The Nintendo Switch surpasses the 3DS lifetime sales after its best quarter yet

The Nintendo Switch continues to sell like hot cakes, enjoying its best quarter of sales over the holiday period and passing yet another Nintendo system in terms of lifetime sales.

In the three months leading up to the end of 2020, the Nintendo Switch sold a whopping 11.57 million consoles (a stunning 24.1 million through the financial year so far) pushing its total sales to date up to 79.87 million. That means it’s now surpassed the lifetime total of the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS family, which stands at 75.94 million.


This is despite a relatively subdued end to the year in terms of game releases. There was Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, of course, while Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit and Pikmin 3 Deluxe sold 1.08 million and 1.94 million respectively. One possible system seller was Super Mario 3D All-Stars, which did push 8.32 million copies as part of the Mario 35th Anniversary celebrations, but in truth, it was all down to the continuing momentum of the system’s juggernauts: Animal Crossing: New Horizons (31.18m to date after just 9 months on sale), Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (33.41m to date) and Ring Fit Adventure (8.68m to date after 5.95 million since April).

None of this should come as any surprise given the impact that Covid-19 has had on the games industry. Engagement with video games is at an all-time high, and the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons in particular came at exactly the right time to offer those suddenly facing lockdowns a tranquil escape, while Ring Fit Adventure has been bought up almost as fast as it can be produced for the same “I can’t go outside much” reasons. Of course, come Christmas sales season, and the Switch was always going to be in high demand, but perhaps even more so because of further lockdowns. That helps to explain the strong sales of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, as a go-to game to pick up alongside a Switch, while the company can still bank on its family friendly image.

Still, you know what might help push things on just that little bit further? A Nintendo Switch Pro. The long-rumoured mid-generation upgrade to the Nintendo Switch might not dramatically impact the mass-market sales of the console, but it would help the console stay relevant when competing against the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Additionally, a side story to the Switch’s success comes from families buying secondary Switches so that people no longer have to share a console – its handheld design makes it a rather personal device, after all – and a Switch Pro could tip more families toward doubling up.

Either way, the Switch is selling at a rapid pace, and that’s sure to carry on through 2021. The fourth quarter of a financial year is typically a much slower one, but even an average Q4 for the Switch would see it surpass the Game Boy Advance, which has 81.51 million sales. There’s a number of major releases for owners to look forward to as well, including Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, Bravely Default II, and Monster Hunter Rise.

Source: Nintendo [1, 2]

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