Now that we are finally getting some concrete sales figures for the Nintendo Switch in Japan, it’s clear that the new console has done well. So well in fact, it outsold the PS4 in the same space of time.
To back this up with some figures, the Switch has managed 519,504 sales in the four weeks since its launch at the start of March. By contrast, in the first four weeks of the PS4’s launch it only amassed 439,810 sales in Japan. In fact, it took the PS4 eight weeks to reach 519,773 sales here.
One thing that partly dampens all this is that the Wii U managed 557,901 sales in its opening month. However, this was over the holiday period and the sales dropped off massively after that.
In any case, apart from the solid launch sales figures for the Switch, what does this actually amount to in real world terms?
In short, it means that the Switch has gained enough sales momentum to likely give confidence to Japanese third-party publishers to further invest in the platform. Considering that Japanese games still sell globally, this in turn means that the Switch’s gaming library will no doubt increase in the coming months. With new projects announced off the back off of these launch sales.
However, the biggest advantage the Switch has over the PS4 is that it is cheaper to develop games for.
Much of the budgetary expenditure on modern games is in the creation of visual assets. The more powerful the system, the more time and resources have to be spent on getting the art up to scratch.
This is in part why games like the mainline Monster Hunter releases have stayed on handhelds, as the cost to develop a 3DS games is a lot less than on the PS4.
While the Switch is more powerful than the 3DS, the situation is still a similar one. Development costs will be cheaper on the Switch, as it doesn’t have the same graphical clout as the PS4 and that in turn forces a limit on how much you need to spend on art.
Couple this with the strong launch sales of the Switch, means that the lower cost of development makes a strong case for a Japanese games publisher to fund developing games on this new console.
It’s clear that the Switch has gotten off to a great start in Japan and it will be very interesting to see how the console fares from here on in. A strong launch is one thing but the Switch needs staying power if it is avoid the same fate as the Wii U.