Nintendo kicked 2018 off by telling investors they expected to sell an impressive 20 million Switch consoles for the year. Nintendo's fiscal year runs from April 1st, 2018 through March 31st, 2019, which means they have a little less than four months left before the books close. As of September 30th, Nintendo had sold just 5 million Switch consoles, or only 25% of their target through 50% of the year.
A month later, Nintendo indicated that they were not changing their target. Switch had a fairly weak lineup of first-party software for most of the year, but all of their biggest hitters were scheduled to come out during the holiday season. With Super Mario Party, Pokémon: Let's Go and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate all coming out in the final three months of the calendar year, Nintendo was confident they could still hit 20 million.
The holiday season isn't over yet, but all three of those games are now available in stores and online, so Nintendo now has a better idea of what their chances are. Speaking with Forbes, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime remained optimistic when asked about the target.
"We're feeling confident in our momentum and it's not just a stellar launch of Pokémon, it's not just what appears to be a stellar launch for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. That Black Friday through Cyber Monday time frame was critically important to us, the remaining shopping days now through Christmas are critically important to us. More days right after Christmas as consumers receive gift cards or take unwanted gifts and monetize into things like Nintendo Switch are important to us. So, this is going to be an ongoing effort to make sure that we drive our business forward through the balance of this holiday season but also the first calendar quarter as well." — Reggie Fils-Aime
20 million is a tough goal to reach for, but Nintendo's holiday lineup has been performing at a historic rate. Super Mario Party launched to the strongest reviews in 20 years and got off to the fastest start in franchise history. Pokémon: Let's Go broke pre-order records and provided huge Switch sales boosts, giving Switch the best sales week in Nintendo history. Then Smash came along, got even more pre-orders than Pokémon, and broke sales records in multiple countries.
This is shaping up to be Nintendo's strongest holiday season ever. Will it be enough to carry Switch all the way to 20 million? While the bulk of the sales will need to happen during this winter window, Nintendo has until March 31st to reach the target number and report back to investors.