Nintendo (NTDOY) is going to release a new version of its wildly popular Switch consoles in the second half of 2019 in hopes of keeping up their sales momentum, the Wall Street Journal reports. It sold nearly 20 million consoles during Switch’s first 15 months on the market, and wants to sell 20 million in the fiscal year ending in March 2019. But Switch sales have been slipping, and during the second quarter, ending in June, it sold just under 2 million units.
The new Switch console could have an improved LCD display but isn’t expected to use OLED screens like Apple’s iPhone X series. It’s common for videogame console producers to update the product about halfway through its life cycle: After Sony introduced the PlayStation 4 in 2013, it came out with a less-expensive version and a high-end model in 2016.
The Switch, a console that can be used both in the living room and on the go, was first released in March 2017 and, with nearly 20 million unit sales so far, has sold more than Wii U did in its five years. The enthusiastic reception has brought Nintendo its highest sales and profits in nearly a decade. The company posted net sales for its most recent quarter of $1.5 billion, a 9% increase from the previous year, and operating profits of $275 million, up 88% over last year.
At the GeekWire Summit yesterday, Reggie Fils-Aimé, president of Nintendo of America, said the Wii U’s relative failure led to the success of the Switch. “Without our experiences on the Wii U, we would not have the Nintendo Switch in terms of what we learned and importantly what we heard from our consumers,” he said. “They were telling us, ‘I want to play with this tablet, this gamepad for the Wii U, but as soon as I get more than 30 feet away it disconnects.’ So the core concept, something that you could take with you anywhere anytime, was really compelling.”