Last Updated on December 26, 2019 by Danielle
Nintendo’s Switch outperforms Wii U lifetime sales in just 10 months.
The Nintendo Switch is a bonafide success becoming the fastest-selling console in U.S. history. Nintendo’s latest achievement is that the Switch has now sold 14.86 M units worldwide, outperforming the lifetime sales of the Nintendo Wii U, which had lifetime sales of 13.5 M units over its span of four years on the market. Surprisingly, it has taken the Switch only 10 months to eclipse the lifetime sales of the Wii U, which was the worst-selling console for Nintendo.
The Nintendo Switch launched back in March 2017 and launched with the critically and universally acclaimed The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which helped drive the Switch’s initial success. Demand was so high for the Switch that Nintendo faced shortages during most of the year. It was very difficult to get your hands on one shortly after launch. Nintendo quickly announced plans to ramp up production for the all-important holiday season. The Switch ended the year on a high note, dominating video game hardware sales in the month of December 2017.
In the fourth quarter, Nintendo managed to sell 7.23 M units, and for the entire 10-month period from March to December 2017, Nintendo hit sales of 14.86 M units. According to Tatsumi Kimishima, Nintendo President, he stated “Switch sales during the holiday season were stronger than expected in Japan, the United States, and Europe.” Nintendo has ramped up its first-year estimates to 20 million Switches for the first full year, ending in March 2018. And Nintendo announced plans for another 20 million Switch sales for the second full year, from March 2018 and ending in March 2019. The good news is that more and more developers are now jumping onto the Switch bandwagon to develop titles for the hit hybrid console.
Nintendo’s first year offering was one of the strongest of all-time – delivering Mario and Zelda in the first year alone. In addition, to Mario and Zelda, strong hits like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, along with third-party and indie titles helped Nintendo drive these stellar results. The innovative nature of the Switch hardware also played a pivotal role because it breaks free from traditional barriers and allows you to play your favorite Nintendo games anywhere – at home or on the go.
For Nintendo, the Switch has represented a dramatic turnaround of fortunes given the commercial failure of the Wii U. Now it will be interesting to see whether the Switch can maintain its strong momentum and challenge the smashing success of the original Wii, which sold over 100 M units over its lifetime. If Nintendo is to realistically challenge those stellar results, it will need to continually deliver a solid lineup of games throughout its lifetime with both first and third-party support along with indie-developers.
For 2018, gamers can expect Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Yoshi, Kirby, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Bayonetta 2, Bayonetta, Dark Souls: Remastered, Mega Man 11, Payday 2, and Mario Tennis Aces to name a few. A new Metroid Prime 4 and Pikmin game are also in development. Indie games will also be key to the Switch’s success in the coming years.
Nintendo has a strong library of IPs in its portfolio that could potentially come to Switch, including Super Smash Brothers, Super Mario Maker, Pokémon, Luigi’s Mansion, 1080 Snowboarding, Waverace, Punch-Out!!, F-Zero, Excitebike, Super Paper Mario, Kid Icarus, Mario Golf, Mario Party, Pilotwings, Wario Ware, Brain Age, and more. We know a ton of gamers who would love to see new iterations of these games.
In addition to existing IPs, developing innovative new intellectual properties are also key to Nintendo’s continued success. Nintendo already announced an innovative new product called Nintendo Labo to help draw new audiences to Switch. Gamers are dying for some new IPs from Nintendo.
Many gamers would love to see blockbuster third-party games like Red Dead Redemption II, GTA V, Overwatch, Destiny 2, Burnout, Goldeneye, Ninja Gaiden, Splinter Cell, Tomb Raider, Witcher, Madden, Castlevania, Contra, Eternal Darkness, Bionic Commando and more make their way to the Switch to drive sales into the stratosphere. Further, Nintendo needs stronger versions of EA Sports’ lineup that are worthy of the brand name. We don’t need striped down versions – they need to do the respective franchise justice on Switch. Sports games need to be a lot stronger on the Switch.
Lastly, Nintendo needs to deliver the Virtual Console for Switch, allowing gamers to play games across its extensive library spanning from the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, and Gamecube to the Wii and Wii U. If Nintendo can deliver a Netflix-like service for classic games, that would help it counter Sony and Microsoft’s offerings, and it would be a dream come true for gamers. There is nobody in the world with the kind of IP Nintendo possesses, so that is a huge opportunity for Nintendo. Make it happen, Nintendo, please!