According to Nintendo’s latest earnings reports, the Switch has sold 122.5 million units globally, surpassing the Game Boy/Game Boy Color as the third-best selling console. The Switch needs around 30 million units to become the best-selling console of all time, leaving many to wonder if it will eventually claim the top spot.
Could the Switch Become the Best-Selling Games Console of All Time?
To become the best-selling console of all time, the Switch would need to sell around 30 million more units, but achieving that level of growth may be challenging. In the previous fiscal year, only 14.91 million units were sold, and this growth rate would need to continue for two more years to overtake the current best-seller, the PlayStation 2.
However, it’s worth noting that Microsoft’s flagship console, the Xbox Series X/S, has sold an estimated 12 million units since its 2020 release, while the Switch outsold the Xbox in just one fiscal year.
To show you what the Switch is up against, take a look at the following table of the top five best-selling consoles of all time, as of February 2023:
|Console||Release Year||Units Sold|
|PlayStation 2||2000||155+ million (final sales greater than reported)|
|Nintendo DS||2004||154.02 million|
|Nintendo Switch||2017||122.55 million|
|Game Boy & Game Boy Color||1989, 1998||118.69 million|
|PlayStation 4||2013||117.2 million|
However, the 14.91 million units sold in FY 2023 is actually a sharp 21.3% decrease over Switch sales during FY 2022. If this number continues to drop, it could be a hard climb for the handheld to reach the throne.
So, What Could Cause the Switch to Outsell the PlayStation 2?
Nintendo attributed the drop in Switch sales to the ongoing semiconductor and component shortage, although it wasn’t as severe as the pandemic-induced scarcity that saw the console being sold for over $500. However, they indicated that the shortage was subsiding, and they were ramping up Switch production. To increase sales, Nintendo needs to release more major titles. The highly anticipated “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” will be released this year and could boost RPG fans’ interest in the console.
Another title that could recreate the success of “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” which resulted in Nintendo’s best financial year in FY 2021, would also be a significant advantage. Though the prospect of a Switch Pro model seems unrealistic this late in its lifecycle, the recently released Switch OLED could be the catalyst for the console to become the best-selling console of all time. The Switch OLED has already seen a 92.5% increase in sales in FY 2023, indicating that fans prefer a larger screen to a lower price. The introduction of a pro model could entice existing Switch owners to purchase a second console.
So, to summarize it is entirely possible that the Switch could sell 30 million more units in the next two years. This would lead it to surpass PlayStation 2 sales and take the throne of being the most-sold games console of all time. However, unless Nintendo has some big plans for the console, the climb to the top is going to be hard.