Switch To Success: 20 Years Of Nintendo Console Sales

The Wii U’s weak sales brought about one of Nintendo’s worst periods ever in recent history, with two unprofitable years for the company in 2012 and 2014. While developers previously flocked to create games for the Wii’s motion controls, the Wii U’s tablet controller didn’t attract the same kind of innovative software development.

Nintendo’s Net Income Since 2000

Year Net Income (USD)
2000 $490 M
2001 $734 M
2002 $896 M
2003 $627 M
2004 $324 M
2005 $742 M
2006 $827 M
2007 $1,561 M
2008 $2,838 M
2009 $3,003 M
2010 $2,819 M
Year Net Income (USD)
2011 $1,010 M
2012 -$498 M
2013 $67 M
2014 -$194 M
2015 $348 M
2016 $141 M
2017 $910 M
2018 $1,273 M
2019 $1,787 M
2020 $2,500 M

Source: Nintendo

How the Nintendo Switch Unified Nintendo’s Strategies

With the Wii U’s poor performance leaving Nintendo in a tough spot, the next console release was crucial to the success of the company.

The Nintendo Switch came just in time in 2017 as the Wii U’s sales dried up, and the new hybrid home and the portable console was an instant success. By the end of 2018’s fiscal year, the Switch had already outsold the Wii U with 17 million units sold.

While the Nintendo Switch sales success story came largely from how it unified home and handheld gaming, the console brought to fruition many of Nintendo’s strategies and technical decisions over the generations.

Many of the Wii Remote’s abilities are still present in the Switch’s Joy-Cons, with built-in accelerometers and gyroscopes for motion controls, along with the ability to rotate them sideways for a more classic controller configuration. The Nintendo DS’s touch screen permeated many Nintendo consoles and is still present in the Switch, and looking back at the Wii U’s tablet controller, it now seems like an early prototype for the Switch’s free-form portability.

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