Nintendo Switch outsells 3DS as Animal Crossing and Smash pass 30m

Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch outsells 3DS as Animal Crossing and Smash pass 30m

The Nintendo Switch has now leapfrogged the 3DS and continues to thrive despite now being the oldest of the three home consoles. Not quite reaching 80 million by the end of 2020, Nintendo's sole console in production reached 79.87 million console units sold.

Revealed earlier today in their latest set of financial earnings for the nine-month period ending December 31 2020 (Q3), there were impressive performances for a number of Switch games to match the console sales. While Animal Crossing: New Horizon hasn't quite toppled Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as the best-selling Nintendo Switch game yet, the island sim has caught up in just nine very long months. At the end of 2020, Animal Crossing had managed to shift 31.8 million units, just shy of Mario Kart's 33.41 million units sold.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons - our review from last year

Behind those two, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has now shifted 22.85 million units, with launch title The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild passing 20 million this last quarter (21.45 million in total). The only other titles to pass the 20 million mark are Pokémon Sword and Shield - making them the first Pokémon game since Gold and Silver to surpass the 20 million mark - while the other is a familiar face, is Super Mario Odyssey (20.23 million units).

Super Mario 3D All-Stars has now reached 8.32 million units, slowing down after shifting 5 million at the end of September, while over 29 Nintendo Switch titles have now sold over one million copies, with not all of them being first-party titles.

Like the previous financial results we've seen over the past 9 months from the company, the last set were released back in October with Animal Crossing and Super Mario 3D All-Stars shining, software and hardware sales are up across the board on the year before. Hardware sales have seen a 35.8% increase year-on-year (24.10 million units in this quarter) while software sales are up 43% (176.10 million) on the previous year.

While digital sales saw a 104.9% increase compared to the same period in 2019, it follows the trend we have seen in previous financial figures for 2020. With outlets shut and many people forced to stay at home, downloadable software is a much more viable option.

Pokémon Sword and Shield became the first games in the series to surpass 20 million units sold since Gold and Silver, which came out in 1999.

The performance of the Kyoto-based company has been driven largely by Animal Crossing in 2020, but with upcoming games like Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury, Monster Hunter Rise, Pokémon Snap, Bravely Default II and any potential Zelda anniversary plans, Q4 could be shaping up to be another strong quarter for Nintendo.

Production halted on the 3DS last September - we rounded up our favourite 3DS games when the news was announced - so it's kind of fitting that the Switch moved past it on the best-selling console lists. Where will it finish this financial year, above the Gameboy Advance (81.51 million) for sure, is still a mystery, but it the Switch looks certain to pass 100 million consoles sold at some point in 2021.

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