Nintendo is coming off its successful Switch release with big plans for the upcoming E3 gaming expo, the company said on Thursday.
The iconic Japanese game company will host a three-day event at this year’s E3, one of the gaming industry’s biggest confabs, starting on June 13. On its first day, Nintendo (NTDOY) said, it will announce new details and the first playable demo for its highly anticipated game Super Mario Odyssey.
The new Super Mario game, which is slated to be available on the Switch later this year, will be the first sandbox-style Mario game since Super Mario Sunshine was released on the GameCube in 2002. Sandbox-style games place Mario in different 3D worlds and allow gamers to explore them in their own time and their own way.
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Nintendo’s announcement comes as the company is experiencing a rebirth in its hardware division thanks to the wildly popular Nintendo Switch. The console, which can played both on the television and on-the-go with its built-in screen, is nearly impossible to find on store shelves, and has become Nintendo’s fastest-selling game console. Nintendo anticipates Switch demand to remain strong through the rest of the year.
While Nintendo will likely talk a bit about the Switch’s success at E3, its focus on games reflects a business necessity. For decades, Nintendo has offered some of the more popular video games on its hardware and they’ve contributed significantly to its bottom line. Super Mario Odyssey could be critical to the company’s financial performance in the fourth quarter, when it’ll face stiff competition from other game developers for holiday season dominance. As Nintendo sells more Switch consoles, it needs to have an ample number of games available that will keep owners playing its hardware.
So far this year, Nintendo has sold 2.7 million Switch units and 5.5 million Switch games, according to its latest earnings report. The company is forecasting 35 million Switch game sales during its next fiscal year, which runs between April 2017 and March 2018. It expects to sell 10 million Switch units over that period.
Now that Nintendo is selling as many Switch units as it possibly can, the company is turning to games at E3 to further boost sales. It’s also reportedly planning to use its time at E3 to promote third-party games that will also bolster the console’s appeal.
Aside from game talk, Nintendo said that it will host game tournaments for players at E3. It also plans to livestream its festivities so those not in attendance can watch what its plans are for 2017.