Nintendo Switch Legend of Zelda
Nintendo Switch out of its dock, playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildNintendo

Nintendo is reportedly set to double its planned production of Nintendo Switch consoles over the next financial year, aiming to manufacturer 16 million units between April and March 2018. The change of plan shows the level of confidence the company has in its new machine.

The Wall Street Journal cited sources "briefed on the plans", adding that the change suggests Nintendo is hopeful Switch will be able to sell "significantly more" than 10 million units during its first year on sale.

This would put it on a similar course to the Wii, Nintendo's best-selling console ever which sold over 100 million units.

Switch, a video game console capable of easily switching between home and handheld play, launched worldwide on 3 March. It enjoyed a successful first weekend, becoming the best launch for a Nintendo console in Europe and North America.

Analysts SuperData reported earlier this week that sales of the console may have already topped 1.5 million – a strong start that would justify confidence in the machine's future. To ramp up production so dramatically though is an unexpected move for Nintendo.

The 16 million figure is also important because it means Nintendo plans on producing more Switch consoles in its first year than it managed to sell Wii U consoles during four years on sale. As of 31 December 2016, Wii U's lifetime sales sat at 13.56 million.

Nintendo's confidence in Switch's future will be down in part to a slow-burn launch bolstered by first party exclusives.

The console was released alongside The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the latest entry in one of the company's most beloved series but not one of its most popular, which would have been helped no end by glowing reviews and its position as a launch title.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is set for release on 28 April and has been the focus of Nintendo Switch's current marketing campaigns. This is because the last home console entry on Wii (this is a port of Mario Kart 8 on Wii U) was hugely popular, selling 36.8 million units.

Other first party exclusives such as Arms, Splatoon 2 (which will get a huge push) and Fire Emblem Warriors (which will play bigger in Japan) will also help first year sales. The big one however, is Super Mario Odyssey, set for release in time for Christmas.

Odyssey will be the first 3D Mario in four years and the focal point of Nintendo's entire first year plans for Switch. There are also likely to be other titles Nintendo hasn't announced, such as a rumoured Pokémon follow-up to Sun and Moon and a port of the last Super Smash Bros title for Wii U.

With the Switch unifying Nintendo's development efforts (once split between home and handheld devices) and the relatively barren past couple of years, it has been clear a lot of focus has been put on ensuring Switch's two years are incredibly strong in terms of hardware-supporting software.

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