When Nintendo’s Switch debuted in March 2017, it was like nothing that gamers had seen before: a console that you can hook up to a TV in your living room but also pluck from its dock and use as a handheld anywhere. The $300 device was so appealing–and well executed–that it was practically impossible to find one in stock for months after its release. Now that Nintendo is catching up with demand, the company says that the Switch is the fastest-selling console in U.S. history, besting the record set by its legendarily successful ancestor, 2006’s Wii. Meanwhile, Switch titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey are setting sales records.
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And in January, Nintendo unveiled Labo, a line of build-them-yourself toys that use the Switch as their brain—a reminder that the 128-year-old Japanese company’s specialty is neither hardware nor software but the art of melding both into uniquely memorable experiences. “We’re going to work very hard to make the Switch a vibrant platform for many years,” says Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé. Nintendo is also keeping fans engaged by taking its venerable franchises to new places. Pokémon Go‘s continuing popularity on smartphones, for instance, has led to sales spikes for Pokémon console games and stuffed Pikachu dolls. And a deal with Universal Parks will give Mario and pals their own theme-park lands, starting with an Osaka, Japan, location timed to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “Our business strategy,” says Fils-Aimé, “our mission in life, is to make people smile.”