Nintendo of America released the day one sales numbers for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch, touting it as the fastest selling game in the franchise yet. According to Nintendo the kart racing game sold more than 459,000 copies on its launch day, via both digital and retail means. Prior to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the record was previously held by Mario Kart Wii which had 433,900 copies on its launch date in 2008.
Since this information is coming from Nintendo of America, it may seem like this information could be related to either worldwide or North American sales – not so. These sales numbers are specific to the United States alone. Though considering UK sales data shows Mario Kart 8 Deluxe shooting to the #1 position and the impressive Japanese adoption rate of the Nintendo Switch, it's likely that sales numbers worldwide are equally impressive.
For some added perspective, Nintendo of America noted that the current install base of the Nintendo Switch within the USA is over one million systems. That means that around 45% of Nintendo Switch owners picked up Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on launch day, with that number likely dramatically increasing since. For comparison's sake, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sold over 900,000 copies on the Switch in its first 28 days. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe may not reach that number so quickly, but it goes to show just how excited Nintendo Switch owners are for new games. Or at least excited for Nintendo-made games.
At its heart, the reason for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's sales may simply be because it's a solid game from a comfortable franchise. Even then, however, one has to question how what's essentially a rerelease of a Wii U game somehow managed to top the day one sales of Mario Kart Wii. At the time of Mario Kart Wii's launch, the Wii had near five times the total consoles sold as the Switch currently does.
The answer likely stems from a multitude of factors. The most important may be that there are simply no other major games available for the Nintendo Switch, which launched with a surprisingly thin line-up of games. Peak Switch hype in tandem with high demand for quality games is a formula for success. But there's another factor that can't be discounted either, which is the rise of digital sales. Hype, demand, and ease of access are all likely causes for the perfect storm of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Nintendo's likely chomping at the bit looking forward to the launches of both Splatoon 2 and ARMS.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is available now exclusively on Nintendo Switch.