The Nintendo Switch is off to a hot start, but it's got a long way to go

Nintendo’s latest gaming machine seems to be off to a good start. According to Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime — as told to The New York Times — the new Nintendo Switch had a better first two days of sales in North America than any Nintendo console before it.

Meanwhile, gaming mag Famitsu reports that the Switch has had an equally solid, albeit not record-breaking, start in Japan, while says the machine has had a decent debut in the UK as well. Given that the Switch is launching in March, and given that it has only one real must-buy game to start, these are all positive signs.

But as this chart from Statista shows, the Switch still has a long way to go if it wants to match Nintendo’s past successes. The chasm between the Wii’s success and the Wii U’s failure is well-known by now. Less remembered is that the two consoles sold nearly as well in their first quarters on the market: the Wii selling 3.19 million units, the Wii U selling 3.06 million.

Every device has its own context, but a console’s early days are always when its most rabid fans are most likely to gobble it up. The Switch’s early returns may be good news for the short-term, but over time, Nintendo will still need to prove it can maintain a steady stream of worthwhile games. Whether or not it does could have a lasting effect on the gaming giant.

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