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Switch on Track to Become Nintendo's Greatest Hit

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Felix Richter

If there was a prize for boldness in the video game industry, Nintendo would certainly be a serial winner. After failing miserably to replicate the success of the motion-controlled Wii with the Wii U that was launched in 2012 and discontinued five disappointing years later, the Japanese company could have reverted to a proven formula with its next console. Instead, Nintendo doubled down on one of the Wii U’s standout features, i.e. a gamepad with a display, and turned its next console into a full-fledged hybrid between home and handheld console. And to great success!

Less than four years after its initial release in March 2017, the Nintendo Switch has already sold almost 85 million units, putting it on track to surpass the Wii and become Nintendo’s most successful home console of all time. As the following chart shows, the Switch’s sales trailed the Wii’s performance out of the gates, but while Wii sales started to decline after its third year on the market, the Switch continued to gain momentum.

Undoubtedly fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nintendo has sold almost 29 million Switch units in the 2020/21 fiscal year that ended March 31. In its latest financial reporting, Nintendo forecast slightly lower sales numbers for the upcoming fiscal year, but Switch sales would still overtake those of the Wii within that time frame. Needing only around 15 million units to surpass the Nintendo Wii in lifetime sales, that goal could come within reach by Christmas 2021.

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