It’s well known to industry insiders that the Wii U was a financial failure, selling about 13 million units over its relatively brief four year lifespan. It’s also known that the Switch has been a big success. Thanks to the latest financial report from Nintendo, we know exactly how much of a success.
Since its launch in March 2017, the Nintendo Switch has sold over 22 million units. That’s nearly twice as many consoles sold over the last year and half, versus four years of the Wii U.
Much of those sales figures (~17 million) are from last year. Huge games like Super Mario Odyssey and the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild helped the Switch fly off shelves. Nintendo also found success re-releasing updated versions of Wii U games, like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Mario Kart 8, introducing these games to a wider audience.
Switch software sales have grown to 42 million units, including nine games that have sold at least a million copies.
Sales have slowed greatly for the financial year of 2018, however, with the Switch only selling around five million units. The biggest first party releases were Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze and Mario Tennis Aces. Nintendo also launched the unique Nintendo Labo line of cardboard toys that work with the Switch and Joy-Con controllers.
Despite the slow start in the first half of the year, Nintendo is confident the Switch will reach 20 million units sold for the 2018 financial year (up from 17 million last year). Nintendo has saved all of its big 2018 releases for the last few months of the calendar year, notably Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Dec. 7), and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! and Let’s Go, Pikachu! (Nov. 16). Nintendo’s financial year runs through March 2019.
In related Nintendo earnings news, the eight year old 3DS has slowed down considerably, with sales dropping by 65% to a million units sold. By comparison, the NES and SNES Classic Editions sold far more copies, with combined sales of 3.69 units.