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 80 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 is still gaining momentum.
Undoubtedly fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nintendo has sold almost 25 million Switch units in the first nine months of its fiscal year ending March 31. With several blockbuster titles lined up and leisure activities still severely limited in many parts of the world, the near future also looks bright for Nintendo. Needing only 22 million units to surpass the Nintendo Wii in lifetime sales, I wouldn’t bet against the Switch to become Nintendo’s new number 1.