For a long while, it was incredibly difficult to find a Nintendo Switch in stock. The game console was flying off store shelves quicker than retailers could stock them, and there are cries of an artificial shortage on Nintendo's part as a ploy to drum up demand. I've been skeptical of that theory from the outset because the of the numbers, the latest of which pegs the Switch as the fastest selling home videogame system in U.S. history.
Since launching 10 months on March 3, 2017, Nintendo has sold more than 4.8 million Switch units in the U.S. alone, according to the company's internal record keeping. No other console has seen higher sales figures in the same time span, not even the original Wii, a once highly popular game system and previous record holder with more than 4 million sales in its first 10 months on the market.
"Fans across the country have experienced the joy of playing their favorite games at home or on the go," said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s President and COO. "Now that many more people have received Nintendo Switch systems for the holidays, we look forward to bringing them fun new surprises in 2018 and beyond."
The Switch is a lot easier to find in stock these days, so it will be interesting to see how sales shake out throughout 2018. An increasingly strong lineup of games could keep the momentum going. One of our few complaints with the Switch when we reviewed it was a weak games catalog at the outset—beyond The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, most of what was available for the Switch was not all that intriguing.
Fast forward to now and it is a different story. More than 60 percent of Switch owners have Super Mario Odyssey, and relatively recent addition to the Switch library, and Zelda continues to be popular with more than 55 percent owning it. Over half of all Switch owners have Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, while Splatoon 2 has been able to carve out a 20 percent share among Switch owners.
The current tally comes to more than 300 games by third-party developers on the Switch. Not all of those are AAA titles by any stretch, though they do include some big time names and brands, including FIFA 18 from Electronic Arts, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle and Just Dance from Ubisoft, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Doom from Bethesda, L.A. Noire from Rockstar Games, NBA 2K18 from 2K Games, and the list goes on.
I suspect the continued release of high profile games will continue driving Switch sales throughout the year. However, Nintendo will need to be careful not to let its foot off the gas pedal. Going forward, the company plans to publish more of its own titles, including Kirby Star Allies, Bayonetta 1 and 2, and an unnamed game starring Yoshi. Those should help, and so should more third-party games. As long as upcoming game releases do not become stale, the Switch will be in good shape.