The Nintendo Switch has passed the SNES in lifetime sales

The Switch just had its strongest quarter yet.

Nintendo sold 10.81 million Switch consoles last quarter, bringing lifetime sales to 52.48 million. That's a 15 percent increase on the 9.41 million units it sold in the same quarter 12 months prior, and the best three-month period since the console launched in 2017. With over 50 million lifetime sales, the Switch has now surpassed the iconic Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The console's next target is the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which managed 61.91 million sales.

Nintendo had a financial year (April 2019 to March 2020) target of 18 million Switch sales. The company sits as 17.74 million sales for the first three quarters, though, and has now upped that target to 19.5 million.

Hardware sales were undoubtedly buoyed by the Switch Lite, Nintendo's cheaper and handheld-only system. The Nintendo 3DS family, though, is effectively retired -- it managed just 260,000 sales during the quarter.

New releases such as Ring Fit Adventure, Luigi's Mansion 3 and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 probably helped, too. Nintendo highlighted Pokémon Sword and Shield in particular, which have already sold 16.06 million units since their release last November. They're now the fifth best-selling Switch release of all time, behind The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. These titles, alongside smaller games such as Little Town Hero, pushed software sales to 64.64 million during the holidays.

With the holidays far behind us, Nintendo's momentum will slow down again. The Switch faithful have plenty of new releases to be excited about this quarter, though. The company has just published Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore, an updated version of the Japanese role-playing game that originally came out on Wii U. The company is also prepping Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, a remake of two games, Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team, that were released for the Nintendo DS and Game Body Advance respectively in 2005. Finally, Nintendo has the highly anticipated Animal Crossing: New Horizons dropping on March 20.