The most recent fiscal reports for Nintendo are officially out and they paint an impressive picture to say the very least. The classic Japanese video gaming company’s latest console, the mobile-hybrid Nintendo Switch, has reached around 4.7 million units in sales since its March 2017 release. Nintendo sold almost 3 million units in the first month alone and projects around 10 million sales for the first year of the system’s life. The company’s 10 million unit projection is actually below what most industry analysts expect, that being a year end figure of about 13 million units.
The Switch, which is Nintendo’s seventh major home console, is expected to overtake the entire lifetime sales of its preceding console, the Wii U, before the year ends. The Wii U, which was a commercial failure for Nintendo, only sold around 13.5 million units overall. Many consumers and industry analysts blame this failure on poor marketing and a clunky execution of the console’s core ideas and mechanics. Though many critics agree that there are quite a few high-quality releases on the system, even that was not enough to keep the Wii U afloat.
Thanks to the Switch’s strong start in the market the company has seen a large spike in revenue since launch. While Nintendo suffered losses in Quarter 1 a year ago, this year they have more than doubled their revenue in that quarter.
So what changed from the Wii U’s lost profits to the Switch’s major early successes? From better console sales to stronger game sales overall already a lot of it has to do with Nintendo’s new approach.
First of all their marketing since the Wii U has greatly improved. Most Switch commercials focus on the games first, but also very clearly and concisely showcase how the console is used and what it is capable of. No more name confusion between the Wii and the Wii U, and no more muddled messages about a console with a “kind of” tablet controller. It also lies in the execution of the technology itself. The Switch feels clean, compact, and versatile. Its design evokes a strange mixture of Nintendo’s trademark creativity and the modern tech market’s sleeker aesthetic. The amount of features and design ideas packed into this one device is by no means something to ignore.
One major factor with this vast improvement lies with the games themselves. Nintendo not only launched the Switch with the critically acclaimed “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” but continued to release high quality, first party games with small gaps between each release, but close enough to feel consistent. From reimagined Wii U successes like “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” to their brand new IP “Arms,” the Big N has kept the Switch steadily supplied with a library of games that feel varied and interesting. Each major Switch game has reviewed positively and sold extremely well, allowing their software and hardware to compliment one another.
With a turnaround in the market as effective and interesting as this, it only proves that it is never a good idea to underestimate this gaming giant.