Nintendo Switch Sales are Off to a Roaring Start
HONG KONG (CNNMoney) — Nintendo fans can’t get enough of the Switch. Literally.
The company’s latest console just became the fastest selling video game system in the U.S. in the company’s history. Demand is so high that Nintendo says it can’t ship enough devices to meet it.
The console sold more than 906,000 units in the U.S. last month, the Japanese company said, citing data from industry tracker NPD Group.
Nintendo needed a hit after its previous console, the Wii U, flopped. But it’s still too early to tell whether the Switch will be a blockbuster on the scale of the original Wii, which sold more than 100 million units.
The initial success of the Switch — which works as both a TV-linked console and a portable device — is directly tied to Nintendo’s classic video game franchise “The Legend of Zelda,” according to analysts.
Sales of “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” on the Switch topped 925,000, actually outstripping sales for the new console. Nintendo said that was because some users bought both a limited edition of the game and another version.
The Zelda franchise is “a system seller,” a game so appealing that users will buy the hardware in order to play it, said Serkan Toto, a Tokyo-based game industry analyst.
Tying the Zelda release to the Switch launch was an unusual but ultimately lucrative move.
“The timing was very, very clever to help the Switch fly off the shelves,” Toto said.
Nintendo will continue with that strategy, slowly releasing blockbuster games over the next few months. That will culminate in the launch of the first Mario game for the Switch — “Super Mario Odyssey” — during the holiday shopping season.
Beyond the U.S., the Switch and the new Zelda game are hits worldwide. The console is also sold out in parts of Europe and Japan.
Nintendo declined to comment on sales outside of the U.S., saying in a statement that it “is working to make sure everyone who wants a system is able to buy one, and more systems are continually being shipped.”
The bumper sales buoyed investors’ confidence. Shares in Nintendo rose as much as 4% in Tokyo on Friday before closing with a 2% gain.