Following a solid Christmas period bouyed by big releases like Super Mario Odyssey and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Nintendo has reported that the Switch has shifted 14.86 million units worldwide from its release in March up to the end of December.
Not only is this an impressive figure in its own right, it’s also an astonishing improvement over the Wii U, which only sold 13.5 million units in five years. That the Switch has managed to outstrip this figure so quickly speaks volumes to how Nintendo has managed to reverse its fortunes.
Arguably the main factor in this dramatic turnaround is that Nintendo has been far more effective in its marketing
What’s driven this dramatic turnaround? Arguably the main factor is that Nintendo has been far more effective in its marketing this time. Where the Wii U’s launch was muddled and failed to fully explain the console’s main features (I still find myself explaining that no, it’s not just a different Wii controller), the Switch’s mission statement has been clear from the off: a games console you can play both on the telly and on the go, and with the return of the motion control features which made the Wii such a hit in the casual market.
On top of that, the Switch’s games catalogue in its first year is much more impressive than the Wii U’s. Nintendo has carefully packed its release calendar with its biggest system sellers to avoid the early drought the Wii U suffered. Having the staple Zelda, Mario Kart and 3D Mario platformer launch so early in the console’s life, alongside popular new IPs like Splatoon 2 and ARMS, has definitely helped sway gamers to the Switch’s cause.
The Swtich has already recieved ports of high profile titles like Doom, L.A Noire and Skyrim, with Wolfenstein 2, Payday 2 and Dark Souls Remastered already in the pipeline
Finally, the Switch’s third party support is looking a lot more promising than the Wii U’s. It’s already received ports of high-profile titles like Doom, L.A Noire and Skyrim, with Wolfenstein 2, Payday 2 and Dark Souls Remastered also in the pipeline. Like the Wii U, the Switch shares the problem of being underpowered compared to its competitors. But unlike the U’s fairly uninspiring touchscreen options, the Switch has a a more attractive USP to counter its lack of power with - being able to play these AAA titles on the go.
All in all, the Switch’s future is looking promising. Here’s hoping Nintendo manages to keep up this early momentum through 2018.