Just two months ago hearing that Nintendo’s Switch console sales target for the 2018 Fiscal Year was 20 Million seemed at best very idealistic and at worst just plain crazy. Despite seeing a few first-party titles hitting the platform (Mario Tennis Aces, Super Mario Party, Kirby Star Allies and the like) plus an influx of third-party support, very few games were as big ‘console movers’ as Breath of the Wild and Odyssey had been the year prior.
Fast-forward to today though, and not only do we get the news that Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa has confirmed that home-console software sales on the Switch are the fastest that Nintendo has experienced in their long and successful history, but we have The Wall Street Journal’s Takashi Mochizuki saying that analysts are beginning to suggest that Nintendo’s 20 Million goal may actually come to fruition.
So why the big shift? Well, it seems it can largely be attributed to two titles (or three if you want to be pedantic) that launched in November and December 2018 respectively. Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate have had a staggering effect on sales. In an interview with Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (via Dr Serkan Toto (Kantan Games Inc.) Furukawa explained that not only had sales picked up mid-November (Pokémon launch) but that global SSMU sales exceeded 5 million in just its first week. Significantly, these huge software sales numbers were not exclusive to current owners of the Switch. According to Mochizuki, ‘some analysts expect that during the October to December quarter alone Nintendo has been able to sell over 10 Million new Switch consoles’.
These latest figures are not only surprising but are starting to push the less than two-year old console up into some pretty rarefied air.