Nintendo Sold More Copies of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Than Switch Consoles in the Americas Within Launch Month

Nintendo has announced the initial sales figures for the Nintendo Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and the numbers are quite interesting.

While the Nintendo Switch itself sold over 906,000 units in the United States during its launch month of March 2017, this makes it the fastest-selling piece of gaming hardware in all of Nintendo’s history.

To compare, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild managed to sell over 1.3 million units in March within the United States, with that number including both 925,000 units on the Switch and 460,000 units on the Wii U.

If you compare these numbers to their main competitor, the PlayStation 4 sold 1 million units in North America on its first day of release.

Nintendo downplayed the fact that Breath of the Wild sold more copies on the Switch exclusively than the Switch itself by saying fans double-dipped in buying a regular copy, alongside the big limited edition version. They did note that Breath of the Wild is now the fastest-selling Nintendo launch game of all time, as well as the fastest-selling game ever in The Legend of Zelda series.

In recent news, series producer Eiji Aonuma said that open-world design is the standard for the Legend of Zelda series moving forward – you can read more about that here. In case you missed it, you can find our thorough video and written review for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild here.

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Brandon Orselli

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Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.

  • Anon_Amous

    This is the first game I recall ever hearing about that actually has over 100% attach rate in a region. To add to this, it wasn’t even a pack-in in any way, that’s a lot of bucks.

  • Uncle Ocelot

    That’s… bizarre. The double dipping with the limited edition would explain it however. There are probably some crazy people who bought 4 copies: 1 Master Edition, 1 Switch and Wii U copy each to play and 1 Wii U copy to keep sealed.

  • DrearierSpider

    Probably a bunch of people who just couldn’t find a Switch in stock, and bought the game so they could be ready when they did.

  • Uncle Ocelot

    I don’t think it’s ever happened before, not even with Wii Sports and I’d be surprised if it ever happens again.

  • garf02

    i wonder how the Switch would have fared had it have a bigger stock and Release during holidays just like PS4

  • Anon_Amous

    A lot of people are suggesting the March launch is kind of a ‘soft launch’ and that the holiday season will kind of represent a more fully fleshed out Switch offer for consumers. Like they will have more features set up, more games obviously and probably a bundle to offer. The March release was kind of for big Nintendo fans, we know there are at least 15 million of us since that’s how many of us bought Wii Us. :P

  • Guest

    Fastest selling is good, but hopefully that carries over in longevity. After the Zelda hype dies out they’re going to have to keep the train rolling along, I’m excited to see what they’ve got planned for next year.

  • The Wii Twilight Princess was at launch was too. Had a Wii, couldn’t find it.

  • Mr0303

    The disparity between the sold Switch consoles and Zelda copies, just
    shows how much of a problem scalpers are – most likely part of the extra copies are limited/collector’s editions. That and the possibly limited
    numbers of the actual console compared to the game copies.

  • Mr0303

    Wasn’t Wii Sports bundled with the console?

  • patyos

    Well it was also on WiiU wasn’t it ?

  • Uncle Ocelot

    Don’t know how I forgot that. In terms of non-bundled launch games then.

  • Jack Thompson

    “100% attach rate in a region”
    That’s how many people own a game for a console out of how many people own the console, right? Doubtless BotW has a very high attach rate, but it’s not confirmed for 100% because of people buying multiple copies and collectors editions to keep unopened.

  • Mr0303

    Yeah, but as the article states “Nintendo Switch itself sold over 906,000 units” and “with that number including both 925,000 units on the Switch and 460,000 units on the Wii U.” , which still means that Zelda sold more Switch units than there are NS consoles.

  • Jack Thompson

    Read the article. They sold 19,000 more Switch copies than Switches.

  • Jack Thompson

    Fraud theory incoming

    >We need to really nail this game.
    >Let’s bloat the reported sales to make it our fastest selling launch title ever!
    >Oh shit, we reported more copies of the game sold than it’s console.
    >It, it’s just scalpers guys! Really!

  • 2501

    When you have a console launch line up consisting of one Zelda game, and 5 shitty shovelware games. It doesn’t surprise me that it sold more copies than the Switch.

  • gwadahunter2222

    I think it’s because people buy the game to taste the cartridge

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    Its out on the Wii U as well…

  • Jack Thompson

    Read the article. Switch copies alone outsold the Switch.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    That’s due to Nintendo not having enough consoles for people to buy be available. I know a few people who are waiting for a Switch to come in at a gaming store and bout BOTW in the meanwhile. This is not that hard to figure out.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    You’re point? There are plenty of people who don’t have a Switch due to the supply issues so they got the game as well. I’ve got a friend who’s been waiting on his Switch via online order and another friend who works at GameStop. A lot of people bought the game thinking they could buy a console without pre-order and got screwed. A lot of people had the same issue with Smash Bros Brawl during the time when the Wii was infamous for supply issues.

    No conspiracy theory needed.

  • Jack Thompson

    I didn’t say it was necessary, that’s why I put the (laymen) theory disclaimer at the top of my comment.

    If they ordered a console, that’s a console sold. Unless somebody buight the game and decided to delay ordering the console for some reason.

    My point in the second comment is this. When you said it sold on the Wii U as well, I took it as implicit that you were saying that accounted for the game outselling the Switch, so I pointed out that Switch version sales alone outsold the console.

  • Jack Thompson

    Why not order the console?

  • Tubsiwub

    Can confirm that this happened quite a bit in my area.

  • Mr0303

    That’s pretty much what I said in my first post.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    People didn’t think that Nintendo would undersupply the way they did. Not coming off of the Wii U. That and pre-orders sold out quick with no replenishment. This seems to be a Nintendo launch problem, and one they need to stop repeating.

  • Bitterbear

    Unlike the other publishers and thanks to the higher cost of cartridges, Nintendo doesn’t flood the market with physical copies of the game.

    Although, it makes me wonder if NoA is to blame for this. Game disc reprints doesn’t give them any more lolcalization money so they don’t bother convincing the higherups that there’s a need to ship more copies.

  • OldPalpy

    Isn’t this “fastest selling” PR meme pretty recent? I think it started in the past 5 years or so.

  • Arenegeth

    I’m one of those people who bought the Limited Edition for the Switch, but didn’t actually buy a Switch console. I already have a Wii U (this game was one of the reasons I bought one, ironically) and there’s nothing else on the Switch I’m interested in until late in the year.

    So I believe Nintendo in this case, especially since I’m going to buy the game a third time, because European Limited Edition’s got less stuff than American ones.

  • Random Dude

    It’s double-plat (WiiU and Switch), of course it’ll sell more.

    EDIT: *sigh* Should’ve read it carefully before commenting. Nevermind about that.

  • Jumanji Joe

    What a pity the worst zelda game is selling so well.

  • NukeA6

    It can’t be worse than the first one on the DS. Phantom Hourglass I think it was called.

  • Kitsune

    I bought Breath of the Wild Limited Edition without owning Switch just because I want to buy whatever improved version they release in some months.

  • Loli que Zerou NieR Automata

    Well, considering that EVERYODY who got a Switch also got BotW, it’s pretty obvious it would sell more since it’s not only on the Switch but also on the Wii U

  • Eugenio Gil de la Madrid

    Maybe scalpers?
    Dunno if this is also counting the collectors edition. Let’s be honest Nintendo is for some reason home to them.

  • SOMEGUY7893 .

    Nope, it means that the game has sells matching the number of console sales. In other words for every Switch sale they’re also making a BoTW sale.

  • SOMEGUY7893 .

    The console was completely sold out so some people who waited to buy it at a store ended up just getting the game and waiting for the Switch to restock.

  • Jack Thompson

    So why is it called attach rate if the games aren’t “attached” to consoles? Misleading terminology.

  • SOMEGUY7893 .

    Because it’s impossible to really know how many people bought the game to play it and and such so they just make the assumption that x amount of games was sold and y amount of consoles with the scenario being that they bought the game to play it on the console. In other words most people don’t buy a game twice so they make various assumptions to calculate the average amount that is probably buying the game and console to play on said console because it’s really impossible to actually verify the real amount. So 100% because more copies than consoles have been sold so it’s probable that almost every switch has a game paired with it.

  • Snorlaxation

    It’s what I did with Smash bros and the wii u. Though I never did buy the wii u.

  • Bigfatdane

    So, there were more people interested in Zelda: BOTW than there were people interested in getting a Switch to play it on.

    I’d get the game for the Wii U, but no Wii U games are sold here anymore since the system have been declared dead by Nintendo. They have the Switch version of the game falling off the shelves due to over supplying, but there are no Switch units for sale due to lack of supply to stores.

    Clearly, someone, somewhere have made some poor choices for my region of the world when it comes to Nintendo gaming.

  • J_Joestar

    no one is ignoring the Wii U version, but the fact is that they have a separate count for the two versions and the Switch only numbers lists more units sold than the amount of Switches sold.

  • Jack Thompson

    “Because it’s impossible to really know how many people bought the game to play it”
    You can tell that with the metadata collected by the consoles on which the game is played.

  • Zombie_Barioth

    So how do you account for games that sit unplayed in peoples’ backlogs? You know, like those who buy it but then life happens and they don’t have time to play anymore?

    Or in this case, are having trouble finding a console.

  • SOMEGUY7893 .

    Nah, you can’t account for every console that way simply because not everyone will connect them to the internet.