Console Wars —

Nintendo’s Switch becomes the third-bestselling console ever

The PlayStation 2 is still the bestselling console of all time.

Promotional images for upgraded handheld video game system.
Enlarge / The Nintendo Switch (OLED model).

During its latest earnings report to investors, Nintendo revealed that its Switch game console sold 8.2 million units in the final three months of 2022, bringing the total number of Switch consoles sold to 122.55 million. That uptick slides the Switch—which launched in March 2017—into the slot for the third-bestselling game console in history.

The two consoles ahead of it are the Nintendo DS handheld, in second place with 154 million total units sold, and Sony's PlayStation 2 home console, in first place by a hair at a bit more than 155 million units. The recent series of sales allowed it to surpass the Game Boy and the Game Boy Color, which together sold 118.69 million, and Sony's PlayStation 4 (just over 117 million) for the top spot.

So the Switch is a distant third. Truth be told, it might not be around long enough to make it to the second- or first-place milestones.

Other than the PlayStation 4, the Switch is the only console in the top five that is still being manufactured—though PlayStation 4 production has slowed to a trickle, and it has reportedly only still been manufactured recently because Sony was having so much trouble meeting demand for the PlayStation 5. But since PlayStation 5 supply seems to finally be meeting or exceeding demand in many regions, the PlayStation 4 surely has very little, if any, runway left at this stage.

The Switch, on the other hand, is still Nintendo's latest, and no successor has even been announced, much less released, so it probably has many months left in it. It's not clear if there will be enough for it to surpass the DS or the PlayStation 4, though. Sales of the Switch have slowed notably of late, and should that trend continue, it could nudge Nintendo to move forward with a successor.

At six years old—and with a drastic technology deficit compared to the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 to boot—we wouldn't be surprised to learn before too terribly long that the Switch is approaching the twilight of its cycle as well. It could happen tomorrow, or it could happen in two more years—but it's definitely going to happen sooner than later.

Nintendo has scheduled a new Nintendo Direct livestream today at 5 pm ET. The company says the stream will be about 40 minutes long, but new hardware isn't likely, as Nintendo tweeted that the stream will be "mostly focused on #NintendoSwitch games launching in the first half of 2023."

Channel Ars Technica