After a difficult few years in the home console business, Nintendo is reporting early success with its newest hardware.
The new Nintendo Switch console, which launched Friday, experienced the best 48-hour U.S. sales numbers in Nintendo history, says Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Redmond-based in Nintendo of America, in a new series of media interviews.
Although Fils-Aime declined to cite specific numbers, he told the Seattle Times that Nintendo plans to ship 2 million consoles worldwide this month. One reason for the console’s success is its most anticipated launch title, “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”
New York Times journalist Nick Wingfield tweeted that Fils-Aime told him Breath of the Wild was the best selling launch title in Nintendo history, beating out Super Mario for the Nintendo 64.
4. Zelda for Nintendo Switch the best selling standalone launch title (i.e. not a bundled game a la Wii Sports) in Nintendo history…
— Nick Wingfield (@nickwingfield) March 6, 2017
The Switch is the successor to the Wii U, which struggled to gain traction. The Switch’s selling point is its flexibility: it is essentially a tablet that can be docked at a TV for gaming at home but also converts to a mobile gamepad so players can take their games on the go.
In his interview with the Seattle Times, Fils-Aime said the Switch was designed to target a specific consumer need.
“Nintendo believes in things that are unique for the marketplace,” he said. “What we saw was an unmet need of consumers to take their home console experience with them wherever they go — to have that big-screen TV experience when they’re sitting in their living room, but to be completely immersed in the same game when they’re out on the go. It was that key consumer insight.”
That insight is likely another reason the Switch has seen such success so far.
Fils-Aime also pointed to other notable differences between the Switch and its predecessor, the Wii U. Unlike the Wii U, the Switch is compatible with Unity and Unreal, two of the biggest game development platforms in the world. That means the console will be able to host a much larger number of third party games, both independent games and big names like the FIFA soccer franchise.
Although the Switch doesn’t yet support third party media apps, like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, Fils-Aime said those additions are in the works.