In a nutshell: It’s hard to imagine that when Nintendo first announced the Switch back in 2016, which elicited a lukewarm reception from many, it would eventually become the United States’ best-selling console for 23 months in a row.
The statistic comes after Nintendo’s hybrid console achieved its best October sales ever with 735,926 units of both the Switch and Switch Lite sold in the US. That’s the second-highest sales figure ever of any console for the month, beaten only by the Wii’s 807,000 units sold in October 2008.
The video games industry is one of several to have been boosted by the pandemic this year as more people opt for home-based activities; Nintendo says October’s Switch sales were up 136 percent compared to last year. To date, 22.5 million units have been sold in the US, while global shipments are at 68 million. That puts it in twelfth position on the best-selling consoles of all-time list, which is an impressive stat, considering it was only released in 2017—the second youngest machine in the top twenty is 2013’s PlayStation 4.
Speaking to The Verge, Nintendo of America’s SVP of sales and marketing, Nick Chavez, puts the recent success down to the handheld’s increased availability and the Animal Crossing special edition of the Switch. “That came back into the marketplace around October 4th, and many people were excited to get their hands on that as quickly as possible. We’re going to continue to have that in ample supply throughout this holiday and into 2021. “
When it was unveiled in 2016, fears that the Switch would be another Wii U saw Nintendo’s stock price fall 7 percent—one game industry consultant said: “Who else but diehard Nintendo fans will buy the Switch?” It may have the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S to contend with, but some analysts believe the Switch will extend its record and become the best-selling console over the holidays.