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Zelda drives record quarter for Switch with 18.5m sales

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom drove a record quarter for Nintendo Switch, with the company confirming it sold 18.51 million units of the game as of June 30, 2023.

During the three-month period, global sell-through of first-party software reached the highest level for a first quarter since the Nintendo Switch launched in 2017, the company claimed.

The company also enjoyed a record first-quarter profit of 185.4bn yen ($1.294bn), which is up 82%, and surpasses the 2020 period when it released Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the start of covid-19 lockdowns boosted sales.

Driven by Zelda, Nintendo shipped 3.91m Switch units during the three-month period (short of the 5.68 managed in Q1 FY21), which is up 13.9% year-on-year and brings the life-to-date total to 129.53m. The vast majority of these (86%) were OLED models, including the special edition Tears of the Kingdom console, which launched in April.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was released on May 12 and sold 10 million copies worldwide in its first three days, according to Nintendo. That made it the fastest-selling game in the history of the series and the fastest-selling Nintendo game for any system in Europe and the Americas.

Nintendo said in its latest results that sell-through of this one title constituted approximately half of the first-party software sold this fiscal year.

“Consumers who played the previous entry, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, have been the primary driver, but as the weeks have passed, we have seen that a growing percentage of purchases are being made by consumers who have not yet played that title,” it said.

Nintendo forecasts it will sell 15 million consoles during the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2024, which represents a further 16.5% decline, as Switch enters a significant slowdown during its seventh year on the market.

According to VGC sources, the company has dispatched Switch 2 development kits to key partners, with launch planned for the second half of 2024.

More to follow…