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Nintendo predicts Switch sales of nearly 13 million by next April

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Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Nintendo has announced its earnings for the final quarter of its 2016 fiscal year, which are particularly pertinent to recent news as they contain the first official sales data on the new Switch console. Since it became available on March 3rd, Nintendo sold 2.74 million Switch units for the rest of the month — more than the 2 million the company long maintained it would ship in March. Nintendo also forecast sales of 10 million units for the current financial year, meaning it expects to have sold almost 13 million total by April.

You can’t glean too much about a console’s performance from its launch month, because sales are often dictated by how many systems are available. It’s still pretty difficult to find a Switch around the world, and similar supply constraints meant that the wildly popular Wii only sold around as many as its failed successor, the Wii U, in its launch month.

But the Switch selling out of its initial batch, Nintendo supplying additional units in March, and the console still being hard to find today at the end of April all together do suggest that it’s performing at least somewhat above expectations, with the company saying it’s “off to a promising start.” Nintendo’s forecast of nearly 13 million sales by the end of this fiscal year is also a positive sign — the Wii U only managed to move a little more in its entire lifespan, selling just 760,000 units between April 2016 and March 2017. (Nintendo’s forecasts have been on the optimistic side in the past, however.)

Overall, Nintendo reported revenue of 489 billion yen ($4.39 billion) and an operating profit of 29.4 billion yen ($264 million) for its 2016 financial year. Revenue was down 3 percent year-on-year, while operating profit was down 11 percent. That’s not surprising considering Nintendo had to limp through 2016 with a moribund home console platform — the real test will come with the first full financial year of the Switch, at the end of which Nintendo expects to have made 60 billion yen in operating profit off 750 billion yen in revenue.