Hardware wrinkles can’t stop Switch from breaking sales records
Despite wrinkles in its hardware design, Nintendo Switch is off to a fine start
Now that’s more like it. We may have fussed about the lofty price, the lowly battery life and the rake-thin launch lineup, but Switch is off to a flyer. Over its first two days on sale it became Nintendo’s fastest-selling console in history in the Americas and Europe; Breath Of The Wild became its fastest selling launch title, too. In the UK, Nintendo sold more copies of the new Zelda than it did of Wii Sports in 2006 – and that was bundled. Yes, Breath Of The Wild outsold, at launch, the fifth-most popular console of all time.
In Japan, Nintendo sold 313,000 units of its new hardware in a week, putting Switch within 10,000 of PS4’s launch sales in the territory. Of course, there are caveats. Wii was severely supply constrained at launch, as Nintendo struggled to cope with launching a new console in every major territory in the space of three weeks. Wii U had a reasonable launch weekend too, and we all know how that turned out. The release schedule for the coming months still looks somewhat bare, even if indies have helped fill in some of the gaps.
Problems persist, inevitably. The handheld’s fit in the TV dock is surprisingly flimsy – it rocks back and forth when in place, and getting it in and out is more awkward than the marketing materials suggested. Some Switch screens have been scratched as a result; it’s a troubling oversight from a company whose hardware has always seemed rock solid, the sort of thing that should have been identified, and eradicated, early on in the prototype stage.
Similarly troubling is an issue with the left half of the Joy-Cons. No sooner had the Switch hardware preview embargo lifted than the internet was set ablaze by claims that the controller would randomly lose its connection to the console during play. Was it a question of range? Of line of sight? Could it be fixed through software, or would affected Switch users need replacements? One console teardown suggests it is, indeed, a hardware problem: the left-hand controller’s wireless antenna is of a different design and location to the righthand one, and is positioned along the edge that sits in your palm, which may explain why the signal drops out. Perhaps that’s why so much of the pre-launch marketing showed us all those rooftop 1-2-Switch parties, with the console in