The Nintendo Switch is Nintendo’s fastest-selling console ever

Nintendo’s new console is barely three days old, but it’s already off to a strong start in terms of sales: It’s broken Nintendo’s previous record for its fastest-selling console.

That’s an impressive launch, even if you take Nintendo’s selective sales metric with the grain of salt it deserves.

Super MarioNintendo

The hybrid game system, that acts as a home game console and a portable game console, sold even better in North America in its first two days than the Nintendo Wii — the highest-selling home game console Nintendo’s ever made, with more than 100 million units sold over its lifetime.

That’s according to Nintendo America president Reggie Fils-Aime, as reported by The New York Times’ Nick Wingfield on Twitter:

Tweet Embed:https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/8388725108714332162. Fri-Sat sales for Nintendo Switch exceeded first 2-day sales in Americas for any system in Nintendo history. Next biggest was Wii.

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Wingfield is quoting from an interview he conducted with Fils-Aime, which has yet to be published.  

There’s no actual numbers provided, so it’s tough to make a direct comparison to the Wii.

And there’s clearly some metrics cherry picking at play here, since Nintendo didn’t publicly measure the Wii’s success based on the first two days of sales when it launched back in 2006. All we know is that the Wii sold 600,000 units during its first eight days eight days on the market.

So is the proper yardstick for measuring the fastest console sales record a two period? an eight day period? or some other arbitrary period of time? Since Nintendo isn’t releasing numbers (not yet at least), the company has a lot of discretion in what it declares to be a sales “record.”

Still as the tweet points out, the Switch sales look good from another perspective: The new console launched on March 3, 2017. The Nintendo Wii, by contrast, launched on November 19, 2006 — prime time for holiday shopping. The Wii was an instant sales hit because it was the hottest present of the holiday season in 2006. 

To Nintendo’s credit, that feat is far harder to pull off when a game console launches in March, miles away from the nearest gift-giving holiday. All of which is to say this: It’s a very good sign that the Switch is selling this well at launch.

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More important, however, is continuing that momentum. The Nintendo Wii became Nintendo’s best-selling home game console because demand continued long after its initial sales season — the Switch has that hurdle to clear next.

In addition to strong sales of the console itself, Wingfield reports that “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is also breaking records, for fastest-selling launch title:

Tweet Embed:https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/8388733693783572484. Zelda for Nintendo Switch the best selling standalone launch title (i.e. not a bundled game a la Wii Sports) in Nintendo history…

That makes a lot of sense — many of the folks buying a Switch this past weekend no doubt purchased it with the intent of playing “Breath of the Wild.” Not only is it a fantastic game, but it’s one that directly appeals to Nintendo’s loyalest fans.

Whether the Switch can sustain the momentum throughout 2017 is another question. There are notable games on the horizon, with “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” leading the charge in late April, but the Switch’s big new Super Mario game doesn’t arrive until “holiday 2017.”

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If nothing else, we know one thing: The Switch is off to a far better start than the Nintendo Wii U, the disastrous successor to the Wii console, and that’s a good thing no matter which way you cut it.

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