Since the portable-only Switch Lite was first announced, I’ve heard from quite a few people who wondered why anyone would buy such a “limited” version of the system that can’t be docked to a TV for big-screen play. In its latest quarterly earnings report, though, Nintendo is showing that there is plenty of interest in a Switch that can’t, uh, switch.
Nintendo reports it sold 1.95 million Switch Lite systems worldwide in the system’s first 11 days on store shelves (i.e. through Sept. 30). That’s a pretty good debut, considering Nintendo only sold 2.85 million standard Switch consoles in the three-month period through the end of September.
In a briefing accompanying that report, Nintendo presented an unscaled graph showing Switch Lite sales leveling off a bit in October. More importantly for the company, though, the graph also shows Switch Lite sales adding to sales of the original dockable system rather than replacing them.
“You can see how Nintendo Switch Lite added to sellthrough of Nintendo Switch, which continued at the same steady pace that it had set this summer,” Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa said. “Looking at the state of this initial response, I would say Nintendo Switch Lite generating its own demand, without negatively impacting sales trends for Nintendo Switch.”
Digging in a little deeper, Furukawa says online registration data shows a full 43% of customers buying the Switch Lite as their second Switch system. Of the 57% that purchased Switch Lite first, Furukawa says Nintendo is seeing a “higher percentage of female users” than it had for Switch in the past, “signal[ing] further expansion of the female consumer base.”
Nintendo says it has seen “consumers gain deeper understanding of Nintendo Switch Lite when they actually see and hold it.” To that end, it is looking to expand the availability of in-store experiences and other hands-on opportunities to get the Switch Lite in players hands.
Elsewhere in the report, Nintendo notes that a full 63% of its first-party game sales for the six months through September came from games that were released before that period started. Multiple releases from before 2019—including Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Pokemon Let’s Go and Super Mario Party— sold over 1 million copies in that six-month period, well after their initial release. That’s a pretty expansive long tail success in a video game market that usually sees the vast majority of sales come in a game’s first month of availability.