Nintendo realizes it has a hit on its hands with the Nintendo Switch console. The $299 console has been sold out virtually everywhere since release, and aftermarket consoles are being sold for upwards of $500 on eBay. Today, the company announced it will double its production run for the first year of the console: Nintendo had originally planned to produce 8 million Switches in the first 12 months of the console’s life span; now, it will produce 16 million.
This doesn’t mean that you’re suddenly going to able to get to your local Target or GameStop and grab one — production assembly lines take time to spin up, and it’s unclear how the additional 8 million consoles will be distributed globally. But sales in North America, per Nintendo, have been strong, and the company likely want to make sure it has enough stock to satisfy consumers, as it heads into the vital holiday season. But it does mean that it’s much more likely that consumers will be able to get one within the next six months.
There are two impressive things here about Nintendo’s decision to ramp up production: One, virtually all of this hype around the Switch is based around one game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While other games will slowly be making their way to the system, Breath of the Wild is the only major release currently available for the system, and the only major one that will be on the console until late April, when Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe hits shelves. Granted, Breath of the Wild is a very good game! But still, that’s a system mover.
Two, if Nintendo sells 16 million Switches, it will easily surpass the sales figures for its previous console, the Wii U. Most estimates put Wii U worldwide console sales at around 13 million, after five years on the market. The Switch is set to blow by those number in just one year. Nintendo badly needed the Switch to be a hit; there were rumors that if the Switch failed in the marketplace, Nintendo would go the way of former rival Sega and simply stop producing hardware altogether, instead focusing on creating games (like its ridiculously profitable Fire Emblem Heroes mobile game).
If you’re dying to get your hands on a Switch, your best bet is still using a site like Now in Stock and watching. While there have been reports of rural stores having a few remnant Switches for sale, until Nintendo manages to bring more Switches to market, you’ll likely still be waiting for a while. But, at least, there’s now going to be a lot more Switches hitting store shelves at some point in the near future.
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