Yesterday we reported that Nintendo of America’s president, Reggie Fils-Aime had told the New York Times that the Switch was off to a fantastic start in the Americas. In fact its first two days on the market (Friday and Saturday of last week) it sold more Switches than any other Nintendo hardware ever had in the past, breaking all of its company records. It turns out this is also the case for Europe!
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the biggest selling Nintendo launch title ever in North America and Europe as well. In fact, while Nintendo of America clarifies Zelda sold more than any other “non-bundled” software in America (including Super Mario 64), Europe claims it beat out Wii Sports, which was bundled with the Wii in that territory. Very impressive!
In Japan, the Switch is also performing well, however no word on it breaking sales records. According to Famitsu, the Switch sold 313,700 over there. This is compared with the 308,600 for Wii U, 371,900 for Wii, and 322,100 for PS4. It’s important to note that both the Wii U and Wii were released during the holiday shopping season, so the Switch has sold admirably well outside the normal video game spending timeframe. PS4 was released in February in Japan, so that’s a little closer parallel. Also, each system could have a different number of days on sale for the numbers reported as well. Unfortunately, we don’t know the details of that, so it’s a bit difficult to know which system truly sold the most in the same time period. Since the Nintendo Switch is a hybrid device, it would also be fair to compare it to some handheld launches. The 3DS sold 371,000 and the DS sold 441,000 during their first weeks on sale in Japan.
Of course, most of this is moot. The true test for the Switch comes in the next few weeks and months and really this coming holiday season. That’s when the majority of systems will sell (or not sell), so Nintendo has a ton of work ahead of them to keep this momentum going. We’re heading into the slowest part of the video game year (summer), so it would be near impossible for the Switch to continue its sell-out performance. This will give Nintendo time to grow the library of games and ready its new system for primetime this fall when it will need to appeal to a wider group of people, not just Nintendo diehards.