Nintendo recently published their earnings report for the nine months ending on December 31, 2021, and it comes with some big numbers. Specifically, it comes with the news that the Nintendo Switch has officially outsold the Wii, reaching a massive 103.54 million units sold since its launching less than five years ago. This number also makes the Switch one of the fastest-selling consoles of all time, trailing only the Nintendo DS.
In its lifetime, the Wii sold 101.63 million units, according to Nintendo’s official figures. The console that popularized motion controls – and not always in a good way – was a phenomenon when it launched in 2006, and it was Nintendo’s best-selling home console until now. Of course, you can debate whether the Switch is really the best-selling home console considering over 17 million sales come from the handheld-only Switch Lite. But that shouldn’t take away from how impressive of an accomplishment that is.
The 103.54 million figure also puts the Nintendo Switch ahead of the original PlayStation, another huge success story from the 90s. Nintendo’s hybrid console is now the fifth-best selling console of all time, trailing the PlayStation 2 (>155 million), Nintendo DS (154 million), Game Boy/Color (118.69 million), and PlayStation 4 (116.9 million). Outside of the Nintendo DS, it’s also selling faster than all of those consoles when launch aligned, as pointed out by industry analyst Daniel Ahmad on Twitter.
This is also the first time we have official sales data for the Nintendo Switch OLED model launched on October 8th. From its launch date through December 31st, it sold 3,94 million units, though it was still behind the original Switch model. This is likely helped by the fact that the standard Switch is part of the Black Friday bundle including Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
There are some other interesting tidbits to extract from Nintendo’s latest data. For example, the Nintendo Switch has now sold more hardware units than the total number of software (game) sales for Nintendo’s Wii U console, the Switch’s predecessor. A total of 103.45 million games were sold for Nintendo’s dual-screen home console during its lifetime.
On the software side, there have been 766.41 million games sold for the Nintendo Switch. Software sales are actually behind the Wii, but it’s important to remember the Wii was always bundled with a game, starting with Wii Sports for most of its life, but also including other titles later on. Many bundles even included more than one game.
Contributing to those sales numbers, Nintendo’s most successful titles in this time period were Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, which shipped a total of 13,97 million units collectively. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, a title that launched in April 2017, sold 7.96 million units in this period and it’s the best-selling Switch game with 43.35 million unit sales to date. It’s one of Nintendo’s best-selling games in recent history, no doubt thanks to the Black Friday bundles that are available each year.
A figure some may be interested in is that Metroid Dread has shipped 2.74 million units to stores, making it the second-best selling game in the Metroid series. It was the first original 2D Metroid game since 2002’s Metroid Fusion, but it looks like the franchise still has some life in it. Nintendo is still holding information on the upcoming Metroid Prime 4 game close to its chest, despite it being announced in 2017. Development was rebooted in 2019, but that was the last we heard of the title.
Despite all of its successes, Nintendo has once again revised its Switch sales forecast for this financial year to 23 million, down from the 24 million unit forecast announced in November. That was already down from the initial forecast of 25.5 million, and the reason for that is supply constraints. Nintendo’s revenue forecast was actually revised upwards thanks to increased demand for Switch games, but it seems the company can’t meet demand for the hardware. We’ll have to wait and see if supply shortages are eased in the coming months, though it seems unlikely.