Nintendo Switch Lite sales show handheld systems can still thrive

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Nintendo released the new Nintendo Switch Lite handheld-only system back in September, and sales for the console have been very strong thus far. During its launch, Nintendo sold nearly 2 million Switch Lite systems, and that should have handheld gaming fans very excited.

In Nintendo’s latest financial report, it revealed that 1.95 million Switch Lite systems have been sold globally since its launch in September. To date, the Nintendo Switch line as a whole has managed to sell more than 41 million units, about triple that of the Wii U.

The sales for Switch consoles during the previous quarter were less than half what they were from June through September, and game sales have also been increasing — titles like Fire Emblem: Three Houses and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening both sold well over 2 million units, and Super Mario Maker 2 is approaching 4 million units sold.

Pokémon Sword and Shield Pikachu

Aside from the obvious benefits of having a unique Nintendo console continuing to sell well, the success of the Nintendo Switch Lite specifically should be encouraging to those who prefer traditional handheld gaming instead of home consoles. Pokémon Sword and Shield are due to release in just two weeks, the first main entries in the series to come to Switch. According to the Wall Street Journal’s Takashi Mochizuki, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa also said that more 3DS franchises could come to Switch to “convey appeal” for the Switch Lite.

By not releasing software that only functions on the Switch Lite, Nintendo has managed to avoid fracturing its user-base or risk having a game release on a platform that its fans don’t own. Despite this, those that only want to game in handheld mode can still do so, and they can play alongside their friends who own the standard Nintendo Switch. It’s a far different strategy than we saw from Sony, which attempted to release games for both the Vita and PS4, eventually trying to sell the Vita as a companion device when the PS4 picked up steam. It didn’t work, despite the Vita’s impress specifications and excellent first-party games. If any other console manufacturers decide to get back into the handheld business, they best follow Nintendo’s lead.

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