Nintendo is arguably the most famous video game company in the world, but their business hasn’t exactly been booming in recent years. Between the catastrophic failure of the Wii U, the disappointing decline of the handheld market, and Nintendo’s struggles to adapt to the modern age, market analysts were practically falling over themselves to be the first one to declare Nintendo to finally be dead.
Ever since the Nintendo Switch was released almost a year ago, though, the Nintendo narrative has changed drastically.
It’s becoming more and more difficult to list all of the Nintendo Switch’s critical and commercial successes. Instead, let’s just focus on the Nintendo Switch’s most recent – and arguably most incredible – accolade.
Last week, Nintendo confirmed that the Nintendo Switch is the fastest selling video game console of all-time. Nintendo has sold over 10 million Nintendo Switches in just 10 months. Nintendo has even stated that they expect to sell 17 million Switches by April 2018. Naturally, such figures have people wondering if the Nintendo Switch could eventually become the best-selling video game console ever.
Those who say “no” are honestly hard to argue against. The crux of their argument isn’t based on the flaws or features of the Nintendo Switch, but rather the historical context of the current best-selling console of all-time, the PlayStation 2. It’s believed that over 155 million PlayStation 2s have been sold to date. While that console’s success can be attributed to its stellar selection of games – as well as the popularity of the original PlayStation – it has just as much to do with the PlayStation 2’s DVD player functionality. At a time when DVD became the definitive medium for home entertainment, the PlayStation 2 was the most appealing DVD player on the market.
The Switch doesn’t have such an obvious advantage. It doesn’t serve as an entertainment center centerpiece. Actually, it barely offers any multimedia functionality at all.
However, that’s also what makes the Switch such an interesting console for modern times. It’s a device that gamers of all ages and experience levels can pick up and immediately understand. It’s remarkably free of software bloat, and it emphasizes social gaming in a way that no other console possibly can. It’s a genuinely exciting device to use at a time when the newest and biggest devices are sold based largely on the fact that they are technically better than what came before. You may think that the Switch’s handheld/home unit versatility is a gimmick, but the fact that so many Switch owners are already holding off on buying games until they’re available on the Switch suggests it is something much more substantial.
Put simply, the Nintendo Switch is a console that really has no direct competition in terms of what it offers.
Technically, the Switch’s biggest competition is the PlayStation 4, but the qualities that made that system so successful seemingly indicate that the Switch might just surpass even its impressive sales figures. Remember that the PlayStation 4’s early sales success was based largely on its affordable price and an impressive roster of games. The Switch’s price is even more appealing and its first-year software lineup may be the best ever.
It will take an extraordinary effort from Nintendo and its partners to match the series of events that led to the PlayStation 2 becoming the best-selling console ever. Then again, the Switch’s story thus far has been nothing but a special series of events.