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Switch Breaks the 100-Million Units Sold Barrier

As everybody who pays any attention to the gaming industry already knows, Nintendo is weird. When Microsoft and Sony are swinging for the fences with the power of the Xbox Series and PS5, Nintendo is happy to deliver a much more restrained experience with the Switch. Yet, despite an undeniable disadvantage in hardware power, the Switch has so far found itself as the current generation’s king.

Best illustrating this fact is how the various Switch models have just crossed the threshold of 100 million units sold, according to This puts the system in rare company, with only the PS1, PS2, PS4, Wii, Gameboy, and DS similarly reaching the nine-digit mark.

Meanwhile, the PS5 and Xbox Series can only boast sales of 13 and 12 million units respectively. Of course, the Switch has had three years longer to reach this point, but on their current trajectories, it doesn’t seem like the competing systems could match the Switch’s performance at the same point in their lifecycles.

How Did We Get Here?

After the Wii, which was already a significant departure from what was then an established console cycle, Nintendo had a rough time of it. The Wii U took another strange approach from the PS4 and Xbox One, incorporating a confusing design that never found its footing. Over its lifetime, this machine sold only 13.5 million units.

For the Switch, Nintendo decided to move to the place it knew best, and where it dominated for decades – the handheld arena. After its launch in 1989, the Game Boy line was the handheld king. As noted by, this system had competition, but all fell to Nintendo’s humble system. Followed by the GBA and DS lines, nobody could compete on this battlefield.

Making the Switch a handheld was an extension of this idea, but it came with risks, most notedly that of performance. Relying on small physical size, battery life, and limited cooling, the Switch couldn’t even compete with the PS4 in terms of power, let alone the coming systems. Thing is, Nintendo understands that polygons aren’t everything.

For an illustration of their approach, consider a similar path taken by online casino websites like The titles on this website like Dynamite Digger and The Snowman don’t rely on cutting-edge 3D graphics that take even powerful computers to their knees, and they don’t have to. Online casinos understand that fun and popularity are about understanding style and gameplay, and with this knowledge, they created some of the best-looking casino games around, which is exactly the path Nintendo took.

On the Switch, Super Mario Odyssey is a strong illustration of this concept in action. The latest in the mainline Mario platformers isn’t full of eye-searing effects, and it doesn’t need to be. Instead, it goes for a deliberate and clean style that relies on gameplay as its strength. While other console games increasingly stagnate as they focus on graphics foremost, Nintendo innovates.

With hardware refreshes along the line of the New 3DS, we’ll likely see the Switch as the backbone of Nintendo consoles until at least 2025. By then, the other systems will no doubt be better at leveraging their hardware to bring new standards to console graphics. On the other hand, there’s also no doubt that the Switch games will more than compete on gameplay and style, and that the system will still lead the pack. 100 million down, and we’re just getting started. Look out PS2, the Switch is coming.