Nintendo hasn’t bothered to compete in the gaming spec race with Sony and Microsoft, preferring instead to focus on innovative hardware experiences. Sometimes that’s worked wonders, as with the original Wii. At other times it has been a bit of a flop, like with the Wii U. The current-gen Nintendo Switch (See on Amazon) is shaping up to be a big hit for the company. As part of its quarterly report, Nintendo said the Switch has moved 14.86 million units as of the end of 2017. That’s already more than the Wii U in its entire life, which is even faster than expected.
The Nintendo Switch was unveiled in late 2016, and it launched in March of 2017. The Switch garnered attention for its highly portable design. The entire console fits in a compact tablet form factor, but you can plug it into a dock for TV gaming. It’s powered by the Tegra X1 ARM SoC, the same chip that’s powering devices like the Nvidia Shield Android TV and Google Pixel C tablet. It doesn’t have the same raw power as an Xbox One or PS4, but those aren’t very portable, even when you mod them into suitcases.
In just the fourth quarter of 2017, Nintendo sold 7.23 million Switch consoles. The Switch hasn’t even been available for a year — it’s only ten months old and has almost 15 million in sales. The Wii U, by comparison, was released in 2012 and discontinued last year. During that time, it sold a grand total of 13.56 million units. The Switch is on track to top consoles like the GameCube (21.74 million) and Nintendo 64 (32.93 million) in the next year.
On the software side, Nintendo says Super Mario Odyssey is the top-selling title with 9.07 million units. Mario Kart Deluxe is next with 7.33 million, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is number three with 6.7 million units sold. Total game sales for the Switch amount to 52.57 million, which is already more than half of all sales on the Wii U during its five-year run.
The next few months will bring some big things to the Switch that could continue this momentum. In March, the much-anticipated Kirby Star Allies will launch on Switch, and one month later the Labo cardboard accessory kit goes on sale. Sony and Microsoft are pushing things like VR and 4K, but Nintendo wants to sell you a stack of cardboard that can be assembled into a robot. I think the cardboard is going to sell surprisingly well, even at nearly $ 100.