Feb 3, 2022 - Technology

Nintendo Switch passes Wii lifetime sales

The Wii showcase in 2006

The Wii showcased in 2006. Photo: Bob Riha Jr./FilmMagic

Nintendo has now sold 103.5 million Switches, surpassing the 101.6 million sales performance of its legendary Wii console, the company announced overnight.

Why it matters: The show of strength signals just how much life is in Nintendo’s nearly 5-year-old platform, as it picked up about a fifth of those sales last year.

  • The comparison isn’t quite apples-to-apples.
  • The Wii was a home console, and the vast majority of owners only bought it once. The Switch, which can be played at home or on the go, has had multiple models and therefore many more repeat buyers.

Between the lines: Nintendo Switch’s more impressive stats may be how well its games sell.

  • The company says 13 games on the system have passed 10 million units.
  • Even 2021 Switch releases in series that don’t sell as broadly for Nintendo sold well — for example, Metroid Dread reached 2.4 million units sold.

Yes, but: Nintendo, like rival Sony, has had to downgrade forecasts for hardware sales, citing semiconductor shortages.

  • The company said it expects to sell 23 million Switches for the 12 months ending March 31, 2022, down from 24 million.

The intrigue: In a Q&A with investors, Nintendo executives downplayed the NFTs and the metaverse.

  • In remarks clarified to Axios by analyst David Gibson, they said they were interested in the metaverse but were unsure what kind of “joy” it could provide.
  • CEO Shuntaro Furukawa also downplayed the likelihood that Nintendo would join the industry's ongoing M&A spree, according to Bloomberg, saying "having a large number of people who don’t possess Nintendo DNA in our group would not be a plus to the company."
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