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Strong holiday season pushes Nintendo Switch to record-breaking sales for 2018

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Backed by a strong holiday season, the Nintendo Switch overtook the PS4 as the best-selling console of 2018 in the United States, according to the NPD Group. The feat is even more impressive when you consider that the PS4 won the monthly sales battle through October.

While exact figures aren’t known yet, the Switch’s 2018 sales exceeded a current-generation record previously owned by the PS4 for the 2015 calendar year. The Switch’s 2018 year proved to be the most lucrative since the Nintendo Wii in 2009. There’s no doubt that the Switch’s strong numbers contributed to an overall growth for the console industry at large, which went up eight percent from last year to a staggering $5.1 billion, the highest since 2009. All three major consoles — Switch, Xbox One, and PS4 — posted higher individual sales than in 2017.

For the Switch, the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in December and Pokémon: Let’s Go in November undoubtedly pushed it ahead of its competitors. Despite only being available for roughly three weeks in 2018, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was the best-selling Switch game of the year. The Let’s Go titles (Pikachu and Eevee) came in at six and seven on the top ten list. If there was any lingering doubt that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate could be a system seller, it has been defiantly erased.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Image used with permission by copyright holder

Though not all that unsurprising, three of the top five best-selling Switch games of 2018 came out in 2017: Mario Kart 8, Super Mario Odyssey, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Super Mario Party slotted at five).

It makes sense that “older” games still drive Switch sales when you look at the overall top 10 best-selling games of 2018:

  1. Red Dead Redemption 2
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  3. NBA 2K19
  4. Madden NFL 19
  5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  6. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  7. Far Cry 5
  8. God of War
  9. Monster Hunter: World
  10. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

All ten of those games launched in 2018 and only two of them — Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and NBA 2K19 — are available on Switch. The top 20, by contrast, has a total of six games exclusive to Switch. The PS4 only had two exclusives make the top 20, and the Xbox One had none. It’s clear that people are buying the Switch for the experiences they cannot find on PS4 and Xbox One. And lots of folks are buying what Nintendo is selling.

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Steven Petite
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Steven is a writer from Northeast Ohio currently based in Louisiana. He writes about video games and books, and consumes…
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