Although the retail juggernaut has not released sales figures, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe currently occupies the #3 spot on the "Amazon Best Sellers of 2017 (So Far)" page. The first- and second-place spots are PlayStation Store gift cards, making Mario Kart the de facto champ in games software. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild holds fourth place, while Horizon: Zero Dawn sits in sixth—the fifth position belonging to the Nintendo Switch console.
Even without numbers, other data at our fingertips allows us to make educated guesses with which to frame Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's high sales. Just yesterday, Nintendo announced that it sold over 2.74 million Switch units for the month of March, well over its initial forecast of two million by the end of the month.
In the same sales report, Nintendo shared that Zelda: Breath of the Wild has sold 2.76 million copies, the Switch title with the highest attach rate to the hardware until today's release of Mario Kart at 12 am PT this morning. Polygon points out that Amazon updates its sales positions daily. That leads us to believe that Mario Kart's auspicious start is due almost entirely to pre-orders. By this time tomorrow, its position could be even higher (or hold steady, depending on how many people are still buying PSN gift cards).
This is doubly impressive considering that, when you get down to it, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a re-release of a Wii U game released in the spring of 2014 (padded out with a proper battle mode, all of Mario Kart 8's DLC, and a few extra characters and kart parts). Shacknews editor-in-chief Steve Watts enjoyed the game when he reviewed Mario Kart 8 for Wii U; his enthusiasm has not waned, as evident in his review of the Deluxe version. "Mario Kart 8 was already one of the best in the series. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is even better," he wrote.
I'll go one further than Steve: casting my editorial objectivity aside, Mario Kart 8 is the best version of the game. Its HD graphics (a first for the series) and 60 frames per second with one or two players made it the smoothest and most striking of any title in the franchise, and its selection of new and classic courses ooze creativity and Nintendo's trademark charm.
That's saying something, since there hasn't been a poor or even subpar entry in the franchise through eight iterations. Despite critical praise, though, Mario Kart 8 struggled to find its footing on the Wii U. It's sold 8.31 million copies as of March 31 (via Polygon), but that's small potatoes when you stack that number against Mario Kart Wii, which sold 36.95 million.
The Wii U died on the vine, the determining factor in Mario Kart 8's considerably lower sales number. Now that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is off to the races on Switch, and given the continued demand for Switch hardware, the game should find a home with a larger audience on Nintendo's portable console.