Long-lasting appeal: Nintendo's hybrid Switch console was first released in 2017, and ever since, the device has sold like hotcakes. Even now, three years later, the console is selling better than expected: between July and September, the gaming company managed to ship a whopping 6.86 million Switch units.

That number accounts for both the standard Switch and the cheaper, handheld-only Switch Lite console. The Switch Lite's affordability opened up this segment of the console gaming market to an entirely new audience, so its success is perhaps unsurprising.

All in all, Nintendo has sold an astounding 68.83 million units since the Switch's launch three years ago, which is simply incredible for a device that launched during the latter half of the current-gen console life cycle.

As The Verge reports, the 6.86 million figure mentioned before represents year-over-year growth of 40 percent, which is again quite solid performance for a weaker console.

The Covid-19 pandemic undoubtedly played at least some role in Nintendo's strong results here, of course. With more and more people staying at home throughout mid and late 2020, everyone has been looking for ways to keep themselves -- and their families -- entertained.

The Nintendo Switch is a fantastic way to accomplish that goal, with long-lasting smash-hits like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Super Mario Odyssey available in its catalog.

We look forward to seeing whether or not Nintendo's Switch sales growth will rise throughout 2021 with new competition from Sony and Microsoft. If we had to guess, we'd say the lower-end console will probably be just as successful as before.

After all, it fits into its own niche that neither of its competitors have really bothered to delve into lately -- affordable, family-friendly gaming that you can take on the go.