Nintendo Switch hardware sales pass Game Boy, PlayStation 4

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Nintendo has now shifted a staggering 122m Switch consoles, enough to finally exclipse the Game Boy (118m) and PlayStation 4 (117m).

Six years on from launch, this total places Switch as the third-best selling game platform of all time, behind Nintendo DS (154m) and PlayStation 2 (above 155m).

Can Switch still rise further? Console sales are slowing – down 21 percent year-on-year – but it still seems possible, with sales of the Switch OLED model balancing out declining sales of the vanilla Switch and portable-only Lite.

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Software sales also slowed year-on-year, with seven percent fewer Switch games sold but a slight increase in sales of first-party games – published by Nintendo itself.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet led that charge, and shifted 20.6m copies combined between the two versions over the six weeks since launch to the end of December.

Splatoon 3 has also performed well, with a particularly strong showing in Japan. It has now passed the 10m units sold mark, outpacing sales of Splatoon 2.

Why are console sales down? In a financial release on the results, where it lowered its expected sales for the full year, Nintendo blamed semiconductor shortages.

But the fact remains Nintendo Switch is now a six-year-old console – something evidenced too, perhaps, in the dwindling supply of first-party games currently still set to arrive on this generation of machine.

Looking ahead, 2023’s release schedule is currently looking rather thin. Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is Nintendo’s next first-party game, on 24th February. After that, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon launches 17th March.

The year’s biggest Switch game, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, is slated for 12th May. Pikmin 4 has a vague “2023” release window.

Nintendo still lists the long-awaited Metroid Prime 4 and the indefinitely delayed Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp with “TBA” dates. Perhaps we’ll hear more in a Nintendo Direct soon?

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