Switch proves an overwhelming success in early Nintendo sales

8 Mar 2017

Nintendo Switch. Image: Sean Wandzilak/Shutterstock

Breaking records in one area and challenging them in others, Nintendo’s Switch console can be chalked down as an early commercial success.

Nintendo has been pinning an awful lot of its future on the success of its latest console, Switch. Judging by early reports, it was right to do so.

According to Reggie Fils-Aimé, president of Nintendo’s US operations, the opening two days of sales were more successful than any other console launch in the company’s history.

Given that it’s a March release, rather than say, December, this is even more impressive. What helped drive its success, no doubt, was the pairing of the latest Zelda game with the Switch’s final release.

Though it wasn’t bundled with the console, sales of Zelda beat the previous landmark achieved by Super Mario for the N64, released more than two decades ago.

In Europe, the sales are a company record for any form of hardware, according to The Telegraph. In Japan, Switch’s opening sales fell short of Wii U (by 5,000), PS4 (9,000) and Wii (58,000), though, again, its release date could play a part when comparing it with the latter.

It all makes for a successful roll-out by Nintendo, which has struggled in recent years, battling against Sony and Microsoft in the console wars and testing the waters in the mobile gaming environment.

Back to black

Losses were mounting at the company last October as the fallow period between new consoles, and new popular gaming titles, grew ever longer. However, since then, things are looking up at Nintendo.

In January, for example, the company reported an empathic rise in quarterly profits, enjoying quite the boom after such a lengthy, worrying period.

This was helped in part by the runaway success of Pokémon Go, the first augmented reality game to truly catch its audience by storm.

In a little under a week last summer, 5pc of all Android devices in the US had downloaded the game and, with Nintendo enjoying a share in both Niantic and Pokémon Co, the companies behind the game, profits emerged.

It has been estimated that Nintendo enjoys a 13pc economic stake in the game, but its true money-spinner appears to be the interest in other Pokémon products and merchandise.

Complementary content

Revenue was down 22pc on last year, but the company’s Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon titles for the 3DS earned it big bucks.

The two games have garnered more than 14m in sales since their November launch, surely helped along by the 2016 Pokémon love-in.

Now Switch’s popularity, should it be sustained, can buttress the company’s growing enthusiasm for the modern, mobile world.

Decades after initiating the mobile gaming industry with the Game Boy, 2016 reports hinted at the release of complementary parts for smartphone gaming.

“Physical controllers for smart device applications are available in the market and it is possible that we may also develop something new by ourselves,” said Shinya Takahashi, director and GM of entertainment planning, at Nintendo’s AGM last summer.

Nintendo Switch. Image: Sean Wandzilak/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic