The Nintendo Switch sold more than 10 million consoles worldwide between March and December last year, and it’s now officially the fastest-selling home video game console in US history.
In the U.S. alone, 4.8 million Switches have been sold, beating the previous record-holder, the Wii, which sold 4 million units in the same time period. Demand for the Switch was so high at launch that Nintendo initially struggled to keep up with its popularity, particularly in the US and Japan where consoles flew off shelves and fans lined up for hours to enter lotteries to buy them.
The flexibility of the Switch, which boasts multiple portable and home gaming play styles, no doubt plays a part in its success, however a console is nothing without good games, and the Switch had a strong lineup in 2017. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey in particular performed exceedingly well, with both becoming some of the highest-acclaimed games of all time. Nintendo’s sales figures indicate that 55% of Switch owners have purchased Zelda, while more than two thirds have Mario. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ported over from the Switch’s much-less-successful predecessor, the Wii U, is owned by about 50% of those with a Switch.
It’s going to be interesting to see if the Switch can maintain this kind of momentum in 2018. Nintendo believes it can, revising its first-year sales targets from 10 to 14 million units, a figure that would exceed the entire lifetime sales of the Wii U (13.5 million). Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima has set the bar even higher for the 2018-2019 fiscal year (April 2018 – March 2019), telling Kyoto Shimbun that he wants to sell more than 20 million Switches during the year.
2018 looks promising: more first-party titles such as Kirby and Yoshi will be landing on Nintendo Switch, with other highly-anticipated games in development (including Metroid Prime 4 and a new core Pokémon game). More third-party titles will also be headed to the Switch, Nintendo will be launching its online service, and it’s become the home of some great indie titles, with Super Meat Boy Forever and a Shovel Knight sequel expected this year.