Every time GameStop gets a new shipment of Nintendo’s Switch hardware, it sells out within hours. And the company expects a similar level of demand through the end of the year.
GameStop, the world’s largest gaming-specific brick-and-mortar retailer, announced the results of its 2016 fiscal year today. And while gaming sales are down, the company points out the Switch as a potential bright spot moving forward — although GameStop admitted it did not factor in aggressive sales of the Switch into its forecast for the next fiscal year.
“There’s a lot of excitement about the Switch, but there’s also a lot of caution,” GameStop chief executive Paul Raines said in a conference call with investors. “We’re very cautious simply because of limited allocation. We don’t really have an aggressive forecast built-in for the Switch. We’ve learned with Nintendo not to do that.”
But while GameStop is hesitating on calling the Switch a Grand Slam-style hit — at least as far as its financials are concerned — the company did point out some encouraging data points that suggest the Switch is already in a much stronger position than the Wii U was at a similar point in its life.
“The demand is incredible strong,” said GameStop chief operating officer Tony Bartel. “As soon as we get it into stores, it’s out within hours. We anticipate that we’ll be chasing supply this entire year. The other thing is that to have an over five-and-a-half attach rate [for games and accessories] for the Switch. This signifies that a lot of people are finding this a great platform, and they’re picking up almost any game they can.”
Additionally, GameStop sells nearly one copy of Zelda for every Switch it sells.
The retailer also noted that Nintendo has a strong release schedule that it should continue to help keep demand high. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, an upgraded version of the Wii U game, launches on the system in April. Splatoon 2 is coming in the summer. Super Mario Odyssey, the next 3D mario game, is due out in the fall. GameStop also made mention to games that Nintendo hasn’t even announced yet as well as stronger third-party support.
“The data says it’s selling,” Raines said. “There’s tremendous demand. Every unit we get sells out quickly. But if you’ve played it, that’s the best way to know it has tremendous broadening potential.”
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