The Nintendo Switch has had a solid start, selling out in multiple territories and generating a decent amount of buzz (mixed with the usual batch of negativity). The UK is one country where it's still feasible to find units, however, though there have been indications that the launch was reasonably successful considering Nintendo's recent record in the country.
Now Harris Interactive has published some survey results that were taken in the UK when the system launched earlier in the month. We can't find details on the sample size so a pinch of salt is needed, but there are some interesting outcomes - both positive and negative - that ring true to some of our own conversations and experiences.
First of all, general awareness of the Switch was quite high, with 56% polled being aware of the system as it was launching; that might sound modest, but cast your minds back to the painful confusion and lack of knowledge many had of Wii U, and this result matches our sense that Nintendo got the word out far more successfully this time.
Opinions on the Switch also seemed positive - majorities 'loved' or 'liked' various aspects of the concept, including play on the go / TV / tabletop mode, first-party games, motion controls and multiplayer gaming on the system. General attitudes were positive too - majorities agreed that the system 'looks fun' and 'innovative', though 55% want backward compatibility. On the latter point, Virtual Console and the likes of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are as good as it's likely to get on that score.
In terms of actual purchases, though, only 6% had bought or pre-ordered a unit, with 32% 'likely' to buy one in the next three months - there are a lot of fence-sitters, unsurprisingly. In terms of 'barriers' to buying a Switch, 40% said they can't afford it right now - the $299.99 / €299.99 price converts to a fairly brutal £279.99 in the UK, with tax regimes and the current lows of the pound making it an expensive option in the country. Consider that the price doesn't include a game, and as we've said before the price of entry is quite steep.
The other notable barriers were 32% being already happy with another console, 25% saying they weren't big enough gamers to justify the cost, and 20% 'waiting for it to be cheaper'. Pricing is most definitely a factor.
Overall, though, the survey does show a solid awareness around the system, and that its concept and approach are having some impact. It's all early days, but there are enough positives to have some confidence in what's to come.