Switch To Success: 20 Years Of Nintendo Console Sales

Source: Nintendo

The next generation made up of the Game Boy Advance (2001) and Nintendo GameCube (2001) saw slightly lower sales numbers but was competing against Microsoft’s gaming debut with the original Xbox (2001) and Sony’s incredibly popular Playstation 2 (2000).

While the GameCube sold 21.7 million total units and the original Xbox sold ~24 million total units, the Playstation 2 dominated this generation and is still the best-selling video game console of all time with 155 million units sold.

The Sales Success of the Wii and Nintendo DS

As Sony and Microsoft pushed HD rendering and higher graphical fidelity in their next generation of consoles, Nintendo focused on how games were played rather than raw power.

This brought about the Nintendo DS (2004), which added a second touch screen for developers to build games around, and the Nintendo Wii (2006), which pioneered motion controls and accessibility with the simpler Wii Remote controller.

Both the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii were runaway successes, dominating their generation with more than 255 million combined consoles sold.

At the same time, Sony had tried to replicate Nintendo’s strategy with handheld consoles of their own, the PSP (2004) and PS Vita (2011), and while they sold 80 million units and ~10-15 million units respectively, Sony ultimately abandoned the handheld console market.

The Sales Slump of the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U

Nintendo was clearly the king of the handheld console market. While mobile phones were feared to be a portable console killer, the Nintendo 3DS sold well when it released in 2011 (75.94 million units) and was Nintendo’s saving grace for its generation.

What didn’t hold up well was Nintendo’s home console follow-up to the Wii, the Wii U. The console only reached 13.56 million lifetime sales, and was quickly overshadowed by the Playstation 4 (113.5 million units sold) and Xbox One (~51 million units sold) releases in 2013.

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