In about a month, Nintendo will launch a new console, and you may have some trouble finding one in the publishers home country.
Japanese Nintendo fans have preordered more than 80 percent of the initial launch shipment for the upcoming Switch console, according to sales-tracking data firm Media Create. This hybrid handheld/home system will debut March 3 for $300, and it has created a lot of buzz among consumers that is translating into preorders. This more evidence that the Switch could easily outpace Nintendo’s Wii U console in the $99.6 billion worldwide gaming industry.
“It seems that the reservation rate of Nintendo Switch has reached over 80 percent of the planned initial shipment,” Media Create explained in a blog post.
Nintendo has not made any statements about how well the Switch is selling, but I’ve asked for an update on the device’s preorders. I’ll update this story with any new information from the company. But while we don’t have direct data from Nintendo, it seems likely that the Switch will sell out in most territories at launch. The console is already difficult to preorder from online retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart in the United States, and the publisher has a reputation for only shipping a quantity that it knows it can sell. The company previously said it would have a goal of 2 million Switch systems for March, but then president Tatsumi Kimishima said Nintendo would manufacture more if it needed to. When the Wii U launched in 2012, it surpassed 3 million units sold after six weeks.
And analysts with research and consulting firm DFC expect the Switch to easily outsell the Wii U. Nintendo’s outgoing console only reached about 13.36 million units sold, and DFC is forecasting 40 million for the Switch by 2020. It’s worth noting, however, that PlayStation 4 has already surpassed 50 million consoles sold since 2013, and the 3DS is at 61.57 million units since 2011. If Nintendo hopes to match that or the PS4, it will need to get off to a strong launch — and it looks that’s a possibility.