The Nintendo Switch has been on the market for a week now, and the results of its launch have been pouring in. In region after region, we’re seeing reports of high sales figures all around. Despite the system’s strong start, there’s still a very vocal crowd of folks who insist that the system is a mistake and will fail. Once you ignore all the unnecessary whining, it’s easy to see that Nintendo could have its next hit on its hands.
Solid numbers from the Switch’s launch aren’t complete, but for the data that has been released, it definitely shows that the system is doing well so far. Even in cases where we don’t have any sales data yet, the early reports are still good for Nintendo. Reports from Japan, the UK, Spain, France, Australia/NZ, and the US have all chimed in positively on the Switch’s launch performance. In the case of Spain and France, the Switch has had the best launch of any system to date. The other regions are reporting higher numbers than what has been seen before with any previous Nintendo hardware, including the juggernaut that was the original Wii. With news like this, how could there be any negativity?
The gaming community has been giving the Big N a hard time for quite a while now, so it really isn’t surprising to see all the Negative Nancies and Debbie Downers out there hunting for any bit of ‘ammunition’ they can get their hands on. In this case, it’s the reports of various defective Switch units. Naysayers have taken these reports as ‘proof’ that the Switch is ‘a failure in the making’ and that Nintendo has made yet another huge mistake.
What I don’t get about these complaints is that this can be said about literally every other system. No console has ever had a ‘perfect launch’, so it’s ultimately quite silly to try and take a few defective units as an indication that a system is doomed. While we don’t have an exact failure rate for the Switch, Nintendo has stated its about the same level as past systems. Even the mighty PS4 had its fair share of defective units at launch; it’s just an unavoidable evil that comes with the launch of every new system (and new hardware in general). But, like I’ve discussed before in a past article, most systems tend to get better with time.
It really doesn’t make sense to judge a system by its growing pains. Every console has some kinks to work out early on, and the Switch is no different. Did the Xbox 360 fail because of the large number of launch units that ended up suffering from the Red Ring of Death? Not at all. It’s one of the best-selling game systems to date. As for the Switch, things seem to be pointing in a similar direction.
As mentioned already, the launch reports that have been coming in all point to the Switch potentially being a big success. Considering how much the odds were and are still against it, this result has been nothing short of impressive. For starters, you need to take into account that there really was no momentum coming off of the Wii U. On top of that, there’s the very real competition of the PS4 and Xbox One. Finally, the Switch has launched in March, which means early Switch sales haven’t been boosted by the holiday shopping season.
The lack of momentum from the Wii U was expected to make buyers a bit skeptical about purchasing a new Nintendo ‘home’ system. With the PS4 Slim and Xbox One S both being cheaper and having a much larger game library, some expected that the Switch wouldn’t be seen as having a lot of value. As for the launch date, the majority of past systems have came out during the holiday season. The Switch has released in March: well after last year’s holiday season has ended, and well before this year’s holiday season begins. Despite all of these challenges, the Switch has managed to sell better than the Wii U did at launch, and has even managed to surpass the mighty PS4 in regions like Spain and France.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it’s now an undeniable guarantee that the Switch is going to be the next big thing like the PS2 and Wii were, but its strong performance so far, despite all the challenges, seems to point in that direction. Nintendo has picked a very reasonable price of $300USD and has shown a strong selection of strategically placed future titles that will be coming out within the course of the year. The Switch may not be the most powerful system or offer the most multimedia options, but it does have the unique ability to play true console-quality games anywhere. People are obviously loving its functionality with the existing games, so as more big titles are released, the enjoyment factor will only continue to increase.
Indeed, the haters may want to turn a blind eye to the launch reports, or try and spin it, but there’s no going around the fact that the Switch has hit the ground running. There are issues that need to be addressed like the left Joy-Con disconnecting and the Dock creating scratches, but these are all minor gripes that can (and will) be fixed in time. The lack of video streaming services and an Internet browser really aren’t very big deals; if you’re typing a comment about why you want the Switch to have a browser, then you already have what you asked for. In its current state, the Switch is a well designed system that happens to be the world’s first home console/handheld hybrid. This new concept has obviously captured the attention of the masses, and that level will continue to rise as more big titles are added to the Switch’s library. Whether you’re one of the early adopters, or are patiently waiting to acquire enough funds to make the purchase, the Switch seems to have a genuinely bright future ahead of it.