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The big picture: Time flies when you’re having fun, and that’s exactly what Nintendo has been doing over the last five years with its Switch handheld game console. The unlikely hero was greeted with equal parts fanfare and uncertainty but passed its tests with flying colors.
The Japanese gaming giant was attempting to rebound from the disappointment that was the Wii U with yet another portable console at a time when traditional, more powerful systems from Microsoft and Sony were battling for supremacy.
Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata, who led development on the Switch, died suddenly in July 2015, casting even more uncertainty over the device and Nintendo’s future.
Nintendo marched on, launching the Switch on March 3, 2017, for $299.99 with a dozen games to choose from including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Despite the odds, it became Nintendo’s fastest-selling console with sales of 2.74 million units in the first month.
Nintendo went on to launch a handheld-focused version of the system called the Switch Lite in late 2019 and an upgraded version of the base console with an OLED screen last October.
Things haven’t really slowed down much over the past five years. Just last month, it was revealed that the Switch surpassed 100 million units sold faster than any console in history. It’s also Nintendo’s best-selling home console ever and is ranked as the fifth best-selling console ever behind the PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS family, Game Boy & Game Boy Color and the PlayStation 4.