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article imageNintendo Switch to beat Wii U's lifetime sales in its first year

By James Walker     Apr 28, 2017 in Technology
The Nintendo Switch is continuing to experience unprecedented worldwide demand. During its fiscal earnings call, Nintendo revealed the new console could outsell the lifetime sales of its predecessor, the Wii U, within its first year of availability.
Nintendo revealed 2.74 million Switch consoles have now been shipped worldwide since its launch in March. As CNBC reports, the figure is already around 20% of the lifetime sales of the Wii U. The Switch is off to a flying start and global sales are remaining strong. In one month, more units have been bought than the Wii U saw in its first year.
The news that the Switch could outsell its predecessor in under 12 months of being on sale indicates both the success of the new product and the failure of the old. The Wii U proved unable to become the must-have product that the original Wii did. Instead, it languished as an overlooked system that couldn't compete with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 it was often pitched against.
With Nintendo's industry presence fading, it invested all it has learnt from previous console launches into the Switch. Desperate to make an impact on the gaming market and avoid seeing the Switch go the same way as the Wii U, the company focused on a unique modular design that lets the console pivot between portable and TV gaming.
The idea has evidently paid off. The overwhelmingly positive response given to the Switch indicates Nintendo has succeeded in developing another new approach to gaming. The device also taps into the past though, reviving many of Nintendo's best-loved game franchises.
One of the Switch's launch titles has stood out amongst the rest, becoming a global hit with more sales than the console itself. CNBC reports 2.76 million copies of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild have been shipped worldwide, 20,000 more than the hardware used to play the game. It's thought enthusiasts buying a collector's edition to keep and a regular copy to play are responsible for the additional sales.
With the Switch already proving to be Nintendo's most relevant launch in years, the company can look forward to posting healthier financial results throughout the rest of 2017. The Switch is still hard to find in many countries worldwide as the console is facing ongoing supply issues.
Hardware production is now being ramped up to get stock back into stores. Manufacturing output has reportedly been doubled to capitalise on the continuing strong demand. Nintendo itself had underestimated the demand for the new console.
Nintendo will need to resolve the supply problems before the holiday sales surge at the end of the fall. The Switch will be rivalling Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro and Microsoft's soon-to-be-unveiled Project Scorpio, aiming at the important family audience.
This is a market Nintendo last gained wide appeal with back in the days of the original Wii. By current metrics, it looks like Nintendo will have another hit on its hands this year: initial Switch sales after the console launched were reportedly four times higher than during the Wii's first few days.
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