What Nintendo’s Classic Gaming Consoles Could Mean for Sales In 4 Charts

Apr 21, 2017

Nintendo may release another throwback console this year in time for the holidays. The gaming giant is working on a Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) classic version, according to Eurogamer.

This news comes after the gaming company announced last week that it would discontinue the recently re-released NES Classic Edition despite high demand since its launch in November.

The NES and SNES are Nintendo’s second and third most popular gaming consoles ever, topped only by the Wii.

The SNES comes in at number eight in the list of all-time best-selling gaming systems. Sony claims the top two spots with the PlayStation 3 (released in 2000) and the original PlayStation (released in 1994), respectively, followed by the Nintendo Wii (2006). See the table below for the full list of rankings.

While Sony led the industry in units sold for 2016 with the Playstation 4, the volume of sales has dwindled over time.

An estimated 26.7 million total units of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo consoles were sold in 2016, down nearly 30% from 2008.

"The market today is much more fragmented between PC, console, and mobile gaming," said Joost van Dreunen, CEO of SuperData. "Nevertheless, gaming, as an entertainment category has also grown to three times the size, making the addressable market much larger."

It's difficult to get a clear picture of console sales over time because most manufacturers don’t release the number of systems they’ve sold. All figures are estimated by third parties.

Microsoft used to released numbers for their console sales in each earnings report, but stopped sharing that information at the end of 2014. Now the company only mentions these figures sporadically.

By all estimates though, Nintendo leads the pack in sales when you combine all consoles. The company's handheld offerings give it the edge to beat out Sony's PlayStation sales.

The Nintendo Switch, released this year, has sold about 2.4 million units worldwide and is the company's fastest-selling console in its history in the United States, according to van Dreunen.

"Since the heyday of the Wii, market conditions have changed considerably and, despite its regained success, Nintendo now faces a larger set of competitors with much deeper pockets," he said.

Between the strong Switch sales and the recent NES Classic success, Nintendo is back on track, according to van Dreunen. But will the launch of the SNES classic addition get you back on the Super Mario Kart track? Fingers crossed that this nostalgic play by Nintendo will also mean the return of your favorite classic games.

Grace Donnelly 

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