To call the Nintendo Switch a make or break console for the Japanese gaming giant is a bit of a stretch, but there’s no question that Nintendo has a whole lot riding on the success of its new video game console. Last Friday, the company began a long journey toward regaining gamers’ trust after the disaster that was the Wii U. After the original Wii became a cultural phenomenon, Nintendo looked to recapture the magic with the console’s successor in 2012. Despite tremendous buzz and a big head start on next-generation consoles from the competition, the Wii U fizzled thanks to its gimmicky touchscreen controller and a crippling lack of games.
In 2017, Nintendo looks to turn things around. And if early sales estimates are any indication, the company is off to a very good start.
According to Japan-based video game industry monitor Famitsu, the Nintendo Switch had a stellar opening weekend in its local market of Japan. The firm on Tuesday released its sales estimates for the Nintendo Switch’s first three days of availability, and the numbers are impressive by any measure.
According to Famitsu, 330,637 Nintendo Switch consoles were sold in Japan during Nintendo’s opening weekend of sales. As was the case in the US market, the Nintendo Switch was released in Japan this past Friday, March 3rd. Famitsu’s numbers cover preorder deliveries and consoles sold in stores on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but they do not include additional sales on Monday or Tuesday.
Alongside all those Nintendo Switch consoles, the firm estimates opening-weekend sales of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild reached 190,060 physical copies in Japan alone. That number does not include digital sales.
Now, how do those figures compare to the launches of the Wii and Wii U? During its premiere weekend ahead of the holidays in 2012, the Wii U sold an estimated 308,570 units in the Japanese market. Gamers and industry watchers will recall that there was a tremendous amount of buzz at the time the Wii U was released following the success of the Wii, and there were also no new consoles from Sony or Microsoft to compete with.
Reaching back to December 2006, the original Wii sold an estimated 371,936 units in Japan during its first weekend of availability. The Switch couldn’t match that impressive performance, but there’s an important consideration when comparing the Switch’s launch-weekend sales with the Wii and Wii U. Both of Nintendo’s previous-generation consoles were released ahead of the holidays during the busiest shopping season of the year. The Switch, meanwhile, had nothing but hype and pent-up demand for a new Nintendo console to drive sales.