The Nintendo Switch has been on the shelf for the past three years now; officially hitting that number just a few days ago on March 3, 2020. In that timeframe, Nintendo has sold an amazing 52+ million units globally, with sales projected to strongly continue onward. This is, of course, a very steep contrast when compared to the likes of Nintendo’s last system, the Wii U. That only managed to sell a little over 13 million units worldwide in about four years. According to Nintendo veteran Shigeru Miyamoto, timing played a big part in the Switch’s success.
According to Miyamoto in a recent interview with Famitsu, he mentioned that the Switch released at a “good time”, pointing to it being the age of mass adoption with other mobile devices like smartphones. Miyamoto then when on to explain that the Switch differs from something like a smartphone because it’s just a “single console with a single technological architecture to succeed, given the situation.” Miyamoto is referring to the Switch’s extremely game-focused design. While the hybrid is capable of other tasks like watching movies/TV shows, Nintendo clearly designed it with games as the primary focus. To the dismay of many fans, this has even resulted in some extra features like an Internet Browser and social interaction from being included as apps on the system, or as a part of its UI.
Here is Miyamoto’s full statement:
The Switch released with good timing in this age where people are walking around and using devices like smartphones. And yet, they get loaded up with a lot of data. So for this reason, we thought it should be relatively easy for a single console with a single technological architecture to succeed, given the situation. For mobile [gaming], there are many different hardware versions that all have to be accounted for, so you don’t know what else is going to come along with it all.
In another interview, also with Famitsu, Miyamoto claimed that the dev team behind the Switch had the direction of making the system “an item that wouldn’t look weird at the center of the family.” This falls in line with what Nintendo’s mindset has been ever since its time of making board games and playing cards, he also explained.
The numbers don’t lie
The Switch’s sales performance is certainly nothing to scoff at. The aforementioned 52+ million figure has been achieved so quickly that the system’s sales are showing trends similar to that of the PS2 and PS4. The PS2, which recently had its 20-year anniversary, continues to be the best-selling game system of all time. The PS4 recently smashed past the 100 million mark for global sales. With the Switch already more than halfway to 100 million, it has the potential to go down in history as Nintendo’s second home system to achieve that milestone (behind the Wii) and join the DS and Wii to create the ‘Nintendo 100 Million Trio’.