Nintendo Switch surpasses the SNES in total sales

Eric Abent - Jan 30, 2020, 1:17 pm CST
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Nintendo Switch surpasses the SNES in total sales

Nintendo has delivered a new round of financials, this one detailing the nine-month period ending on December 31st, 2019. In that financial report, we learned that the Switch has now sold a total of 52.48 million units. That, importantly, is enough to surpass the Super Nintendo’s lifetime sales.

In Nintendo’s long history of making consoles, the SNES is generally looked back upon very fondly. It was one of Nintendo’s more successful home consoles, selling 49.1 million units around the world. With the sales from this most recent quarter all accounted for, the Switch has passed the SNES in terms of total sales, slotting into third place behind the original NES and the Wii.

Unless something dramatic happens to Switch sales, the console will likely surpass the NES by the time everything is said and done too. With 61.91 million total units sold to its name, the NES is only about 9 million units ahead of the Switch at the moment. Since the Switch sold 17.74 million units in the past nine months, we could very well see the Switch surpass the NES within the next year.

Topping the Wii is going to be a lot more difficult. With 101.63 million sales, the Wii is easily Nintendo’s best-selling home console of all time. Among all of Nintendo’s hardware, only two products have managed to surpass it: the original Game Boy (118.69 million) and the Nintendo DS (154.02 million). The Switch has a long way to go if it’s going to beat the Wii, but with 52.48 million sales in just under three years, it could happen.

Though Nintendo doesn’t give specific results for the quarter in this financial report, we can figure out how much the Switch sold during this quarter by comparing it to previous reports from earlier in the company’s fiscal year. When it gave us its six-month update for FY 2020, Nintendo had Switch sales at 6.93 million units. With Nintendo reporting a total of 17.74 million for the nine-month period, that means the company sold 10.81 million Switches in Q3 alone.

Of those 17.74 million consoles, 5.19 million were Switch Lites, so it seems that launching the smaller, handheld-only console was a good move for Nintendo. The company also says that it now has 21 million-selling games for the fiscal years, with Pokemon Sword and Shield and their 16.06 million units sold being the stars of that lineup.

While the Switch seems to be selling well, it isn’t all good news for Nintendo’s hardware. The company revealed that the 3DS has only sold 0.62 million units over the past nine months, which is a 73% decrease year-over-year. Even though Nintendo hasn’t confirmed that the 3DS is on the way out, those numbers pretty much confirm that it is. In any case, we’ll see where the Switch ends the fiscal year at some point in April, so stay tuned for that.


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