For both hardware sales and the attention of third-party publishers, Nintendo says the Switch's holiday season performance is critical.
Though investors questioned Nintendo's ability to keep up with Switch demand, the company itself is hopeful that the system will perform well during the upcoming 2017 holiday season.
In its quarterly investor Q&A, Nintendo says that the system has yet to capture the original Wii's popularity with both consumers and game publishers, but that it believes the system could obtain that Wii-like momentum if the holiday season goes according to plan.
Part of this is thanks to the company's recently adjusted projections (and increased manufacturing efforts) that now see the console reaching 14 million systems sold by the end of the fiscal year according to Nintendo's estimates, up from the original 10 million figure. Currently, the system is nearing 8 million sold.
Nintendo says breaking 10 million sales is what will ultimately help the Switch to become as attractive as a platform for third-party developers and publishers as the Wii was back in its heyday.
"At present, software sales volumes at our software publishers have not reached the levels we saw for Wii, explains Kimishima. "This is in part because the total cumulative sales volume for the Nintendo Switch hardware hasnʼt yet reached 10 million units, and in part because past Nintendo platform sales trends have led software publishers to be cautious at the start. That said, software publishers have taken the Nintendo Switch ideas and concepts to heart. "
Currently, Kimishima says, more than 300 indie developers and third-party publishers have Switch titles in the works.
Another reason Nintendo expects the Switch to perform well this winter has to do with the kind of first-party titles it has released for the console so far. Nintendo's first-party release schedule was carefully scheduled in a way that both kept the console fresh in the minds of players while also using its own games to educate both developers and players about the console's capabilities.
For example, Kimishima says that 1-2 Switch was released as a launch title to showcase the wide variety of the console's functions while parts of games like Splatoon 2 and the recent Super Mario Odyssey exist in part to showcase the console's various multiplayer capabilities.
That effort to make Switch games a community experience, explains Kimishima, has actually been influenced by the rise of eSports. While he remained vague on Nintendo's plans for eSports in regards to the Switch itself, he did note that the company has been lightly using eSports as a model for how it creates Switch games.
"The main enjoyment in whatʼs called eSports is that players themselves can enjoy competing in the game, and those around the players can enjoy watching," he says. "This has been part of our core thinking in creating games at Nintendo, and we intend to continue creating games along these lines."