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Nintendo Switch is selling faster than Wii or Sony PlayStation 4 ever sold

May 6, 2021, 4:03 PM UTC

The Nintendo Switch is the fastest-selling console of the modern age, but chip shortages could stall that momentum.

Nintendo said in an earnings announcement Thursday that its Switch has sold 84.59 million units after 49 months on the market. That puts the system ahead of sales of the earlier Nintendo Wii or even Sony’s PlayStation 4 after their first 49 months on the market.

Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst who covers the video game industry at Niko Partners, charted the sales rates in a post on Twitter. He also noted that the Switch is selling faster than earlier PlayStation and Xbox models did at the same point in their respective life spans.

The global chip shortage could result in production issues, though, Nintendo warned. As demand for the console has been higher than anticipated, the company could face dwindling supplies. Still, Nintendo said it is targeting sales of 25.5 million consoles this fiscal year, ending March 2022.

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Software sales remain just as strong. Total sell-in, or sales to retailers, for Switch games now stands at 587.12 million titles. That’s about seven titles for every console on the market.

The strong numbers underscore that the 2020 surge in players, aided by pandemic lockdowns, isn’t slowing down. Some of that success was due to the continuing strength of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which is the system’s second bestselling game to date. Capcom’s latest Monster Hunter title has also proved to be a hit.

Nintendo’s slate of upcoming titles is still a bit vague, but more details should be unveiled in the coming months. Splatoon 3 is due in 2022. The company has not issued updates on timing for the sequels to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Metroid 3 in some time.

Nintendo reported an operating profit of $6.04 billion—nearly 82% higher than the prior year. It’s forecasting a 22% drop in that category in the coming year as shelter-in-place orders end and the software release calendar is lighter.

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