATE: January 31st, 2018

Nintendo's latest financial report has been released.

Switch - 14.86m (+7.23m this quarter)
Super Mario Odyssey - 9.07m (NEW)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 7.33m (+2.91m)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 6.70m (+2.00m)
Splatoon 2 - 4.91m (+1.30m)
1-2-Switch - 1.88m (+0.51m)
ARMS - 1.61m (+0.24m)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - 1.06m (NEW)

Nintendo increased their forecast for Switch hardware shipments by 1m to 15m for the current fiscal year. Switch has officially beaten Wii U now (13.56m), and did it in just ten months. Similarly, Switch's profit levels will be comfortably ahead of the 3DS and Wii U era, likely besting Nintendo's last gen consoles' lifetime achievements within the first full fiscal year. This proves that it really didn't take much for Nintendo to get things in order again. In theory, had Nintendo sold as many consoles with Switch as they did with 3DS and Wii U combined while avoiding to sell hardware at a loss, they were going to sit pretty.

From a financial point of view, it was always preposterous to suggest that Nintendo should go third party. A comparison between March-December 2016 and March-December 2017 shows an increase of 175% in revenue, almost 500% in operating profit and almost 300% in ordinary profit. The above hypothesis has been verified by Switch quickly.

The conclusion after 2017 is that the consensus of failure for Switch (50m lifetime or less) has been roasted and nowadays only a few crazy people remain left roaming. This thread wasn't created in response to their predictions, because there will always be crazy people. But one year ago the vast majority believed that Switch wasn't going to succeed. This changed in a big way over the course of 2017, so neither this update nor future ones will include many, if any, links to predictions of the VGC community or analysts.

UPDATE: April 26th, 2018

Nintendo Switch has completed its first full fiscal year and has been on the market for 13 months in total.

Switch - 17.79m (+2.93m this quarter)
Super Mario Odyssey - 10.41m (+1.34m)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 9.22m (+1.89m)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 8.48m (+1.78m)
Splatoon 2 - 6.02m (+1.11m)
1-2-Switch - 2.29m (+0.41m)
ARMS - 1.85m (+0.24m)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - 1.31m (+0.25m)
Kirby Star Allies - 1.26m (NEW)

The first 10m seller is in the books with Super Mario Odyssey while Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is bound to follow in the next quarter. Breath of the Wild could go either way next quarter, but is guaranteed to cross 10m in 2018. Splatoon 2 has a much longer road ahead of it, but will eventually get there.

For the fiscal year ending March 2019, Nintendo is forecasting Switch hardware shipments of 20m units which would bring the LTD total to 37.79m. Switch had passed Wii U lifetime shipments by December 2017, the next Nintendo console in front of it is the GameCube at 21.74m. This mark is very unlikely to be reached by June 2018, but it will be comfortably surpassed during the quarter that ends in September 2018.

UPDATE: July 31st, 2018

Switch - 19.67m (+1.88m this quarter)
Super Mario Odyssey - 11.17m (+0.76m)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 10.35m (+1.13m)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 9.32m (+0.84m)
Splatoon 2 - 6.76m (+0.74m)
1-2-Switch - 2.45m (+0.16m)
ARMS - 2.01m (+0.16m)
Kirby Star Allies - 1.89m (+0.63m)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - 1.42m (+0.11m)
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - 1.40m (NEW)
Mario Tennis Aces - 1.38m (NEW)

That Switch hardware shipments would disappoint had to be expected after the weak sell-through in the USA during the months of April and May. Still, the actual worldwide result of 1.88m shipped underwhelms even more, because sell-through in Japan had been good during the quarter. Conversely, overall Switch software shipments are on pace to meet the forecast of 100m for the fiscal year, so it's not all bad.

Nintendo's projections for the fiscal year remain unchanged, but something will probably have to give eventually, be it unit sales, revenue and/or profit. Q1 of the current fiscal year has been weak and the culprit is easily identified: The lack of release of a guaranteed 5m+ seller during both quarters of calendar year 2018 had a negative impact on momentum; in calendar year 2017 Nintendo released one 5m+ seller in each quarter. The remedy to make things pick up again isn't rocket science either: Big games, bundles, a possible price cut, an improbable revision. Pokémon and Super Smash Bros. in November and December constitute a strong holiday lineup, but fiscal Q2 is about as strong (or rather weak) as Q1 has been.

Failure to meet forecasts is no doom and gloom though. In a scenario where Nintendo falls short on hardware, software and profits by 20% each, we'd still be looking at 16m hardware, 80m software and ~$1.5 billion in profits. That's still plenty healthy. It's important to remember how the perspective of success and failure has changed in the last 18 months. Before the Switch's launch it was deemed a success if Nintendo manages to remain in the hardware business, now it's a failure if Switch can't beat the PS4 in lifetime sales. The bottom line is that the current lull won't put Switch's future into jeopardy, so there's no reason to worry.

What's most affected by this weak fiscal quarter is Switch's ability to pass older consoles in lifetime sales. Three months ago it looked like Switch would comfortably beat the GameCube by September 30th, now it's not even a sure thing anymore. There are 2.07m left to go, so if fiscal Q2 is flat in comparison to Q1, Switch will fall short. Nintendo stated that sales momentum has picked up since E3, but we'll have to wait and see how strong of an increase it has been.

UPDATE: October 30th, 2018

Switch - 22.86m (+3.19m this quarter)
Super Mario Odyssey - 12.17m (+1.00m)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 11.71m (+1.36m)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 10.28m (+0.96m)
Splatoon 2 - 7.47m (+0.71m)
1-2-Switch - 2.64m (+0.19m)
Mario Tennis Aces - 2.16m (+0.78m)
ARMS - 2.10m (+0.09m)
Kirby Star Allies - 2.10m (+0.21m)
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - 1.67m (+0.27m)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - 1.53m (+0.11m)

Switch had its best non-holiday quarter so far. A stat that sounds good, but one that doesn't pose any significant margin over the previous best. What's more noteworthy is how much the trajectory has improved over the previous quarter which was the worst in Switch's short history. Despite Nintendo's release schedule of first party software being lackluster (Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Sushi Striker: Way of Sushido, Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 03: Vehicle Kit and Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country), the console rebounded. That can be taken as a positive sign, because the system sells well in the absence of big releases. While none of the first and third party games released from July to September were hardware movers, there has been a consistent flow of games worth playing since E3 in June.

In the big picture concerning the full fiscal year, Q2 was about where it needed to be in the simplistic breakdown of 3.33m + 3.33m + 10m +3.33m for a 20m year. However, it didn't make up for Q1 which fell short by ~1.5m. With only 5.07m units shipped so far, there are 14.93m left to go, so ~11m in Q3 and ~4m in Q4. Various hardware bundles that have been announced in September and October didn't point towards a price cut (neither permanent or temporary), so it seems clear that Nintendo prioritizes revenue and profit. If they fall short of their forecast in hardware unit sales, so be it. But for the time being, they continue to believe in Super Mario Party, Pokémon Let's Go, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.

On the software front, Breath of the Wild became Switch's third 10m seller and software shipments of 42.13m in the current fiscal year remain on pace to meet the forecast of 100m. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has closed the initial 1.74m gap on Super Mario Odyssey to 0.46m, so chances are good that the racer will claim the top spot on the lifetime bestseller list for the first time after this upcoming holiday season.

Switch's 22.86m mean that it has passed the GameCube's 21.74m lifetime figure, so next up is the Nintendo 64 at 32.93m units. A figure that is supposed to be exceeded in the upcoming quarter, if things go according to Nintendo's forecast.

UPDATE: January 31st, 2019

Switch - 32.27m (+9.41m this quarter)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 15.02m (+3.31m)
Super Mario Odyssey - 13.76m (+1.59m)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - 12.08m (NEW)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 11.68m (+1.40m)
Pokémon: Let's Go, Evee/Pikachu! - 10.00m (NEW)
Splatoon 2 - 8.27m (+0.80m)
Super Mario Party -5.30m (NEW)
1-2-Switch - 2.86m (+0.22m)
Mario Tennis Aces - 2.53m (+0.37m)
Kirby Star Allies - 2.42m (+0.32m)

As already expected in last quarter's summary, Switch didn't get a price cut and will fall short of the 20m shipment target. The reduction to 17m was bigger than expected though. However, that's the only negative news, because the forecasts for software shipments, revenue and profits will be comfortably met. The bestseller list features three debuts of above 5m units and another three Nintendo games sold more than 1m units during the holiday quarter alone.

Switch has a manageable 2.51m units left to meet its revised shipment forecast of 17m. The LTD total is guaranteed to pass the Nintendo 64 (32.93m) during the quarter. The next target, the SNES at 49.10m, is feasible by the end of calendar year 2019; Switch needs to ship just short of 17m in the next twelve months.

Regarding lifetime sales predictions for Switch, the console reached the VGC consensus of 30-35m in less than two years, so 2019 will be spent with surpassing a good chunk of the more "optimistic" predictions.

UPDATE: April 25nd, 2019

Switch - 34.74m (+2.47m this quarter)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 16.69m (+1.67m)
Super Mario Odyssey - 14.44m (+0.68m)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - 13.81m (+1.73m)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 12.77m (+1.09m)
Pokémon: Let's Go, Evee/Pikachu! - 10.63m (+0.63m)
Splatoon 2 - 8.70m (+0.43m)
Super Mario Party - 6.40m (+1.10m)
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe - 3.31m (NEW)
1-2-Switch - 2.97m (+0.11m)
Mario Tennis Aces - 2.64m (+0.11m)

Switch finishes the fiscal year with 16.95m units shipped, so just short of the revised forecast of 17m and 3m short of the original forecast. For comparison, the PS4 had shipped 37.7m LTD through nine fiscal quarters, so Switch's 34.74m LTD are still a fine result despite a downward revision. The caveat is that the PS4 already went through three holiday quarters in this comparison, so a 3m advantage isn't much. Nintendo's forecast for the new fiscal year is 18m, so if Switch manages to ship 15m through the next three quarters, it will be ahead of the PS4 by 2.34m units once both consoles have gone through each fiscal quarter of the year three times.

Switch software sales for the past fiscal year exceeded the forecast by 18% which offset the revenue loss that was caused by missing the hardware forecast by 15%. While total revenue was exactly as forecasted, operating profit came in 10% above of Nintendo's goal, so the bottom line is that it was another good year for Nintendo despite not all of the pieces falling into place.


This was the final update of this post, but this doesn't mean that it's over. The sheer volume of words simply makes me want to continue in a different spot, namely the overall third post of this thread that will be overwritten with new content, because its original message directed at the NFL for flexing a playoff game into a later timeslot isn't of much value. Its only relevance is that this thread was originally submitted before a full elaborate completion, because I had expected to watch an American football game and therefore rushed to the end of the thread.

Last edited by RolStoppable - on 25 April 2019

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

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

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My god. Text wall blindness. Thanks Rol. OT: I would not dare to predict sales numbers for Switch. Too many variables to consider.


Hey! They got SONY on my amiibo! Wait a minute. Two great gaming tastes that game great together!

Switch FC: SW-0398-8858-1969

UPDATE: July 30th, 2019

Switch - 36.87m (+2.13m this quarter)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 17.89m (+1.20m)
Super Mario Odyssey - 14.94m (+0.50m)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - 14.73m (+0.92m)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 13.61m (+0.84m)
Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee/Pikachu! - 10.98m (+0.35m)
Splatoon 2 - 9.02m (+0.32m)
Super Mario Party - 6.99m (+0.59m)
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe - 4.10m (+0.79m)
1-2-Switch - 3.01m (+0.04m)
Mario Tennis Aces - 2.75m (+0.11m)

Switch hardware shipments in quarter 1 of any given fiscal year so far remain underwhelming, but this is the best Q1 Switch has had so far. Sell-through rates have been notably better in comparison to one year ago, so the only marginally higher shipments are likely due to the original Switch SKU being phased out by August and September, depending on region. For the entire last fiscal year, Switch shipped 16.95m units. The current fiscal year is 0.25m ahead after Q1, so Nintendo's forecast of 18m remains unchanged. Q2 will see the launch of an improved standard SKU with better battery life, but more importantly, also the launch of the handheld-only Switch Lite, so last year's Q2 of 3.19m should be comfortably exceeded by 0.5m or more, keeping Switch on track to beat the SNES's lifetime sales of 49.10m by the end of calendar year 2019. For comparison, the 3DS needed one year more than Switch to beat the SNES.

On the software front, Super Mario Odyssey and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate are poised to crack the 15m barrier in the next update. Splatoon 2 will have to wait until the end of the calendar year to celebrate the 10m mark which will bring the total of 10m+ sellers to seven when Pokémon Sword/Shield is accounted for. Breath of the Wild will be the fourth 15m+ seller by the end of the calendar year and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe the first 20m+ seller.

UPDATE: October 31st, 2019

Switch family - 41.67m (+4.80m this quarter)
-Switch - 39.72m (+2.85m)
-Switch Lite - 1.95m (NEW)

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 19.01m (+1.12m)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - 15.71m (+0.98m)
Super Mario Odyssey - 15.38m (+0.44m)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 14.54m (+0.93m)
Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee/Pikachu! - 11.28m (+0.30m)
Splatoon 2 - 9.28m (+0.26m)
Super Mario Party - 7.59m (+0.60m)
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe - 4.59m (+0.49m)
Super Mario Maker 2 - 3.93m (+1.51m)
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - 3.13m (NEW)

The launch of the Switch Lite resulted in a very strong Q2 with 4.80m units shipped, allowing the Switch family as a whole to pass the 40m mark; LTD shipments are now at 41.67m. The forecast of 18m units for the fiscal year remains unchanged despite Switch being on a much better pace than during last fiscal year's 16.95m run; in a comparison through two quarters, 2019 is at 6.93m vs. 2018's 5.07m. Nintendo remains conservative this fiscal year and opts to wait until after the holiday season to revise their forecast.

The same holds true for the total software forecast where 2019's pace is considerably better, but no change has been made yet. As for individual software titles, the cutoff for the top 10 is now above 3m units and will raise to above 4m with the next update. Smaller multimillion sellers won't show up anymore, so I'll use the writeup to mention games that would otherwise get lost in the shuffle. This time it's Fire Emblem: Three Houses with its 2.29m debut which make it feasible to turn it into the best-selling Fire Emblem of all time eventually.

UPDATE: January 30th, 2020

Switch family - 52.49m (+10.82m this quarter)
-Switch - 47.30m (+7.58m)
-Switch Lite - 5.19m (+3.24m)

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 22.96m (+3.95m)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - 17.68m (+1.97m)
Super Mario Odyssey - 16.59m (1.21m)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 16.34m (+1.80m)
Pokémon Shield/Sword - 16.06m (NEW)
Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee/Pikachu! - 11.76m (+0.48m)
Splatoon 2 - 9.81m (+0.53m)
Super Mario Party - 9.12m (+1.53m)
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe - 5.85m (+1.26m)
Luigi's Mansion 3 - 5.37m (NEW)

The Switch family exceeds 50m one quarter after it has passed the 40m mark. Nintendo has increased their forecast for this fiscal year from 18m to 19.5m. Both Pokémon Shield/Sword and Luigi's Mansion 3 had strong debuts, pushing the threshold to enter the top 10 above 5.3m units which in turn leaves out another 5m+ seller (Super Mario Maker 2). So after its first 12 fiscal quarters, Switch has already 11 5m sellers, 6 10m sellers, 5 15m sellers and 1 20m seller. A detailed listing of Switch hardware/software shipments, including individual first party titles, can be viewed in this Google spreadsheet.

A couple of interesting links this time. Two threads were created earlier this month, asking when Switch will pass the Wii and the PS4, respectively. While the vast majority expects Switch to sell more than 100m units lifetime, it's largely ruled out that Switch can pass the PS4.

UPDATE: May 7th, 2020

Switch family - 55.77m (+3.28m this quarter)
-Switch - 49.57m (+2.27m)
-Switch Lite - 6.19m (+1.00m)

Nintendo beat their revised forecast by ~1.5m, bringing the final tally for the fiscal year to 21.03m units. Their forecast for the fiscal year ending March 2021 is 19m, a conservative projection that is owed to the uncertainty that the coronavirus brings with it. Switch is set to pass the lifetime sales of the legendary Nintendo Entertainment System (61.91m) midway through the fiscal year and even has a chance to pass the 3DS (75.77m so far, will only add a miniscule amount more until the end of its life) by the end of it. The 3DS's software sales (383.11m LTD) will be beaten handily by Switch within the next few months (356.24m LTD).

This update and future ones forego to list shipments of major Nintendo games because the previously linked Google spreadsheet contains all the compiled data.

UPDATE: August 6th, 2020

Switch family - 61.44m (+5.67m this quarter)
-Switch - 52.63m (+3.05m)
-Switch Lite - 8.81m (+2.62m)

Nintendo did not revise their forecasts despite a stellar first quarter in the fiscal year ending March 2021. LTD software shipments have passed the 400m mark (406.67m). Switch hardware shipments are up 3.54m units year over year, but the upcoming quarter will pose a much more challenging comparison, because it saw the launch of Switch Lite last year (4.80m Switch consoles in total shipped during July to September 2019). Nevertheless, the current fiscal year will remain comfortably ahead through the first six months (6.93m in 2019).

The most crucial quarter is, like always, the one with Christmas in it. Nintendo still hasn't officially announced their fall lineup for 2020, so the strength or lack thereof remains unknown. This secrecy makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to predict how the current fiscal year as a whole will fare. It's looking very likely that last year's 21.03m will get beaten, but by how much is anybody's guess.

UPDATE: November 5th, 2020

Switch family - 68.30m (+6.86m this quarter)
-Switch - 57.93m (+5.30m)
-Switch Lite - 10.36m (+1.55m)

Momentum remains strong all around the world with significant year over year increases in Europe and Other. Nintendo revised their hardware and software forecasts upwards: Hardware is now at 24m (previously 19m), software is now at 170m (previously 140m). Despite significant increases, the forecasts maintain a conservative outlook for the second half of the fiscal year. Nintendo's first party holiday lineup is the weakest one Switch has had yet, but if there was any year where Nintendo could afford this, it's this one.

Switch will pass the 3DS's LTD sales (75.94m) within the holiday quarter, making the GBA (81.51m) the next target in sight. A feat that will very likely be accomplished within this fiscal year.

UPDATE: February 1st, 2021

Switch family - 79.87m (+11.58m this quarter)
-Switch - 66.35m (+8.42m)
-Switch Lite - 13.52m (+3.16m)

This constitutes the third-highest quarter for a video game console ever, only slightly behind the DS which occupies both rank 1 and 2. It brings the running total for the fiscal year to 24.10m, so Nintendo had to revise their forecast up again, now to 26.50m. Likewise, the previous software forecast was met with one quarter left to go (176.10m shipped by December 31st), so the new forecast is 205m.

With the 3DS officially in the rearview, the GBA (81.51m) as well as Sony's PSP (estimated to have sold slightly above 82m) are about to be passed during the following quarter.

IMPORTANT: The Google spreadsheet with compiled hardware and software shipments has found a new, more detailed, home at this link.

UPDATE: May 6th, 2021

Switch family - 84.59m (+4.72m this quarter)
-Switch - 69.89m (+3.54m)
-Switch Lite - 14.70m (+1.18m)

28.83m units of hardware and 230.88m games were shipped during the recently ended fiscal year. Nintendo forecasts 25.5m units of hardware and 190m games to be shipped during the fiscal year ending March 2022.

A good four years have passed since Switch has launched (49 months to be exact) and exceeding 100 million units lifetime is merely a formality at this point. In a similar way, beating PS4 sales is doubted by only a few people anymore, so the community has turned their eyes towards the next best targets, the DS and PS2.

The thread reads like so many before it, with Switch's lifespan being expected to end soon for no good reason among other flawed reasoning. What seems new is that it's contested whether or not a Switch revision should be counted towards Switch sales, but then again, the same thing occured on a smaller scale when the Switch Lite was announced about two years ago. But this matter remains as simple now as it was back then: It's a sure thing that Nintendo won't treat their upcoming revision as a different platform, so the only logical thing to do is count everything together just like it was with all other consoles and their respective revisions in the past.

As for the question if Switch will outsell the PS2, it's more a matter of when rather than if. Nintendo still has so many options left to maintain a high sales momentum, be it revisions, price cuts or the release of compelling first party software. All that is backed up by a healthy software pipeline from third party developers along with a monopoly in the portable console market and Switch's unique value proposition of being a home console and handheld console in a single device.

We are still years away from Switch passing the PS2, but this isn't really any different as with so many other milestones in the past. Switch is good to go.

UPDATE: November 5th, 2021

I noticed that I forgot to update this thread three months ago, so to start with, here are the figures as of June 30th:

Switch family - 89.04m (4.45m this quarter)
-Switch - 73.20m (+3.31m)
-Switch Lite 15.84m (+1.14m)

As usual, there were no adjustments to Nintendo's forecasts after the first fiscal quarter, so I'll move right on to the following quarter that concluded on September 30th:

Switch family - 92.87m (3.83m this quarter)
-Switch - 76.34m (+3.14m)
-Switch Lite - 16.52m (+0.68m)

Nintendo chose to add the very first shipment of the new Switch OLED - a modest upgrade, not the strongly rumored Switch "Pro"-like device - towards the regular Switch SKU, but I hope they'll break it down in future financial reports. Furthermore, Nintendo revised their hardware forecast down to 24m from previously 25.5m due to semiconductor shortages, but at the same time issued an upwards revision for software, up to 200m from previously 190m.

Now we are only one quarter away from seeing Switch surpass the 100m milestone. It took Switch exactly 20 fiscal quarters - or five years - to achieve this feat which makes Michael Pachter's wisdom all the more funny in hindsight as Switch was indeed selling at a pace of 20m units a year:

100 million has always been an important number. Not only because Kimishima (Nintendo's CEO at the time) said before Switch's launch that the platform is aimed to sell as much as the Wii, but also because it was widely perceived as an absolutely lunatic figure on gaming forums. It's also what this thread was about in the first place, that there are many more good reasons for Switch to sell 100m+ then there are for it to sell less than that.

While this thread's next update will be a conclusion to that part, it won't mean that the tale will end there. The next chapter is about watching just how far Switch can go. Switch is already in seventh place on the all-time list of best-selling consoles and will move into fifth place with the next update. At that point only the PS4, GB/GBC, DS and PS2 will be left to beat, and while the former two will be taken care of within 2022, it's a very long road to get within striking distance of the latter two.

UPDATE: February 3rd, 2022

Switch family - 103.54m (+10.68m this quarter)
-Switch - 81.68m (+5.34m)
-Switch Lite - 17.87m (+1.35m)
-Switch OLED - 3.99m (NEW)

The most recent quarter fulfilled the expectations from the previous writeup. Switch has passed the 100 million mark and is now fifth on the list of the best-selling consoles of all time. It's on pace to move into third place by the end of calendar year 2022 with an additional chance of becoming the first Nintendo console to crack the 1 billion mark in software shipments.

The only negative news is that the semiconductor shortages persist and as a result Nintendo made another downward revision to their hardware forecast, now at 23m. On the other hand, software got adjusted up again, now expected to hit 220m.

Switch's biggest area left for growth (Europe) has responded well to the price adjustments from last fall, so declines in other markets, namely Japan, can be offset in the foreseeable future. Switch will turn five years old in a month and there's no successor in sight. The software pipeline going into year 6 is looking better than for any Nintendo system before it, so the pieces remain in place to make a run for the title of best-selling console of all time.

UPDATE: August 7th, 2022

Another instance of myself forgetting to update the thread, likely due to Switch's success becoming less special over time. First off, here are the LTD figures as of March 31st:

Switch family - 107.65m (+4.11m this quarter)
-Switch - 83.45m (+1.77m)
-Switch Lite - 18.40m (+0.53m)
-Switch OLED - 5.80m (+1.81m)

This puts Switch as a whole at 23.06m for the fiscal year, so the adjusted forecast was met; the original forecast of 25.5m was out of the question once it became apparent that the semiconductor shortages were going to affect Nintendo negatively. Software shipments hit 235.07m and therefore beat even the upwards adjusted forecast; the original forecast was a meager 190m, the latest one was 220m.

For the fiscal year ending March 2023, Nintendo forecasts hardware shipments of 21m and software shipments of 210m, so declines of approximately 10% in both categories.

Now moving on to the most recent financial report from earlier this week which provided us with the LTD figures as of June 30th:

Switch family - 111.08m (+3.43m this quarter)
-Switch - 84.77m (+1.32m)
-Switch Lite - 18.99m (+0.59m)
-Switch OLED - 7.32m (+1.52m)

Unsurprisingly, Nintendo did not make any adjustments to their original hardware and software forecasts. Reaching 125m by the end of calendar year 2022 remains feasible with shipments of ~4m and ~10m in the two remaining quarters.

The OLED model has established itself as the one that has the highest demand while the Lite keeps getting more unpopular. Nintendo says that they do not plan to launch new hardware this fiscal year, which makes sense, because it's likely that they'll follow a two year rhythm of launching revisions, and a Switch successor isn't in the cards anyway.

Last edited by RolStoppable - on 07 August 2022

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

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

the switch is to expensive to be liked by the handheld audience from the 3ds/ds/gameboy (often kids) and I dont see its gimmick gettting really popular in the casual market (like wii). Its still more or less a advanced wii u (you can take the tablet now far away from your console but thats basically it).

So imo we will look at the Nintendo home console customer base which is declining for generations now (Snes -> n64 -> gamecube -> Wii u).
The general interest in nintendo product just is declining. The Wii wasnt bought for the nintendo software or brand but for Wii Sports and the Wii balance board.

Something like paid online will definitly not help either.

I still do see the switch having a chance of an decent success:

If nintendo sells it as a iPad mini that can also play real console like games and nintendo games.
The price is compareable to and iPad/Android tablet, so as long as it can do what tablets can do (web surfing, netflix, amazon video, sky, facebook, youtube, instagram, photo editing, video editing, cloud storage like dropbox, calendar and such) I can see many people who are thinking about getting a tablet: "well, why not getting the switch, it does everything a ipad mini can do but im also able to play some mario / mario kart / zelda" and the price is the same/better.

That would be a huge selling point imo.

i agree with most of this, I own a NES and every home console and handheld released since then and I pre ordered every nintendo console.

I loved every handheld they ever released, including small upgrades like the GBA SP and the new XL models on DS/3DS also I loved all their home consoles UNTIL the Wii.

They lost me with the Wii and Wii-U in the home console market and I would buy a handheld version of the switch that is smaller (its to big for my handheld preferences in its current state) and with a better battery life. And obviously, a much lower price.

I think anyone predicting the Switch will do well outside of Japan is being over-enthusiastic because they like the idea of the switch but its really really not a massive populair innovation like the Wii, its more like the 3ds where the device is "ok" but not everyone is on board and Nintendo will need to lower the price and make a ton of games to convince people.

If they will and can do this is ultimately not up to us but up to them and I think they can reach 50m sold on this console if they support it well but its not the return to form I and many others wanted in the Home console market.

Twitter @CyberMalistix

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meh stop reading after 7 points because anything with more then 7 points is nonsense

 "I think people should define the word crap" - Kirby007

Join the Prediction League

Instead of seeking to convince others, we can be open to changing our own minds, and seek out information that contradicts our own steadfast point of view. Maybe it’ll turn out that those who disagree with you actually have a solid grasp of the facts. There’s a slight possibility that, after all, you’re the one who’s wrong.

Oh Rol. 

1. Yes, lots have given up on them. They continue to cater to a casual audience that is long gone, and has hurt them in being a viable console provider.

2. Well I'm sure Nintation360 would disagree with you.

3. Lots of people do not trust Nintendo anymore. And the majority of fans didn't skip it, I mean most core Nintendo fans got the console. Those are just all the fans that're left...

4. It is definently in trouble in the west, especially if it is touted as a home console replacement. 

5. Yes, it is very weak. Having only 1 AAA title at launch, and then having a few more through the summer isn't a "juggernaut" lineup.

6. We'll have to wait and see

7. The reason they have their games at the top is due to piss poor third party support, so I'd expect first parties to drag a little bit of the slack.

8. Wii U and 3DS had plenty of problems, and the Switch only shows how blind Nintendo is to what the gaming market wants.

9. Yes, people are going to come from the sky and buy this thing because its from "nintendo". I really want to see your predictions on the Wii U

10. No, HW that is 7-8 years dated is totally worth the price. I mean the XB1 and PS4 are cheaper, but no... being "special" is why they can do this. Oh wait, this is almost a copy and paste of the nvidia shield...

Conclusion: Learn to be a better liar.

Made a bet with LipeJJ and HylianYoshi that the XB1 will reach 30 million before Wii U reaches 15 million. Loser has to get avatar picked by winner for 6 months (or if I lose, either 6 months avatar control for both Lipe and Hylian, or my patrick avatar comes back forever).

Haha, what a magnificent post. I myself don't care to predict the exact sales of any games or consoles, because like you said, there are so many variables. But people should never count out Nintendo or their games, regardless of what they put out. I mean, look at the nes classic, that thing is pretty limited compared to sega's retro console reissue, but it seems to be outperforming it.

Switch will bé a flop unless they cut thé Price... À lot.

Thats it

Predictions for end of 2014 HW sales:

 PS4: 17m   XB1: 10m    WiiU: 10m   Vita: 10m


kirby007 said:
meh stop reading after 7 points because anything with more then 7 points is nonsense

You must really love your 7 leaf clover ...

Anyway, let's just see how this topic will unroll ...

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