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Nintendo Switch UK launch sales hit 80,000

Zelda debuts at No.2, Horizon: Zero Dawn conquers the market

Speaking to retailers this morning, Nintendo Switch has sold around 80,000 units in the UK during its opening weekend.

That's double the number of Wii U consoles that were sold during its opening weekend (40,000 back in late 2013).

It's not as high as 3DS' debut, which was 113,000 according to Nintendo. Nor does it come close to the PS4 launch (250,000) or the Xbox One launch (150,000).

However, it is a solid performance for the machine. There wasn't a huge number of units pushed into the channel (most major retailers are sold out) and the marketing and PR campaign was truncated and arrived late in the day. Retailers tell us that they were very happy with the launch and one store even declared: "Nintendo is back."

However, it is still early days. 3DS' sales fell off sharply after its launch weekend, for instance. That machine had a busy launch line-up and then little else for months and Nintendo will hope the upcoming launches of Mario Kart 8, Splatoon 2 and Arms will avoid a similar fate for its new device. We'll have a clearer idea of where Switch is heading once we are though Christmas.

There's no hiding what game did the business for Switch. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was this week's second-best selling boxed game, with a large proportion of Switch owners picking up a copy of the title (plus a decent number of Wii U owners, too). It is the third-biggest launch for a video game this year, ahead of For Honor but behind Resident Evil 7.

The game is the highest rated video game in nine years, according to Metacritic. And GfK says the Switch version is the third biggest launch for a Zelda title behind Wind Waker on GameCube and Twilight Princess on Wii.

There were three Switch games in the Top Ten in total, with 1-2-Switch making it to No.4 and Super Bomberman R at No.7. Meanwhile, Just Dance 2017 returns to the chart at No.24 thanks to the Switch version. Unfortunately, Skylanders Imaginators didn't return to the charts (a Switch version of that was also released).

Zelda was kept off the No.1 position by PS4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn. That game was also very well received and was heavily advertised by Sony. PS4 also benefits from having a significantly higher install base. Its sales were so strong that it has topped No Man's Sky as the PS4's biggest new IP launch.

As a result of all the activity, nearly £17m was generated from physical games in the UK last week (440,000 units sold). Pushing the retail market into growth.

Last week's No.1, For Honor, tumbles to No.5.

There was one other new game in the Top 40 boxed charts this week, Telltale's The Walking Dead: The New Frontier at No.19.

Last Week This Week Title
New Entry 1 Horizon: Zero Dawn
New Entry 2 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
3 3 Grand Theft Auto V
New Entry 4 1-2 Switch
1 5 For Honor
4 6 FIFA 17
New Entry 7 Super Bomberman R
7 8 Rocket League
5 9 Sniper Elite 4
6 10 Battlefield 1
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Christopher Dring avatar

Christopher Dring

Head of Games B2B

Chris is a 17-year media veteran specialising in the business of video games. And, erm, Doctor Who