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NPD 2019 Predictions: Switch to Become Market Leader in a “Bumpy Year”

Nintendo Switch Online, NPD

NPD 2019 Predictions: Switch to Become Market Leader in a “Bumpy Year”

NPD analyst Matt Piscatella has shared his predictions for the US games industry in 2019, a year in which he believes that Nintendo Switch will emerge as a market leader with 35% share of hardware unit sales.

Piscatella attributes the Switch’s success to the upcoming Pokémon title and the “continued strength of Nintendo’s evergreen franchises driving the performance.”

But it isn’t just Nintendo’s performance that will see the company succeed in 2019. A slowdown in the content and interest in its rival’s hardware will also bolster its standing.

Specifically, the decline in the amount of content released for Sony’s PS4, which has long dominated the industry as a result of several smash-hit AAA productions. As we move closer to the end of the console generation, it is expected that we’ll see less of these hugely popular games driving interest in the brand.

In fact, according to Piscatella, 2019 will be a year of transition, and gamers should not expect to see year-on-year growth after what was a phenomenal 2018 for the games industry. He said:

“Switch will pull ahead in Console as we move to predicted 2020 next gen for MS/Sony. Could be a bumpy year.”

He added that “2018 was a remarkable year of titles released from some of the most successful franchises and studios. Many months in 2019 will fail to have the breadth and depth of content offerings, leading to declines.”

You can read Piscatella’s other predictions below:

  • Spending on digital content to account for 90% of total content spending – According to NPD’s GMD report, 86% of content was sold digitally across all platforms (incl mobile) by 12 months ending Q3 ’18. Digital growth should force more share to shift.
  • Subscription spending continues to rapidly grow – More services, more consumer choice, as well as deeper and broader offerings will allow subscription spending growth to accelerate throughout the year.
  • More focus on facilitating social hangouts in games -Making it easy for friends to play together has been a success driver for some recent games. Titles that focus on making that experience great should return higher sales and engagement than if they did not
  • Streaming offerings outpace consumer adoption – There are huge incentives for companies to go streaming, and ’19 will bring many announcements. But consumer adoption will come slowly. I expect a lot of noise in 2019, with little short-term consumer payoff.

Matt Piscatella US Video Games Industry Analyst for The NPD Group. You can find his monthly breakdown of the industry by numbers over on his YouTube channel.

The NPD Group’s most recent report highlighted Red Dead Redemption 2 and Nintendo Switch as software and hardware leaders for December, which you can read here.

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