Nintendo President Can’t Promise Enough Switch Units for Holiday Season

Nintendo May Sell Out Switch This
Janko Roettgers / Variety

Nintendo is well on its way to sell 10 million units of its Switch game console this fiscal year, but the company may still run into supply issues during the holiday season, admitted Nintendo of America president and chief operating officer Reggie Fils-Aime during Variety’s Entertainment and Technology Summit in Los Angeles Thursday.

“Certainly the demand is there, and our supply chain is there” to hit the 10 million goal, he said, but he didn’t want to commit to fulfilling the demand for the coming holiday season. “Are we going to have enough for the holiday? That’s what we are focused on.”

Fils-Aime used his appearance at the conference to stretch that Nintendo does more than just video game consoles. “People think of us as a pure gaming company. We see ourselves as an entertainment company,” he said.

Some of these efforts involve Nintendo’s mobile app business, which includes the “Super Mario Run” game. That title has been downloaded more than 150 million units to date — and in turn become not just a profit driver, but also a kind of market intelligence tool for the company. Nintendo has seen a lot of success for it in markets where  it doesn’t sell any hardware yet, said Fils-Aime. Now, it can use those insights to target these markets by introducing its own hardware there.

Nintendo has also struck some partnerships with companies like Universal Studios to extend its reach beyond traditional gaming. Asked whether Nintendo may eventually also partner on movies or TV shows, Fils-Aime said: “All of those options are potentially on the table.” However, he also reminded his audience that his company has had missteps in this space, including the 1993 movie “Super Mario Bros.” “It may have the lowest Rotten Tomato score out there,” he quipped.

Nintendo is applying the same deliberate approach to new technologies like virtual reality (VR). “It’s technology that we have been looking at literally tens of years,” he said. However, unlike others, Nintendo isn’t ready to jump in heads-first just yet. “There’s not a lot of experiences yet that are truly fun.”

Augmented reality (AR) however is a different beast, he said, pointing to the success of “Pokemon Go.” “We have a lot of experience with AR. The potential for AR is here and now.”

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