Nintendo is ending the year on a high note, setting a new sales record that could be a good indicator of how big the console can grow in the years to come. They managed to surpass the PlayStation 2's first-year sales.
The folks at Famitsu (via Polygon) have pulled together the year-ending sales figures for the Nintendo Switch, explaining that nearly 900,000 consoles had been sold in Japan throughout December. All told, that brings the Switch's worldwide tally to 3.3 million units sold during 2017, which outpaces the first year figure for the PlayStation 2.
Keep in mind that the Switch launched several months into 2017, so that doesn't even account for a full year's worth of sales yet. What's truly significant about the comparison to the PlayStation 2 is that Sony's last-last-gen machine is the highest selling console of all time. If the Switch is setting a faster pace at this point in the game, there's the potential that Nintendo's new console/handheld hybrid is on target to steal away the crown.
Also worth pointing out is the fact that, with 3.3 million consoles sold over the course of about 10 months, the Switch has officially eclipsed its predecessor's lifetime figure. Over the course of five years, the Wii U did not match what the Switch has pulled off from March to December of 2017.
The original story points out that the PlayStation 2 actually dominated the Switch's first-month sales totals by nearly double. Then again, that is most likely due to a matter of supply. Given how ravenous people were for the Switch, we feel Nintendo would have had little trouble selling another 400,000 units were they actually on store shelves. And since the Switch's supply has been pretty low in general through much of the year, those 2017 figures are all the more impressive. You can walk into just about any store and find one nowadays and, as more games keep rolling out for the console, we expect Nintendo's momentum to continue growing.
Still, the Switch has its work cut out for it if it hopes to catch up to the PlayStation 2. Sony's legendary console totaled more than 155 million sales over about a 10-year period. That's a lofty goal, but we figure Nintendo has another nine years to figure out new ways to keep consumers coming back for more.
The biggest lesson we hope they've learned here is that support, from both first and third parties, truly matters. With Zelda and Mario leading the charge, it has been a fantastic first year for the Switch. Still, we doubt so many people would have been willing to adopt early were it not for a library bolstered by plenty of third party and indie games. Here's hoping that lesson sticks and the trend continues into the coming years.