The Nintendo Switch Lite has been critically reviewed as one of the best handheld gaming experiences ever, but sales haven't reflected that, as Japanese numbers indicate Nintendo's new device is falling well-short of expectations and the company's share prices have taken a hit to reflect that. The Nintendo Switch Lite is seen by many as a complement to the Nintendo Switch base model, a system that is meant to appeal to different demographics or those who have wanted a second Switch.
In practice, the device has been reviewed glowingly, with many suggesting it is the best current generation handheld experience available - though it's chief competition would either be the Nintendo 3DS, which the company has pretty well abandoned at this point, or the PlayStation Vita, which actually has been abandoned. Still, with so many strong reviews and a few features that the Switch base model actually doesn't have, many believe the Switch Lite would exceed expectation - with only the recent concerns over the potential existence of the dreaded Switch Joy-Con drift problem reoccurring in these new models as a potential detractor for its sales.
According to a Famitsu survey, just shy of 180,000 Nintendo Switch Lite consoles have been sold in Japan - decent figures for a console that isn't really "new", but far from the 300,000 units that were forecasted for the system by industry analysts Citi. As a result, Nintendo shares have dropped around 3.5%, with the company's stock on track for the worst one-day performance its had this year. A lot of the current stock situation has to do with the sales forecasts for the device which may have been unrealistic, something out of Nintendo's control - and it's still unclear exactly what Nintendo expected from the Switch Lite's early sales, too.
With that said, it's not a concerning trend just yet. 180,000 units is still a solid three-day figure and it doesn't take into account how the Nintendo Switch Lite is selling in other regions, too. Regardless of its early sales, the true test for the Nintendo Switch Lite will come this holiday season, with many expecting the system to sell extremely well thanks to its discounted price and increased mobility when compared to a base Switch model. If the figures for the Nintendo Switch Lite still fail to meet expectation during the holiday season, then it will be an actual problem for Nintendo, which could have created another product that's too niche.
The expectation for the Switch Lite is still that it will sell well, however. It's meant to appeal broadly to a casual consumer base, and that demographic isn't likely to run out and buy it immediately, as many of them will wait until the 2019 holiday season to make their major purchases for the end of the year. Still, any time Nintendo appears to have faltered - a rarity in this year's sales performances, with the Switch out-selling both its competitors - it's worth taking note. For now, though, it's just a small observation, and until the holiday season, it won't amount to much worry for Nintendo.