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The Nintendo Switch becomes Nintendo’s best-selling home console, but still has some way to go to catch the GameBoy and DS handhelds.

When the Nintendo Wii U was discontinued, it had only sold 13.56 million units worldwide. Compare that to the console that preceded it – the Wii, Nintendo’s best-selling home console, on 101.63 million units – and it looked like the beloved developer, publisher and platform-holder might be in dire straits.

Well, the Wii was the best-selling Nintendo home console at that time. But with Nintendo Switch worldwide sales creeping up to 103.54 million, that is no longer the case. (And any concerns for Nintendo’s future following the “Wii U dip” have been roundly refuted.)

For Nintendo home consoles, that makes the all-time charts look a little something like this.

Nintendo home console sales, to December 31, 2021

  • Nintendo Switch – 103.54 million
  • Nintendo Wii – 101.63 million
  • NES/Famicom – 61.91 million
  • SNES/Super Famicom – 49.10 million
  • Nintendo 64 – 32.93 million
  • Nintendo Gamecube – 21.74 million
  • Nintendo Wii U – 13.56 million

Don’t forget that the Nintendo Switch is also a hybrid console/handheld (“Consheld”? “Handsole”?) so we should also consider its sales figures against Nintendo’s handheld systems.

Nintendo handheld sales, to December 31, 2021

  • Nintendo DS – 154.02 million
  • Game Boy – 118.69 million
  • Nintendo Switch –103.54 million
  • Game Boy Advance – 81.51 million
  • Nintendo 3DS – 75.94 million

When we do that, the Switch drops from first to third place. But when you consider the enormous volume and massive lifespan of Nintendo’s previous handheld systems, that’s still no mean feat for a console that’s not yet five years old.

Nintendo is also keen to remind us that the Nintendo Switch is “in the middle” of its lifespan, so don’t be surprised if it topples the Game Boy before the end. The Nintendo DS, though? That one might just be a bit too far ahead.

Source: Nintendo investor relations

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