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Nintendo Switch sales pass 52M, nearly quadrupling Wii U

Pokémon Sword and Shield have already sold 16M copies

Photograph of a yellow Nintendo Switch Lite playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Photo: Michael McWhertor/Polygon
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Nintendo has sold more than 52 million Switch consoles since the systems’s launch in March 2017. Nintendo announced the sales milestone in the company’s quarterly financial results (PDF), boasting of strong Switch sales boosted by the Nintendo Switch Lite (released in September) and the launch of the console in China.

The Switch has now outsold Nintendo’s Super NES (49.1 million units sold) and has reached about half of the cumulative sales of the Wii (101.63 million units sold), according to Nintendo’s estimates. The Switch has now outsold its predecessor, the Wii U, by a factor of nearly 4:1.

Nintendo’s Switch sales milestone also puts it ahead of lifetime Xbox One console sales, according to analysts.

Based on sales trends, the Switch appears to be selling faster than the Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 4, but is pacing behind the Wii. The Wii was Nintendo’s fastest-selling, but overall third-best-selling, platform of all time behind the Nintendo DS and Game Boy lines.

Down, predictably, were 3DS sales, which dropped 73% year over year. Nintendo sold just 620,000 3DS systems during the nine-month period that ended in December, bringing the lifetime sales of the 3DS to 75.71 million.

On the software side, Nintendo calls Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield “huge hits.” The pair of Pokémon games, released in November, have already sold more than 16 million copies. Switch games Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Super Mario Maker 2 have also sold over 5 million units each.

One game is still the clear winner when it comes to Switch software sales: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The kart-racing game has sold 22.96 million copies to date, putting it ahead of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (17.68 million), Super Mario Odyssey (16.59 million), The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (16.34 million), and Pokémon Sword and Shield.

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