Nintendo Switch could one day be the best-selling console of all time
the Nintendo Switch was one of the most successful consoles in video game history. In the blink of an eye, he went from curiosity in early 2017 to bona fide success. The Switch began as the best-selling console in Nintendo history to become the best-selling console at 50 million, breaking the record held by PS4. The Switch isn’t just a fad, and in fact, Nintendo’s hybrid console could become the best-selling system of all time.
2020 was another banner year for Nintendo, and that momentum continued until 2021. There are rumors of a possible Nintendo Switch Pro that could be unveiled in the near future. With or without this new, more powerful technology, the numbers show that the Switch already dominates like very few consoles have ever done; thanks in part to a range of games that are also selling remarkably well. If this continues, the Switch could soon overtake all consoles before it. And if the Switch Pro comes out, it will be almost inevitable.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
Nintendo Switch sales so far
According to the company’s recent official results at year-end, Nintendo has now sold 84.9 million Switch units. 28.8 million consoles were sold in just one year, including 14.7 million Nintendo Switch Lite consoles. The 2020-2021 fiscal year has been the most profitable to date for Nintendo. What is staggering to see is the idea that around 85 million consoles have been sold in just four years, as the console launched in 2017.
The Switch has topped several consoles on the all-time list over the past year and now sits behind the PS3, Wii, original PlayStation, PS4, Game Boy family, Nintendo DS family, and PS2. If it were to have a year identical to the one it just experienced, next year it will have surpassed sales of the original PS3, Wii and PlayStation. The Credit Suisse brokerage firm originally predicted that Nintendo would sell 70 million Switch consoles by 2022. It then revised that claim and increased it to 130 million by 2022. Nintendo has surpassed that figure of 70 million and could certainly still reach the figure of 130 million by the end of 2022; especially if the Switch Pro rumors are true.
The switch and its competition
Nintendo and its executives often discuss the idea of not competing directly with players like PlayStation and Xbox. Yet it cannot be denied that video game companies are often compared in one way or another face to face. And with that in mind, Nintendo has dominated the hardware landscape in 2020 globally.
In fact, the Switch was the best-selling hardware platform in units and dollars in the United States, and also had the second-best year ever in those categories, only behind the Wii in 2008. The Switch has surpassed all other major UK consoles. combined in 2020.
In Canada, the Switch broke the record by being the best-selling console in the country for at least 25 consecutive months. Meanwhile, the Switch accounted for 87% of all console sales in Japan in 2020. These numbers are remarkable, but the Switch has outperformed its competition since the day fans got their hands on it.
Just a month before the Nintendo Switch launch, the PS4 had sold around 53 million units by February 2017. Since then, the PS4 has sold 62 million units (the PS4 is now at about 115 million). This means the Switch’s 85 million is more than the PS4 and PS5 combined since March 2017 (62 million +7.8 million) and more than the Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S never.
Software sales driving hardware sales and vice versa
The Switch hardware itself is something many love, whether it’s the vivid hybrid nature of the original 2017 console or the Switch Lite mobile only. However, the Switch’s library, four years into its lifecycle, may have been the source of its success. Let this be the masterpiece Zelda and Mario titles that have completed the Switch’s first year or Animal Crossing: New horizons which seemed to break every sales record imaginable, the sheer number of high-quality games has helped the console feel like a must-have system.
Of the 50 best-selling video games of all time, six of them are on Nintendo Switch in either exclusive or deluxe editions. These games include Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Pokemon Sword, and Shield, and Super Mario Odyssey. Meanwhile, for Xbox One / Series or PlayStation 4/5, only the Last of Us / Remastered just makes the list as the 50th best-selling game. Nintendo exclusives dominate the list (even beyond the Switch), and games are likely helping to sell the Nintendo hybrid console.
Perhaps the best-selling Nintendo Switch game is Animal crossing. New Horizons sold 31.8 million copies in its first year. The idea of a game selling over 30 million copies in a year is almost unbelievable. Add to that the fact that this game is exclusive and can be unprecedented. There are still a slew of titles that have sold over 10 million copies that are not in the all-time top 50, like Super Mario Party, Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu / Eevee, Splatoon 2, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, and Ring-shaped adventure.
Even beyond the top sellers, Nintendo is pushing innovation, fun, and creativity with its games, and the end result is a well-selling console. It’s likely that Nintendo will continue to make exciting games that will propel its consoles off store shelves.
The Switch Pro and the momentum of the hybrid console
For months, if not years, there have been constant rumors of a new, more powerful Switch console. Nintendo hasn’t necessarily needed it so far. With 85 million units sold in just four years, things seem to be going well. However, it is better to get ahead of the curve than to fall behind. The most recent Switch Pro rumors claim that Nintendo will be announcing a new console very soon and that it will be released in the coming months.
If true, this new edition of the Switch console family will phase out the original 2017 console and replace it with a more powerful, higher resolution, and more expensive model. During this time, the Switch Lite will remain. The Switch Pro and Switch Lite could be a perfect 1-2 boost for Nintendo. A new game like Breath of the Wild 2 could be played on the go with the Switch Lite with ease, but gamers would also have the fun and ability to play the same game with incredible graphics fidelity (maybe 4k, 120fps) on the new Switch Pro, something that would compete with the opposition.
A new Switch console would invite a whole new wave of buyers. The Switch Lite technically surpassed sales of the original Switch from 2017 last year, and part of that could be because it was the new toy. This would probably be doubly true if the new toy were bigger, better, prettier, and more powerful. The 2020-2021 fiscal year has been an incredible one for Nintendo with 28 million Switch consoles sold. If this year Nintendo released a Switch Pro, it could be even better.
Many fans would line up to buy a more powerful Switch Pro, or even buy a second Switch on top of their original 2017 console (if they could). This same principle worked for Nintendo with the DS and Game Boy family of products, which is why the consoles have sold so well. If Nintendo could on average sell 25 million Switch units over the next three years, it will have sold 160 million consoles, which would make Nintendo Switch the best-selling console of all time.
Recently Nintendo of America Doug Bowser claimed the Switch was only halfway through its lifecycle. The console still has a lot of life. This certainly seems true if a “Pro” model were to be unveiled in the near future. The lifespan of home consoles for Nintendo has often been shorter, but the family of portable consoles can last over a decade. The Switch and its hybrid nature make it an enigma. But if a Pro model comes out, it will look even more like a Game Boy-like evolution to Game Boy Color or DS to DSi. And with how well the Nintendo Switch is selling in such a short period of time, there is a very good chance that an extension of its lifespan will make the console the best seller ever.
MORE: Every Name Suggested For The Upgraded Nintendo Switch
Capcom producer Peter Fabiano joins Bungie
About the Author