Study: Most nongamers don’t know what Nintendo Switch is

The Nintendo Switch hasn’t quite left an impression with those who don’t identify as gamers, according to a new report by Nielsen. The marketing research firm released the 2017 edition of its annual report on U.S. consumers’ gaming habits, awareness and behaviors, with data pointing to the Switch in particular failing to ring any bells for nongamers.

Just 7 percent of survey participants in the nongamer category said they’d heard of Nintendo Switch. (This self-identified group is composed of people over the age of 13, with results drawn from more than 2,000 online surveys.) More than half of nongamers interviewed had heard of PlayStation 4, by comparison; 41 percent were aware of Xbox One.


Considering when this survey was conducted, it’s easy to see how the mainstream consumer body could be unaware of the Switch. Nielsen collects data for its annual “Games 360” report during the first quarter of each year; that typically ends on March 31. The Switch didn’t hit retail until March 3. Even though marketing for the console began ahead of its release, it’s possible that ads and previews breezed by the average consumer until the console actually came to stores.

high-powered Xbox One revamp. Microsoft has said little about that system yet, although it’s expected to be a large part of the company’s E3 presence this year.

As for how many gamers know of the Switch, 29 percent said they’d heard of it. That’s a bit more than the PlayStation 4 Pro and way ahead of Xbox Scorpio. Nielsen’s results found that just 22 percent of the general population overall was aware of the Switch by the end of the first quarter of 2017, which isn’t stellar — but as the newest system on the block, there’s plenty of time for improvement.

Besides, a lack of nongamer awareness hasn’t had that much of an impact on demand or sales. The Switch set records as Nintendo’s fastest selling console ever, beating out the Wii’s launch with nearly a million systems sold in March.