After a wait that seemed like an eternity for anxious Nintendo fans, the Japanese video game giant finally released its brand new Nintendo Switch video game console one week ago today. Following major missteps made with the previous-generation Wii U console, Nintendo seems to have made amends with its core fanbase while also piquing the interest of a new breed of gamers who otherwise would only be using their smartphones to play video games. The Switch isn’t quite shaping up to be the phenomenon that the original Wii was, but it still succeeds in rethinking console gaming in a fun and unique way. And it looks like the Switch has already struck a chord with consumers, because the console has been flying off the shelves so far.
Earlier this week, we shared opening-weekend sales estimates from Nintendo’s home country of Japan, where industry watcher Famitsu estimated that local Switch sales during the console’s first three days of availability totaled nearly 331,000 units. That performance outshined the Wii U, which debuted alongside plenty of hype in 2012, and it was only about 20,000 units shy of the original Wii’s premiere weekend performance.
Now, new global estimates from one industry expert suggest that the Switch is performing just as well internationally as it is in Nintendo’s home country. According to Lewis Ward, who is the director for gaming and VR/AR at market research firm IDC, Nintendo’s new Switch console is flying off store shelves around the world. Despite supply that is nowhere close to meeting demand at this point, Ward believes Nintendo will ship several million Switch units during the console’s first month of availability alone.
“Switch is on track to ship 2 million by the end of March, so that’s a solid start,” the analyst told CNBC. “I expect the Switch to sell much better in its first year than Wii U, but fewer than Wii did in the same period.” Ward added that he believes Nintendo will ship 8 million Switch consoles through its first full year of availability.
The analyst attributes much of the Switch’s early success to its flagship launch title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. “Breath of the Wild is being heralded as one of the best games of the year already,” Ward said. “I suspect that this Zelda launch title is a key reason why first week sales have been strong.” As CNBC noted, Breath of the Wild has managed a rating of 98 and is currently the fourth highest-rated game of all time on Metacritic.