Nintendo is continuing its upward swing in success, as the Nintendo Switch has officially outsold its predecessor, the Wii U. Nintendo dominated the gaming market, in terms of sales, for years with the Nintendo Wii. Yet when the Wii's successor was released, the Wii U, Nintendo struggled. While not in dire straits, the company was far from the successful money-making machine it was in previous years.
With the release of their newest console, the hybrid handled and home gaming platform the Nintendo Switch, all of that has changed. After being released in March 2017, the Nintendo Switch has become the fastest-selling console in video game history. It's been expected for a long time that the Switch would outpace the Wii U in sales. However, the rapid pace at which the Switch overtook the Wii U is truly remarkable.
According to Variety, Nintendo Switch has sold 14.86 million units since its release. That alone is impressive, but it blows the numbers of the Wii U out of the proverbial water. The Wii U only sold 12.5 million units, not in its first year, but in the console's entire lifespan between 2012 and 2017.
This record setting is becoming part of a pattern for the Switch. As mentioned, the console had an amazingly successful first year. It even outpaced the sales for the original Wii, one of the best-selling consoles ever. The 2017 holiday season was particularly favorable to Nintendo, with around 7 million Switches being sold.
Obviously Nintendo should be very happy with the Switch's performance. The company is on much stronger footing now, to say the very least. Still, it should be mentioned that while it's impressive how fast the Switch outsold the Wii U, it wasn't too much of a competition. The Wii U was, in most senses, a failure and a very public embarrassment for Nintendo. The Switch out-selling the Wii U is encouraging but it was also necessary.
A gaming console is nothing without games. It's something Nintendo definitely understood with the Switch as the Switch's launch year saw releases of new titles in the Zelda and Mario series with Breath of the Wild and Super Mario: Odyssey. It's the strong line-up of games that is responsible for the Switch's success just as much as the console's unique format, if not more so.
In 2018, the Switch doesn't have quite as heavy hitters lined up. At least, they haven't announced many huge games just yet. Nintendo typically likes to announce the arrival of big games relatively close to their releases. Nintendo staying quiet about its long-term plans for 2018 isn't surprising. There is still hope for big games.
At E3 in 2017, it was teased that a new Metroid Prime game was coming to the Switch. The exact release date of Metroid Prime 4 is a little foggy. As are similarly huge, but only just announced Switch titles, like a new Fire Emblem game and a mainline Pokemon RPG.
The only games that are really confirmed to be coming to Switch in 2018 are spin-offs like a new Mario Tennis entry and ports of Nintendo Wii U games. The ports might not be totally exciting but it's obviously a good business move by Nintendo. The Wii U had some solidly reviewed and received games, it's just that no one was interested in the console. Since the Switch is far outpacing the Wii U, it only makes sense for Nintendo to re-release Wii U games acting as if they were brand-new. The audience is obviously much bigger this time around. Hopefully that'll be enough for Nintendo Switch to continue to thrive. Only time will really tell.