Handheld gaming is becoming more popular by the day, thanks to popular gaming titles for handheld devices. For example, you can now play Final Fantasy VIII Remastered on your smartphone. But more news is inbound, as we recently found out that Nintendo Switch is on its way to become the most popular handheld console of all time.
According to VGChartz, the gaming industry’s research firm, Nintendo Switch sold over 425,000 units for the week ending March 13, 2021. This brings the console’s lifetime sales to 81.22 million units, outselling the PSP with lifetime sales of 81.09 million units worldwide, making it the 10th best-selling video game platform of all time. If worldwide sales continue to rise, Nintendo Switch could very well outsell its predecessor, the Game Boy Advance (81.55 million units), and perhaps even the legendary Xbox 360 (with more than 85 million units).
Nintendo’s latest handheld console was the highest-selling console on all continents of the given week, significantly outselling other popular consoles like the PS5, Xbox X/S, and PS4. Sony’s first handheld child, the PlayStation Portable (PSP), isn’t on the current market, as it was discontinued in 2014, but not before selling over 80 million units.
Most gamers would agree that, when it comes to handheld gaming consoles, Nintendo is king. This was true before the Nintendo Switch and remains so. The Japanese manufacturer of consumer electronics released its first handheld console called Game & Watch in 1980, which sold over 80 million units worldwide. With it, Nintendo pioneered almost every conceivable feature in modern handheld gaming devices, earning its aforementioned title. The success of Nintendo’s handhelds was and still is massive. Nintendo released eight mainline handheld consoles and several revisions, with cumulative sales counting over 580 million units worldwide.
Nintendo dominated the handheld market in the ‘90s and continues to do so even today, with their Nintendo DS line selling over 154 million units worldwide. Many competitors, like Neo Geo Pocket and Nokia’s N-Gage, tried to cut into Nintendo’s share of the market but have failed to do so. However, things changed in December 2004, when Sony launched its first handheld console, the PlayStation Portable.
Before the Nintendo Switch, PSP was a genuine, legitimate competitor to Nintendo DS’s dominance in the handheld market. Upon its release, the PSP was perceived as superior to Nintendo DS, but that changes soon after because NDS attracted more third-party developers, offering a touchscreen, a secondary display, and wireless elements. After its 10-year run and more than 80 million units sold worldwide, Sony discontinued the PSP in 2014. PSP’s successor, the PS Vita, sold only 15 million units before it was discontinued in 2019.
Nintendo Switch is currently Nintendo’s third best-selling handheld consoles, and it’s only 290.000 worldwide sales away from outselling the GameBoy Advance. The console was released worldwide on March 3, 2017, selling over 2.72 million units worldwide in the first month alone. Based on the first-year sales, the console was considered the fastest-selling game console in history in many regions. And the numbers never lie; Nintendo Switch is famous for a reason, especially among handheld gaming fans.