It’s no exaggeration to say the Switch is one of Nintendo’s most successful consoles of all time. This has been born out time and time and again with the monthly sales in multiple regions — a few weeks ago in Japan, for example, 98.5% of all game console sales in the country were just for the Switch according to Japanese video game outlet Famitsu. In November, generally the biggest battleground month for console and game sales in the U.S., Switch once again emerged as the console sales victor with not only a million units sold but overwhelming domination of the top ten games sold.
According to the National Purchase Diary group, which logs retail sales and sometimes adds in digital sales based on given publisher data, the Switch has been the best-selling console in the U.S. for 35 out of 36 months since its release. While the 1.13 million console sales represents a huge number, it also speaks to how supply constrained all the consoles are, as this number is less than last November, and the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X combined in November don’t amount to the number of Switches sold according to Niko Partners’ Senior Analyst Daniel Ahmad.
If you want to know how bad the supply situation is:
– The Switch sold less than November last year
– PS5 + Xbox barely = what Switch sold in total
– The PS4, XB1 and Wii U (yes Wii U) sold more in Nov 2014 than Switch + PS5 + Xbox Series in Nov 2021. https://t.co/pX6rpKb8Nk
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) December 13, 2021
The monstrous Switch sales likely give Nintendo all sorts of elbow room when considering what comes next for the handheld system. Not only does the system sell well, but games that appear on it often clock their best sales performances in their series history. Everything that could have made the Switch abruptly slow down — fewer first party releases, more powerful consoles competing, the advancement of mobile chip technology, Switch games showing their age — has come and gone without really interrupting its momentum.
Nintendo has all the time in the world to prepare a Switch successor, if a successor as we traditionally know it is even something in the cards for the company. Why, when they do not have to, would they hit a reset button on the existing install base for a system that may be another Wii U?
We’ll see what the next year in video game sales looks like, but assuming the chip shortage continues unabated throughout 2022, it seems like it could be another lean year of high game sales and relatively lesser console sales.