The Nintendo Switch just hit a major milestone relative to its sister consoles in the Nintendo family. The Japanese company announced on Thursday that its handheld, gyroscopic, motion-tracking main console, the Nintendo Switch, has officially outsold its previous most successful unit — the Nintendo Wii. According to a report released about the sales of the Nintendo Switch in 2021, the console has officially surpassed the 100 million units sold marker, 103.54 million units shipped, specifically. According to TheVerge, that brings its total past the lifetime total of the Nintendo Wii’s 101.63 in just five years since its release.
Now, it’s worth mentioning that the Nintendo Switch’s sales are heavily buttressed by the fact that users can currently choose between three versions. There’s the full-sized (but still handheld) Nintendo Switch, there’s the smaller Nintendo Switch Lite as well as the recently released Nintendo Switch OLED, which is an incremental upgrade that some liken to a new generation for the Switch and others call “meh.” So, the customization, as well as three separate units going into the Nintendo Switch’s tally, likely helps.
That said, The Nintendo Switch is also a far superior console to its predecessor. While the Nintendo Wii captivated an entire generation of home gamers thanks to its gimmick of having Wiimote motion controls that allowed users to do things like play tennis, bowl or (for a great majority of us) sword fight! No one had really done that kind of thing in an attainable way before the Nintendo Wii. However, while programmers were trying to figure out new and exciting ways to make the motions controls of the Nintendo Wii work, AAA titles like Halo, Call of Duty, Mass Effect and Assassins Creed were doing their thing, drawing people back to the good old controller and couch method of gaming.
Fast forward a few years and you’ve got the Wii U, a more traditional console that has mobile capabilities. Fast forward a bit more and you’ve got the Nintendo Switch, which somehow finds a way to pack in some of the best elements of the Nintendo Wii with the mobility of the Wii U. Meanwhile, it’s also got the computing power to handle some AAA titles like The Witcher, Overwatch alongside Nintendo staples like Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8 and, of course, Animal Crossing. What you’ve got is a recipe for more than 100 million units sold.
However, this kind of meteoric rise can’t last forever. In fact, the company is already signaling a slow down when it comes to the ubiquity of the Nintendo Switch. Bloomberg notes that Nintendo shaved its expected Nintendo Switch units sold in 2022 to 23 million, down from 24 million projected in November. It sold 18.95 million consoles over the past nine months, marking a 21% drop from the same time last year. The company blamed shipping issues that persisted throughout 2021 — but one also has to note that there are only so many gamers on planet Earth and that these consoles work for longer than a year, which is a good thing. Still, stagnation is the death of companies and definitely not what Nintendo is known for. So, one just has to wait and see what innovations will be made in 2022 or games will release to increase demand on the Nintendo Switch.