The Nintendo Switch’s strong start continues. Last week, the gaming giant announced that its new console sold 2.74 million units from its March 3 release date to March 31, the end of Nintendo’s latest quarter. As this chart from Statista shows, that puts the Switch right up there with Nintendo’s last two consoles, the Wii and Wii U, after their respective first quarters. (This is accounting for the discrepancies in availability between the three.)
To be clear: This is good news for Nintendo. The company originally predicted it would sell 2 million Switch units in its first month — which helps explain why it’s used planes to ship enough to meet demand — and it’s doing it all well outside of the holiday season, when the Wii and Wii U got their starts.
Nintendo is also pulling off this sales feat with just two big games out for the Switch: a stellar new “Zelda” title, and a recently-released “Mario Kart” update. But that’s been enough for a Nintendo fan base that increasingly appears to be very pent up: “Breath of the Wild” has outsold the console on its own, and Nintendo said on Monday that almost half of all US Switch owners bought “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” on launch day alone. The huge demand for anything Nintendo is part of why the Switch’s console sales are on par with the Wii and Wii U even as its software sales are about half as high.
Still, the fact that early Switch sales are on par with the Wii and Wii U is worth remembering. The former was the biggest success in the company’s history; the latter was an abject failure. The wider context of the tech industry played a role in each of those results, but a console’s early days are always when its biggest fans are most likely to buy it. Nintendo clearly has more of those rabid fans than most companies, but how well it can make the Switch appeal to everyone beyond that fan base will determine how well it sells in the long-term.
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