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Nintendo Switch eclipses Wii U lifetime sales in Japan

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On target for worldwide mark by the end of March

The Nintendo Switch in its dock, with the Joy-Con grip. James Bareham/Vox Media

The Nintendo Switch, reaching two impressive sales milestones in the past 10 days, has notched a third. It’s already sold more than the Wii U did, in Japan, in its six-year lifetime.

Comparisons to Wii U sales have followed the Switch over the past 10 months as a way to show either this console’s extraordinary appeal, the lack of it for the Wii U, or both.

In any event, Famitsu (as noticed by Resetera and Nibel earlier this morning) shows that the Switch reached 3,407,158 units sold by the end of the year, compared to the 3,301,555 sold by the Wii U over its lifetime. Again, those figures are for Japan.

Earlier this week, Nintendo itself reported that the Nintendo Switch was the fastest selling console in the U.S., logging 4.8 million units by year’s end. That’s the highest 10-month total of any video game system in U.S. sales history, beating even the Wii craze of 2006-2007.

But what is the global picture? We’ve been getting that data out of what Nintendo tells its investors at the end of each quarter. The company’s most recent guidance is that it expects to move 14 million Switches by the end of its fiscal year (in March) and that, too, would edge the Wii U’s global lifetime-to-date sales (13.56 million). The next report should be sometime at the end of this month.

Expect Nintendo to check in again with another fastest-selling milestone for the Switch once the console reaches its first year of sales on March 3. If the Switch was the fastest-selling console in the U.S. after one month, and after 10 months, it’ll probably be the fastest-selling one after 12 months, too. The console also has the 10-month record in Japan, where the title holder had been the PlayStation 2.