Nintendo has infamously been criticized for its inability (or unwillingness) to make supply meet demand on virtually every popular piece of hardware it’s ever brought to market. The NES Classic Edition is the most recent example, but the upcoming Switch seems destined to take up that dubious mantle when it launches on March 3.
Speaking today during the company’s quarterly investor meeting, however, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima expressed a desire to do something about it. “You can tell customers have huge expectations based on how Switch reservations are doing,” Kimishima said as reported by Bloomberg. “We want to increase production as much as we can.”
Switch preorders went live at most major American retailers on January 13, and they proceeded to sell out almost immediately. In Nintendo’s home country of Japan, stores didn’t begin preorders until a bit later in the month, and they have yet to sell out completely. Still, more than 80 percent and counting of the launch day stock has been reserved in Japan.
Nintendo has not broken down regional shipment or even global launch day numbers, instead stating more broadly that it would ship two million units worldwide by the end of March.
Once the Swtich launches, Nintendo will increasingly need to rely on its success to achieve profitability. Though production continues on Nintendo’s 3DS handheld and sales of two new Pokemon games released for the 3DS in November have reportedly been good, 3DS hardware sales are slowing. Meanwhile, Nintendo updated its Japanese website to state that Wii U console production has ended.
“2017 is Nintendo’s most critical year in decades. The Switch changes more for Nintendo than many people think,” Serkan Toto, founder of Tokyo-based consultant Kantan Games Inc told Bloomberg. “Sure, the 3DS still exists and gets support from Nintendo, but chances are the numbers will never be this high again.”
The Nintendo Switch retails for $300 and has 10 confirmed games for its March 3 launch. More than 70 other titles are currently in active development for the system.