July 31, 2021

The Switch Has Outsold the Wii U.


Quick post because y’know, it’s breaking.

It’s official from Nintendo – the Switch has officially outsold the Wii U’s lifetime sales in almost ten months. A strong Holiday season saw the new hybrid console more than double its sales, reaching 14.86 million – just a hair from 15 million, though achieving that by March 31st isn’t exactly an ambitious target anymore.

Here’s some numbers;

  • The Wii U sold 13.5 million units across 51 months.
  • The PlayStation 4 sold 14.4 million units in its first year.
  • The Nintendo DS, that firebrand 150 million sales handheld, began with 13.6 million in about a year.
  • The Wii sold 13.7 million units in its first year.

And it may even be stronger than the PS2, though the delayed release of that in the West makes first-year sales complicated.

It’s even better on a games front; Mario Odyssey sold in excess of 9 million units, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – which I remind you is a port of the Wii U version – has sold well over 7 million copies and even Splatoon 2 is at around 5 million units, an unqualified success. And niche games like Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Fire Emblem Warriors, ARMS and more all seem to have exceeded a million units each. For a first-year console, these kinds of figures are insane – Sony’s biggest seller on the PS4 launch was Killzone: Shadow Fall, and today that’s still sitting at 2.1 million sales.

So yes. The Switch, as we all had come to realise, is an unqualified success and with Pokémon Switch being touted now for Late 2018/Early 2019 release – I still say 2019 is more likely – and games like Metroid Prime 4 in the pipeline too, alongside new Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem games, this isn’t likely to go away. Also, Nintendo Labo. That’s still a thing and it may even get the Switch into classrooms. I mean, they won’t be playing much Zelda or Mario or anything but hey, maybe end-of-term Mario Kart 8 tournaments?

All of this means… well… the Wii U is deader than dead. But we knew that too.

The lessons I take from this are thus;

  1. The hardware of the Wii U was not the problem, it was a massive marketing and branding disaster. I’ve said before that the Wii U should have been either the “Wii 2” or, even better, the Home DS – or HDS.
  2. The games stand up. Some of these games are still gorgeous through simple art direction, proving that hideously expensive 4K gaming exercises don’t always mean better video games. As if we needed to keep saying that.
  3. Nintendo IP goes with almost anything. That Mario + Rabbids crossover thing not only works but made the Rabbids popular again with people. Though the sassy Rabbid Peach needs her own game with Peach and Pauline. And maybe Ms. Piggy. The sass levels!
  4. Third parties will support machines that are selling well. The Wii U didn’t sell well, and saw less support. Switch sells well, it gets to lead the Dark Souls Remastered marketing. Basic business 101. Sony wasn’t much better early-PS3 era.
  5. Nintendo are still not doomed. 25th Anniversary of the first time I started hearing that way back in 1993, by the way. How should we celebrate 25 years of “Nintendoomed”? Multiplayer DOOM on Nintendo Switch, maybe?

With a remarkably even regional split – 40% North America, 35% Europe/Australasia, 25% Japan – and big stuff like Pokémon on the way, it seems Nintendo is more than onto a winner here.

Though do hurry up with the online stuff, Nintendo. And for the love of Chattur’gah, Eternal Darkness. I will do anything for that in HD.

… *whispers* ANY-THING


I'm the big cheese here. Comment, subscribe, direct waves of hate at me - all the same. Just hope you've had some partial enjoyment here!

View all posts by Kami →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.