As we enter the second half of March, Nintendo must be sighing with relief that the Switch hybrid console seems to be a hit with consumers. Initially planning to sell 2 million Switch by the end of March and then produce a further 8 million before March 2018, it now looks as though Nintendo is set to revise its production plans upwards.
According to The Wall Street Journal via The Verge, Nintendo is doubling production for the next financial year. That means 16 million Switch flooding the market to meet demand. If true, it means by March 2018 the Switch could have an installed user base north of 18 million. Compare that to the Wii U, which only achieved 13.5 million sales over the course of its entire lifetime (a little more than four years).
For comparison, during its first year on sale the PS4 shipped 19.9 million consoles. On the other hand, the Xbox One only achieved 10 million. In late 2018, we could be talking about the Switch passing the Xbox One and moving into second place behind the PS4 if sales remain strong.
For now, Nintendo's management can be content with the launch of the Switch. There are issues with the hardware, but according to Nintendo they are quite limited in number and owner feedback is being listened to. The focus now has to be on software and how to keep the momentum going once Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a distant memory.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will help if Nintendo manages to convince you to buy it again, but Nintendo needs to be hitting its IP hard over the next couple of years as well as supporting indie games and encouraging as much third-party publisher support as possible. If the Switch achieves 18 million sales by March next year, it won't be a hard sell to publishers like the Wii U ended up being.