The Nintendo Switch had a hell of a debut year, selling nearly 15 million units between its March launch and the end of December. Despite that, Nintendo remained in third place in terms of console market share for most of 2017. Sony and Microsoft had the advantage of a big head start – the Switch may have sold like hotcakes, but more people were playing games on the PS4 and Xbox One. Expect that to change in 2018.
Nintendo probably won’t catch up to Sony any time soon, but the financial analysts at IHS Markit predict they’ll shoulder Microsoft out of the #2 position this year. In 2017, consumers worldwide spent approximately $8 billion on Nintendo hardware, software, and services, compared to about $10 billion on Microsoft gaming products. In 2018, spending on Nintendo products is expected to reach $11 billion, while Microsoft will drop to $9 billion. Nintendo is also expected to nibble at Sony’s market share, although PlayStation products should still pull in over $20 billion this year.
Of course, the Nintendo/Microsoft comparison isn’t 100 percent fair, as The Big N’s numbers include the sale of the Switch, 3DS, and limited-time products like the NES/SNES Classic Edition, while Microsoft only has the Xbox One. That said, the large majority of Nintendo’s 2018 console revenue is expected to come from the Switch – you could take the 3DS and retro consoles out of the equation, and Nintendo would most likely still top Microsoft in 2018.
Overall, the console market is expected to grow 4 percent in 2018, with spending reaching $42 billion. That’s up from 2017 ($41 billion) and 2016 ($35 billion), but is short of the record $56 billion recorded in 2008 during the Wii’s heyday. As the numbers show, Nintendo’s fortunes have a pretty huge effect on the console market as a whole.
This is as good a time as any to do a bit of an informal poll – which console/consoles do you do most of your gaming on? Planning to buy a new system in 2018?
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