Nintendo's new console is barely three days old, but it's already off to a strong start in terms of sales: It is now Nintendo's fastest-selling console.
That's an impressive launch, even if you take Nintendo's selective sales metric with the grain of salt it deserves.
The hybrid game system, which acts as a home game console and a portable game console, sold even better in North America in its first two days than the Nintendo Wii — the highest-selling console Nintendo has ever made, with more than 100 million units sold over its lifetime.
That's according to Nintendo of America's president, Reggie Fils-Aime, as reported by The New York Times' Nick Wingfield on Twitter:
2. Fri-Sat sales for Nintendo Switch exceeded first 2-day sales in Americas for any system in Nintendo history. Next biggest was Wii.— Nick Wingfield (@nickwingfield) March 6, 2017
Wingfield is quoting from an interview he conducted with Fils-Aime that has yet to be published.
No actual numbers were provided, so it's tough to make a direct comparison with the Wii.
And there is clearly some metrics cherry-picking at play here, since Nintendo didn't publicly measure the Wii's success based on the first two days of sales when it launched back in 2006. All we know is that the Wii sold 600,000 units during its first eight days on the market.
So is the proper yardstick for measuring a console sales record a two-day period? An eight-day period? Or some other arbitrary period of time? Since Nintendo isn't releasing numbers (not yet at least), the company has a lot of discretion in what it declares to be a sales "record."
Still as the tweet points out, the Switch sales look good from another perspective: The new console launched on March 3, 2017. The Nintendo Wii, by contrast, launched November 19, 2006 — prime time for holiday shopping. The Wii was an instant sales hit, as it became the hottest present of the holiday season in 2006.
To Nintendo's credit, that feat is far harder to pull off when a game console launches in March, miles from the nearest gift-giving holiday. All of which is to say this: It's a very good sign that the Switch is selling this well at launch.
More important, however, is continuing that momentum. The Nintendo Wii became Nintendo's best-selling home game console because demand continued long after its initial sales season. The Switch has that hurdle to clear next.
In addition to strong sales of the console, Wingfield reports, "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" is also breaking records for fastest-selling launch title:
4. Zelda for Nintendo Switch the best selling standalone launch title (i.e. not a bundled game a la Wii Sports) in Nintendo history...— Nick Wingfield (@nickwingfield) March 6, 2017
That makes a lot of sense — many of the folks buying a Switch this past weekend no doubt purchased it with the intent of playing "Breath of the Wild." Not only is it a fantastic game, but it's one that directly appeals to Nintendo's most loyal fans.
Whether the Switch can sustain the momentum throughout 2017 is another question. There are notable games on the horizon, with "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" leading the charge in late April, but the Switch's big new Mario game doesn't arrive until "holiday 2017."
If nothing else, we know one thing: The Switch is off to a far better start than the Nintendo Wii U, the disastrous successor to the Wii console.
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