Nintendo Switch passes lifetime sales of Wii U in less than one year

Nintendo Switch review
Nate Barrett/Digital Trends

The difference in sales figures between the Nintendo Switch and the company’s previous console, the Wii U, are nothing short of staggering. The Switch has consistently outpaced its predecessor since it launched last March, and it has passed the lifetime worldwide sales of the Wii U after less than a year.

As of December 31, the Nintendo Switch has sold more than 14.8 million units, racing past the Wii U’s 13.56 million. The Wii U was Nintendo’s worst-selling console aside from the short-lived Virtual Boy, failing to reach the numbers of the SNES, Nintendo 64, or even the GameCube.

What is perhaps more impressive than the Switch’s hardware figures are those for software — more than 52 million Switch games have already been sold, which is more than half the total lifetime software sales of the Wii U. People are buying multiple games for their system, and even niche titles like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Arms have managed to sell more than 1 million copies each.

Given that it only released in October, it’s somewhat surprising that Super Mario Odyssey is actually the best-selling Switch game, with more than 9 million units sold, followed by Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with more than 7 million units sold. Mario Kart 8 managed to sell 8 million units on Wii U, and given the long tailwind Nintendo games tend to have at retail, that figure will likely be eclipsed in no time.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild managed to sell 6.7 million, though the game was simultaneously released on Wii U, which likely affected the Switch’s sales. Multiplayer shooter Splatoon 2 is still going strong, as well, with nearly 5 million total sales.

Upcoming Nintendo Switch games in early 2018 include remastered versions of both Bayonetta titles, as well as Dark Souls Remastered. This will be the first time a Dark Souls game has made its way to Nintendo hardware.

Nintendo’s total net sales in 2017 were up more than double from those of 2016, but the Switch wasn’t the only reason for this — the 3DS continues to sell, with numbers actually higher in 2016 than in 2017, and with the new games like Kirby Battle Royale and Detective Pikachu, there’s no telling when Nintendo will finally decide to retire the handheld.