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Nintendo has just released its financials for the 2022/23 financial year, and they tell us a few key things. The first is that, despite bugs and performance issues in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, players are flocking to the game in droves. The second is that the Switch is slowing down, losing steam, and is very much on its way out.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, the latest games in the Pokémon series, have hit 22.10 million units shipped, which puts them on the fast-track to become one of the best-selling games in the entire series. They’re still behind Gold and Silver at this stage, but it’s a difference that will be surpassed in a matter of months, not years.

At this stage in Sword and Shield’s lifespan, those games had sold around 17 million units, according to Serebii’s Joe Merrick, and they’re currently the second-best selling games in the franchise, behind Red and Blue. It’s unlikely Scarlet and Violet will surpass the original duo, but at the current rate there’s almost no world in which Scarlet and Violet don’t come a very close second.

Metroid Prime Remastered has done reasonably well for itself too, shipping 1.09 million units since releasing. That might sound small in comparison to Scarlet and Violet, but Metroid games, and especially Metroid Prime games, tend to sell in small numbers, so a remaster of a 20-year-old game selling a million units after a total shadow drop is still quite impressive.

Putting all that aside, though, it’s clear from these numbers that the writing is on the wall for the Nintendo Switch. In the past financial year, the company shipped 17.97 million Switch units, just short of its revised forecast of 18 million units, and well short of its initial prediction of 19 million units earlier in the financial year (thanks Vooks).

The company says the shortfall is the result of “shortages of semiconductors and other components,” which reportedly slowed production, but ask yourself this: have you walked into a GameStop and not seen Switch consoles on the shelves? There hasn’t exactly been a shortage of hardware for the Switch this past year, so we might have to look at other reasons for the Switch falling short of Nintendo’s expectations.

Thankfully, Nintendo’s own financial release gives us a clear picture of the primary cause. In the year ahead, Nintendo’s expecting the Switch to ship 15 million units — that’s a pretty big drop from this year’s 19 million prediction, and last year’s 21.5 million units. Nintendo knows what we can all see: the Switch is nearing the end of its life.

Sure, the scrappy little hybrid console is certainly pulling in plenty of buyers, but those numbers are going down year on year, and it’s only going to get more drastic as the years go on. For the most part, anyone who wants a Switch already owns one, and anyone who might have leapt back into gaming for the Switch almost certainly did so in 2020 when they had plenty of free time and towns in Animal Crossing to curate.

So who’s left to sell Switches to? We know that the OLED is selling the most of the three available models right now, outpacing both the base model and the Lite combined in new console sales. That suggests it’s probably not new Switch owners, but existing Switch players upgrading to a nicer model, maybe one with cool Zelda stuff plastered all over it.

Nintendo's software forecast is looking pretty sparse too. For the next financial year, it lists The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Pikmin 4 in July. That's it. Metroid Prime 4 is listed to, but I think we all know that's not coming anytime soon.

The potential market for the Switch is growing thin, and the Switch is losing steam. We know it, Nintendo knows it, and everyone’s just waiting to see what comes next. There have been rumors of a Switch successor set to be announced this year for a release in 2024, but there have been rumors of a stronger Switch since before the console was even released.

One thing’s for sure though, Nintendo will always march to the beat of its own drum. We’ll find out whatever is next for the company when it’s good and ready — and not a moment sooner.