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Nintendo Switch sales down by 22 percent as hardware loses momentum

The Nintendo Switch just topped 125 million lifetime sales, but Nintendo seems to think the console has peaked.

Chris Kerr

May 9, 2023

2 Min Read
The Nintendo Switch OLED model in a person's hand

The Nintendo Switch has now sold over 125 million units worldwide, but Nintendo has warned that hardware sales are slowing down.

According to the company's fiscal report for the year ended March 31, 2023, hardware sales dropped by 22.1 percent year-on-year to 17.97 million units.

Software sales, meanwhile, decreased by 9 percent year-on-year to 213.96 million units, although Nintendo notes that unit sales of first-party software were at the third-highest levels since the Switch launched in March 2017. The company also commended the "strong" sales of new titles and "solid" performance of catalog titles.

In monetary terms, consolidated net sales declined by 5.5 percent year-on-year to 1.6 trillion yen ($11.8 billion), while net profit declined by 9.4 percent to 423.7 billion yen ($3.2 billion) over the same period.

What goes up...

Digging into those numbers, Nintendo said that hardware sales declined due to the "shortages of semiconductors and other components impacted production until around the end of summer," and noted that it didn't experience the same sales growth during the holiday season.

The Japanese company also pointed out that the best-selling Switch console, the OLED model, has a lower profit margin than the other models in the Switch family of system, which resulted in gross profit margins falling by 0.5 percent year-on-year to 55.3 percent.

As the graph below shows, the OLED Model was the best selling Switch variant across each quarter of FY23, and accounted for 9.22 million (so over half) of the Switch's 17.97 million annual sales.

Screenshot_2023-05-09_at_11.40.06.png

Nintendo described the sales situation for software as "stable," and suggested the downturn was "affected to some extent" by the decline in hardware sales. Pointing to the success of individual titles, Nintendo noted that Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet have now sold 22.1 million units worldwide, and highlighted that Splatoon 3 also crossed a major milestone after selling 10.67 million units.

Other notable performers included both new releases and catalog titles such as Nintendo Switch Sports (9.6 million units during FY23), Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (8.45 million units during FY23), and Kirby and the Forgotten Land (3.81 million units during FY23). Digital sales revenue also increased by 12.7 percent year-on-year to 405.2 billion yen.

Looking ahead, Nintendo is forecasting net sales of 1.45 trillion yen and net profit of 340 billion yen for the end of the current fiscal year on March 31, 2024. Both of those figures represent a decrease on its latest full-year results.

The company also expects Switch hardware sales to total 15 million units by the end of FY24, which would represent a 16.5 percent downturn year-on-year. Software sales are expected to fall by 15.9 percent to 180 million units over the same period.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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