The Nintendo Switch launched last weekend and, according to preliminary sales figures, the new console/portable hybrid is off to a solid start. But how does it compare to previous Nintendo consoles, we wonder?
New York Times reporter Nick Wingfield said that, after a recent interview with Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime, it looks like the Switch had a great launch weekend. Wingfield dished loads of details pertaining to the launch spread across multiple tweets, because that's apparently how we've all agreed to communicate these days.
Old-man-fist-shaking at technology aside, Wingfield had some interesting stats to share. For starters, the Switch's sales across Friday and Saturday of last week exceeded the first two-day sales of any console in Nintendo's history, including the original Wii. That's a nice start in and of itself proving that, even if Nintendo still clearly needs to learn a few lessons about modern gaming, they've at least figured out how to market their new product.
If you picked up a Switch last weekend, then you probably also picked up The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, helping it become the best-selling standalone launch title for Nintendo. This comparison does not include games that were bundled with consoles, though those aren't all that common these days anyway. And while we're sure Zelda would have done well stacked against a crop of must-have games, the fact that it was the only big title for the Switch at launch probably helped propel it to such a lofty accomplishment.
Since it is really, really, hard to make one to one comparisons across generations, Wingfield admits in his sixth tweet that it's hard to know if the Switch will do as well as the Wii did over its entire lifetime, but sales figures so far have certainly been a strong start for the new console.
For starters, most consoles sell out at launch due to a roof on the number of consoles available. The real question of the Switch's success probably can't be answered until after its first year on market. If Nintendo is able to keep shelves stocked and people keep buying them, however, this could be very good news for the developer.
However, most folks who play games will tell you that it is the available titles, not the hardware, that will drive a purchasing decision. If Nintendo can't offer more reasons to keep coming back for more after the initial hype dies down, a strong start won't be enough to carry the Switch for the long term. The downside here is that, other than a couple of Wii U ports and a couple of big titles coming late in the year, Nintendo's year one offerings aren't looking all that strong. There's still plenty of time for that to change, though, and we've got our fingers crossed that Nintendo will keep the content coming throughout 2017 and beyond.