The Nintendo Switch Lite US sales have done something that we don’t really see all that often, outpacing Japan by more than double. While Japan is typically a place where handheld gaming is king, it seems that Americans have taken a particular shine to Nintendo’s latest edition of its hybrid handheld console.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Japanese gaming scene, it has more than a few differences from that in the West. As an example, the PlayStation 4 is very popular over there, whereas Microsoft struggles to gain traction with the Xbox One. Similarly, handheld gaming consoles tend to do well in space-conscious Japan, but it seems that the Nintendo Switch Lite US sales have surprisingly flipped the usual situation on its head.
“Nintendo reported strong 2Q results, with Lite selling 1.95 million in 10 days since launch,” the Wall Street Journal’s Takashi Mochizuki said on Twitter.
“A surprise, analysts say, is [the] regional breakdown of Lite sales,” he continued. “It’s similar to console’s, selling 800k in U.S. vs 390k in Japan. Usually, Japan leads handheld at launch with U.S. catching up at end of life cycle. Analysts say Lite might have found [a] new market in the U.S.”
To put this into greater context, the PlayStation Vita is another handheld gaming product that didn’t really take off in the West and was unceremoniously shut down in 2018. Despite this, production of this particular handheld gaming unit only ended in Japan earlier this year — a country where it sold more than 10 million units.
This time, the Nintendo Switch Lite broke with the tradition of handheld games doing well in Japan: the Nintendo Switch Lite US sales were 800,000 units compared to 390,000 in Japan. Mr. Mochizuki thinks that this bodes well for the Pokemon franchise’s future prospects.
“The result is encouraging for Pokemon games coming next month,” he concluded. “Nintendo chief Furukawa said [the] company would make more 3DS franchises available on Switch to convey [the] appeal of [the Nintendo Switch Lite].”