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In brief: The Nintendo Switch has closed the gap on the PlayStation 2 for the title of best-selling video game console of all time. Nintendo's newly published financial results reveal that the hybrid handheld sold 139.36 million units as of December 31, 2023. That means it needs to sell around 15 million more to catch up with the PS2 and become Nintendo's most popular gaming device ever, beating the Nintendo DS handheld series.
Nintendo writes that it shipped another 6.9 million Switch units during the last quarter: 3.48 million Switch OLEDs, 1.27 million Switch Lite models, and 2.15 million standard Switch consoles. While that does represent a year-on-year decrease of 6%, the decline is smaller than expected. The company noted that it was pleased with the stable sales, given that the Switch is now in its seventh year of release.
Nintendo has actually increased its forecast for Switch sales across the entire fiscal year, which ends in March. The previous 15 million estimate has been raised by half a million to 15.5 million.
The Switch's lifetime sales of just under 140 million mean it is now 14 million units behind the second-place Nintendo DS series on the list of best-selling consoles ever. The PlayStation 2, meanwhile, is top with over 155 million.
Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa previously said that the Nintendo Switch would be the company's main business through to the end of the fiscal year in March. His statement suggests that Nintendo will then start moving its attention to the Switch 2.
There have been numerous reports suggesting the Switch's successor will finally launch this year, including news that hundreds of developers are now working on games for the upcoming console. We recently heard from an analyst that the new device will feature an 8-inch LCD when it launches, with Nintendo likely saving the OLED screen for a later model.
There's no indication of when this year the Switch 2 will launch. The original Switch arrived on March 3, 2017, though most expect the next-gen model to arrive in the second half of 2024. Whether its launch scuppers the Switch's chances of taking the PS2's crown as best-selling console ever remains to be seen.
Elsewhere in the report, Nintendo wrote that the number of annual playing Switch users increased to an all-time high of 122 million last year. Software sales reached 163.95 million, with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom the top game (20.28 million units sold), followed by Super Mario Bros. Wonder (11.96 million) and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (6.7 million).