It's been eight weeks since Nintendo released the Switch. At that time the future of the device was uncertain, with critical reviews pointing toward an underwhelming launch heavily reliant on success of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. However, two months later it's become clear that while it might falter in key areas, consumers have been won over by its one-of-a-kind feature set.
A total of 2.74 million Switch consoles would be sold between the days of March 3rd to the 31st, making it the quickest-selling Nintendo console in history. Supporting this figure were software sales reported to be at 5.46 million during the month, more than half of which was owed to Breath of the Wild.
What best puts that in perspective is how surprised Nintendo has been by the console's performance as experts readjusted fiscal year forecasts dramatically. Ace Research Institute in particular now expects the device to sell more than 17 million units within its first 12 months on the market, a figure that nearly doubles the 10 million estimated by Nintendo prior to the Switch's launch.
A wealth of anecdotes can be found on social media and gaming forums that point toward the low volume of supply currently available, a consequence of its high demand. For example, this morning Amazon made thousands of units of the Switch available following weeks of dry stock. Supply would only last for a few minutes as consumers rushed to the website for one of the few opportunities during the past eight weeks to buy a Switch at MSRP.
Given the situation, most retailers have begun employing sales tactics to promote services or upsell consumers during Switch purchases. For example, the Amazon stock made available today could only be purchased by consumers with Amazon Prime accounts. Meanwhile, Best Buy and Walmart have packaged a large portion of their stock into custom bundles that include at least two game and accessories that range from the Switch Pro Controller to Micro SD cards, all with no cost savings.
The average auction for a new Nintendo Switch is currently at around $380 to $420, leaving more than $50 of profit for sellers. This has incentivized scalpers to purchase stock they have access to, further reducing supply at retailers.
This success is the result of many factors, including the Switch's affordable debut price point—which is deceptive since no game is included Nintendo-made bundles—, its mobility, as well as day one access to one of the top 10 highest-rated games of all-time.
Experts anticipate that demand will mellow out during the Summer when launch hype dissipates. Though, Nintendo has prepared for this by spreading out its highest value games. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will release tomorrow, and during July Splatoon 2 will carry a lot of weight.
In addition to previously announced titles, Nintendo commented this week that there are unannounced games that are anticipated to further "boost Switch sales". Some of these will likely be revealed at E3 2017.
For now, consumers interested in purchasing a Switch have to do so in a seller's market where opportunities for buyers are scarce.