It’s no secret that the Nintendo Switch has been a massive success. In fact, it’s sold more units in a shorter amount of time than any other console that’s ever come before it. Which begs the question: how did Nintendo win back the market with the Switch?
Without the advantage of a holiday launch, Nintendo has sold over 4.8 million Switches in the United States, and over 14.8 million units globally – surpassing the previous sales record held by the Nintendo Wii and becoming the fastest selling console in U.S. history. While in Japan, Nintendo sold over 3.3 million units in approximately the same amount of time.
It’s an incredible achievement on many fronts, and it proves just how great of a turnaround Nintendo has made after the dreadful Wii U era. In fact, the Switch sold more units in its first year than the Wii U did in its entire lifespan. Not to mention, Nintendo succeeded in selling that many Switches while in the midst of intense competition from the likes of Sony and Microsoft, whose half-step console upgrades gave their platforms a considerable boost in sales.
Nintendo must have hired a marketing team that truly understands how to get people excited about something—because quite literally, that’s precisely what they did. Nintendo’s marketing run for Switch has done a fantastic job conveying the message of what the console is and how it functions. Whereas previous Nintendo commercials simply haven’t.
Additionally, the marketing adds for Switch featured a solid mix of excellent first-party titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, as well as a respectable amount of support from third-party’s with titles like Skyrim and NBA 2k18. It was no doubt an impressive sight to behold, especially for those who avoided the Wii U for its lack of third-party support.There were, of course, objections such as the fact it was just another gimmicky console with motion controls, or that it’s overpriced at $300. That said, Nintendo’s subverted many expectations with exactly everything that the Switch would become quickly become.
Almost everything that was claimed to be a weakness of the console turned out to be a strength. In short, it was essentially the perfect console to launch in 2017. People love the idea of mobile games and people love handheld consoles. Although the 3DS is still very much a console that many people play, Nintendo saw an opportunity to merge those markets with the actual home console market, creating its own brand new market of a machine that plays console level games anywhere, anytime.