Nintendo Explains Breath Of The Wild's Insane Sales

Late last week Nintendo announced some solid sales numbers on the Nintendo Switch and Breath of the Wild. One bit of weirdness. Zelda: Breath of the Wild actually outsold the console it was released on.

This makes no goddamn sense.

To clarify: Nintendo reported that the Switch has shipped 2.74 million units. A big number. But Breath of the Wild did 2.76 million. That number doesn't include sales of the game on the Wii U, which means that Breath of the Wild has 102% attach rate.


The number sounded weird to me, so I asked Nintendo locally — could this be the result of slightly flawed numbers?

Turns out Nintendo of America had already tried to explain this weirdness. They were aware of this anomaly a couple of weeks earlier when they reported the same issue in the US market. From the US press release:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game sold over 1.3 million units*. That total includes more than 925,000 units sold for Nintendo Switch and nearly 460,000 units sold for the Wii U console. That means that Nintendo sold more of this game for Nintendo Switch than it sold Nintendo Switch systems, for an attach rate of more than 100 percent.

Nintendo's reasoning:

This may be attributed to people who purchased both a limited edition of the game to collect and a second version to play.

I heard this theory online, and it makes sense. It's probably the only way it makes sense. Interesting to see Nintendo themselves came to the same conclusion.

Pretty insane to see an attach rate like that. I mean, you'd be crazy to buy a Nintendo Switch without also buying Breath of the Wild, but still.


    Another reason would be people buying copies of the game while they wait for the Switch to come back into stock.

      My favourite reason is that people bought one copy to play, and one copy to lick.
      Licking apparently is worth the full retail price.

    I bought the Lim Ed copy and Aust. Post said it would take over a week to arrive even with express post.... So I picked up a regular copy with the Switch and then just refunded it when the LE edition arrived.

      I did similar. Got the limited edition while preorders were still available (get my foot in the door), then tried to get one of the gameless limited editions when they became available. Once I'd secured that (and had a brief comparison of the Switch version), I returned the version with the game and continued playing the Wii U version.

      Good thing I did too, the extras in the game version were better quality than the ones in the gameless >.>

    Just look at the scalpers on eBay for the CED and you can easily see people snapped up multiple copies hoping to profit.

      That's stupid, you can still buy it now.

        you can still buy the switch here in aus too but gumtree had a few people near me trying to upsell them at launch too.

          No, I mean the special edition. You can still snag a copy of that.

            Yeah i'm just saying it's stupid people buying things expecting to sell at a higher price at launch when they sell out

    With Nintendo never discounting games ever I can see people buying a copy with a launch sale or something.

    I always buy Pokemon on launch day because you can get it for around 40 bucks. If I go to EB games and try and buy the same game now its still 60.

    Maybe they bought it and play it on CEMU instead of a Switch/U (at least for now)?

    Another possibility is if they're counting wholesale sales, and they sent more copies of the game than the console to some shops.

    People who bought a copy but lost it, so bought another?

    I know if I lost BOTW right now i would have to get another.

    My 7 year old son wants to buy it again everytime we go out. He is obsessed.

    Bought a switch and BOTW for a family members birthday, only the BOTW copy didn't arrive before their birthday. So went out and bought a CE , which was the only thing any of the local stores had at the time.

    I now have a copy of BOTW waiting for me to get a switch to play it on.

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