The launch of the Nintendo Switch was perhaps not quite as hyped as the release of a new Harry Potter film or a Star Wars premiere, but sales of the eagerly-anticipated new console were still tipped to smash records on both sides of the Atlantic when it came out last Friday. So, how successful was the launch and is the Nintendo Switch everything that gamers could wish for?
How did the launch go?
The Nintendo Switch was launched on Friday and appears to have enjoyed tremendous success in the Americas, becoming the company’s fastest-selling new console. While the stats have not been officially confirmed, Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo of America, has said that 48-hour sales from Friday-Saturday surpassed the launch figures of the Wii back in 2006.
The UK launch has also gone better than the Wii, with reports suggesting that around 80,000 units were sold on the opening weekend. However, it was not quite a record-breaker in Britain, falling short of the 250,000 PS4s sold on its debut, and even lagging behind the debuts of the Xbox One (150,000) and Nintendo 3DS (113,000).
The successful launch was undoubtedly spurred on by the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which is Metacritic’s highest-rated video game in nine years and offers supreme design and playability. However, while fans will have loved playing Zelda, other issues have become evident.
What’s the problem?
The main gripe with the Nintendo Switch has to be that players cannot transfer game data off their console, unlike with the Wii U. This seems like a backward step, as the inability to move data around means that you are reliant on the Nintendo Switch never breaking down. Imagine the frustration of spending day after day on Zelda and then either losing, breaking or wanting to trade your game record over to another system. All those hours would be lost for good.
Nintendo has also stated that if the internal storage of the system fills up, players will need to delete some content to make space as so much of the internal room is taken up by the operating system. The early indications from Nintendo are that they may look to bring in a process in the future to allow gamers to save data from one system to another.
Will it be a long-term success?
Despite some teething problems and the issue with transferring data, the Nintendo Switch has been widely acclaimed and seems like it will quickly become a firm favourite with gamers. There is so much going for the new console that it doesn’t even matter if the Switch’s graphics suck.
As sales of the 3DS faded badly after the launch weekend, initial success at the launch is no guarantee of long-term results, so Nintendo will not be getting too carried away and will want to see what happens for the rest of 2017. But with marquee games like Zelda and a console which appeals to a much broader market than some competitors, Nintendo looks to have crafted another winner.