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Nintendo forecasts modest Switch growth as sales overtake the N64

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Prospect of Switch sales in China and rumors of new consoles met with conservative forecast

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Nintendo sold 2.47 million Switch consoles in the January to March quarter, or 16.95 million units for the financial year. Nintendo’s original target for the financial year was 20 million Switch consoles, later revised to a more realistic 17 million units. Nintendo also reported strong software sales of 118.55 million units thanks to titles like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu!, Pokémon Let’s Go, Eevee!, Super Mario Party, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe — an 86.7 percent increase from the year earlier.

Nintendo has sold 34.74 million Switch consoles to date which moves it ahead of the Nintendo 64’s 32.93 million lifetime units. Impressive, but it still pales in comparison to the recent success of the Wii’s 101.63 million lifetime console sales or the 75.08 million 3DS handhelds shipped.

Nintendo is forecasting 18 million Switch shipments for the year ahead. A number that could be viewed as conservative for a couple of reasons.

Last week we learned that Nintendo had partnered with Tencent to sell Switch consoles in China for the first time. The success of the partnership very much depends on the unpredictable Chinese government. Although Nintendo’s family friendly game catalog should work in the company’s favor.

Nintendo was also rumored to be launching a low-end Switch by the end of June, with an announcement said to be coming at the big E3 gaming event kicking off on June 11th. However, Nintendo CEO Shuntaro Furukawa, shot down the rumors of an E3 announcement on an earnings call following today’s financial release.

“As a general rule, we’re always working on new hardware and we will announce it when we are able to sell it,” Furukawa said. “But we have no plans to announce that at this year’s E3 in June.”

The main Switch console is expected to see a “modest update,” according to Bloomberg, with “enhanced features targeted at avid video gamers,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

It’s certainly shaping up to be a very interesting year for the house that Mario built.

Update April 25th, 5:38AM ET: Article updated with statements made on the earnings call by Nintendo CEO Shuntaro Furukawa.