From the moment the Switch was revealed, things felt different. Long gone was the muddled, confusing marketing of the Wii U, as the announcement trailer made the Switch’s concept perfectly clear from the very beginning: Play it at home, take it on the go. Nintendo, especially in recent generations, has been known to take the road less traveled in terms of hardware concepts. With the Wii, it clicked with almost everyone who touched a Wii remote. With the Wii U, it never really clicked with anyone, except for the rare brilliant use of the GamePad such as Super Mario Maker.
The Switch, quite literally, clicks. Aside from the gloriously satisfying sound of connecting the Joy-Cons to the console, fans have already fallen in love with the portability of a handheld and the power of a home console. This attachment to the new idea coupled with the strong marketing campaign has led to something very significant: the fastest selling console in Nintendo history. After one week on the market, the Switch has outpaced both the Wii and the DS, flying off store shelves within moments of arrival. In fact, the Senior Director of Merchandising at GameStop, Eric Bright, says the Switch launch has been the strongest console launch in years.
In the UK the Switch has also seen great success in its first week. As of Monday, 80,000 units were moved. Breath of the Wild came in at number two in the UK’s sale charts, while 1-2-Switch clocked in at number four. Not only are the numbers impressive, it’s the best launch weekend in the UK in Nintendo history. In France, the Switch has sold 105,000 units, outpacing the Wii by 10,000. While the console numbers in Japan aren’t shattering records, Breath of the Wild is outperforming previous Zelda titles, seeing greater success in the country than usual.
Since the very beginning of the Switch brouhaha, Nintendo has exuded confidence. When the pressure was on to reveal information about the upcoming console, Nintendo didn’t crack. We waited, waited and waited some more, beyond the point of frustration. When the curtain was finally drawn back, we were all somehow surprised by the system we knew the precise details about for months.
For Nintendo, the Switch was a system that needed to win over the audience. After the low sales of the Wii U, Nintendo had to come back strong and prove that it was still on top of its game. Like a professional athlete looking to stage a bounce-back season, Nintendo prepared and waited for the right time to prove the world wrong. I can only imagine what the feeling was at Nintendo during the launch of the Switch. It was probably like the beginning of a roller coaster, while the car is slowly climbing the huge hill. You’re confident you’re going to be fine, but there is still a sense of dread hanging over you.
Obviously, it’s still extremely early, and the Switch might not reach the status of perfect. While the first big drop of the roller coaster is in the rearview mirror, there’s plenty of ride left. There are reports of hardware issues, the launch lineup was thin behind Zelda, and some consumers are not yet sold on the concept of a console on the go. Thankfully, the Switch has backup from one of the highest critically acclaimed games of all time, no doubt boosting its launch week sales. A successful beginning can breed a successful future, and hopefully that’s the pattern the Nintendo Switch will follow. It’s had a historic start to its career, kicking off Nintendo’s bounceback campaign in a big way.Leave a Comment