Nintendo Switch Outsells the Wii, Making the Hybrid Nintendo’s Best Selling Home Console

Nintendo also posted record sales for key software titles.

Every single quarter, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa says that the Switch is “in the middle of its lifecycle” and every single time it gets headlines. It’s not hard to see why Furukawa is so insistent about this same quote, though, as the Switch still continues to sell gangbusters and is breaking records left and right. No one at Nintendo, especially its CEO, particularly wants to blunt that momentum by trying to place it anywhere else in a standard lifecycle.

And it seems to be working, because said momentum has pushed the Switch past the sales of 2006’s Wii, the previous record-holder for Nintendo’s best-selling console. At 103.54 million units, the Switch has surpassed its predecessor’s 101.63 million install base. At the time, the Wii was considered an insurgency that opened the gaming audience up to a new mass market and its meteoric rise. The Switch has not only sold faster, it is the fastest-selling home console in history, even above competitors like Sony and Microsoft.

The actual install base of the Switch still lags behind the PlayStation 4 (116.9 million), the Nintendo DS (154.02 million), and the PlayStation 2 (155 million), but it’s within spitting distance of the first one and was very unlikely to ever catch the last two.

Nintendo did however lower their forecast for the Switch’s sixth year, albeit due to chip shortages rather than projecting lesser demand. Here’s a few other fun facts about their quarterly results:

  • Unlike Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo’s not keen to get into the acquisition war. While they recently picked up their partner studio Next Level Games, Furukawa told investors that he thinks it would not be beneficial if “they do not possess Nintendo DNA.”
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sold nearly five million copies in the last quarter, pushing its total sales to 43.35 million. To put that into perspective, the only game in Nintendo’s history to sell more isn’t Pokemon, isn’t any Zelda game, it’s the original Super Mario Bros. across every permutation and port. In theory, Mario Kart 8 should beat that record by the end of the year.
  • The Super Smash Bros. series, which has in total six games (five if you consider Smash Bros. for Wii U and for 3DS as one game), has reached 69 million units sold. While you would think this would make it the best selling fighting game series of all time, not so. It still lags behind Mortal Kombat (73 million), which predates the Smash Bros. series and has about thirteen more games under its belt. In theory, Smash Bros. could catch up in sales, but an inevitable new Mortal Kombat title would widen the gap and make it unlikely.
  • Pokemon Sword & Shield is now officially the second best-selling Pokemon game in the main series. The newest mainline Switch titles have barely beaten out Gold & Silver with 23.9 million sales, just ahead of Johto’s 23.7 million. It’s still a far cry to Red/Green/Blue‘s 31.38 million, but who knows.
  • In other Pokemon news, last year’s Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl have sold 13.97 million units from just November to January. It will likely outsell Pokemon: Let’s Go (14.33 million) by summer’s end.
  • New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has sold 12.72 million units, or roughly 2.18 times the lifetime sales of the original release on Wii U.
  • Mario Party Superstars, the nostalgia-laden minigame title that released on Switch late last year, has hit 5.43 million units sold, as compared to Super Mario Party at 17.39 million units. While that’s a big gap, Superstars is only a few months old and is already the third best-selling Mario Party game in the series, behind Super and Mario Party 8.
  • Metroid Dread is, as expected, the best selling game in the 2D Metroid series at 2.74 million. However, it is also about to be the best selling Metroid game period — ahead of the seminal Metroid Prime — if it isn’t already by the time of writing this. Nintendo never reported the sales of 3DS title Samus Returns, but estimates put the game around 500,000. If that number is true, then Metroid Dread has, in the first three months of release, sold roughly five times more than its immediate predecessor.
  • The only piece of “bad” news for Nintendo software this quarter is Skyward Sword HD. While the remaster has matched and outsold the Wii original (3.3 million), sales have mostly fallen off a cliff, achieving a relatively paltry 250,000 sales last quarter. Breath of the Wild sold 1.67 million last quarter, for a total of 25.8 million units lifetime.