The Nintendo Switch has Smashed the Lifetime Sales of the SNES

The Nintendo Switch has Smashed the Lifetime Sales of the SNES

The NES record will be the next to fall.

Buoyed by the release of new Pokemon games, a strong Black Friday performance, and a continued interest in both versions of the system, Nintendo had an incredibly strong holiday season with the Switch. Now, having sold over 52 million units since its 2017 launch, the Switch has overtaken the Super Nintendo's lifetime sales.

That's one of the major takeaways from Nintendo's latest earnings report. That's an increase of nearly 11 million units from the start of October 2019 through to the end of last month. Most of the Switches sold over that period were the regular $299.99 hybrid model, though the cheaper Switch Lite has now surpassed 5 million units sold since its launch in late September of last year.

It was also a particularly strong quarter for Nintendo's first-party games. Pokemon Sword and Shield broke into the top five all-time Switch games with over 16 million sales—currently a few hundred thousand units below Breath of the Wild—and Luigi's Mansion 3 knocked Super Mario Maker 2 out of the top 10, selling 5.37 million units since its launch last Halloween.

Nintendo has moved its fiscal year 2019 forecast for Switch sales up to 19.5 million from the 18 million estimate it provided last quarter. Industry analyst Daniel Ahmad of Niko Partners and Kazunori Ito of Morningstar Research both expect that the Switch could easily sell through 20 million by the fiscal year's end come April, especially with the release of Animal Crossing New Horizons coming in March.

After the SNES, the next piece of Nintendo hardware that the Switch is poised to overtake in lifetime sales is the original Nintendo Entertainment System/Famicom, which sold just under 62 million units. The Wii is still Nintendo's best-selling piece of hardware to-date, but with this recent milestone, the Switch has already amassed over half of the Wii's 101 million lifetime sales in just under three years on the market.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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