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Switch Could Supplant Wii As Best-Selling Nintendo Console, GameStop Exec Says

Wii was a very popular console for Nintendo, boasting an install base of 101 million units in total after its launch in 2006. After the misfire of Wii U, Nintendo could have an even bigger hit on its hands based on early returns, according to an exec at the retailer GameStop.

"The Nintendo Switch is off to a start right now that it could possibly eclipse the Wii," GameStop senior director of merchandising Eric Bright told Game Rant. "Initial sales on this have been phenomenal. I can't give straight numbers, but I can say we're seeing one of the highest attach rates of software and accessories to a device that we've seen in a long time."

That's a bold statement for a hybrid console that hasn't even reached its third week in consumers' hands, but Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime has already said that the first two days of Switch sales have outpaced Wii sales during that same time period, and last week, research firm SuperData said the Switch had sold more than 1.5 million units worldwide. So the comment is not being made off-hand. Nintendo's goal had been to sell 2 million units by the end of March, and if the SuperData numbers are accurate, that goal will be realized with a few hundred thousand units to spare.

Those numbers are also impressive given that availability of the Switch was somewhat limited at launch, but that has improved as Nintendo has ramped up production of the unit. While Nintendo has not released long-term projections, an analyst with research firm DFC Intelligence says that the Switch could push 40 million units by 2020, crushing the 13.5 million Wii U's sold.  Even developers surveyed think that Switch has strong future possibilities.

Bright also said that extra JoyCon controllers and chargers were the best-selling accessories at launch. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has ridden the Switch's early success as well, so much so that GameStop is planning its own bundles with the new console. "Because of the popularity of Zelda, which is one of my top picks, we’re putting together a Zelda bundle of hardware and accessories for customers to pick up online,” Bright said.

That's a smart move, given that SuperData also revealed that 89% of users that bought a Switch also purchased Breath of the Wild. Of course that raises the question of whether the Switch is popular alone or whether the power of Link's return is fueling the hardware sales. When the NPD numbers for March come out next month, it will be interesting to see the Switch numbers. It would be even better if Nintendo was a bit more forthcoming with information on the console, not just in sales, but in general.

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