The Switch has outsold the PS4, but Nintendo sees tougher times ahead

It's now only behind the DS and PlayStation 2.


The Switch just leaped over both the Game Boy and PlayStation 4 to become the third best-selling console of all time. The console has sold 122.55 million units overall as of the end of 2022, Nintendo announced in its earnings report, so it's is now behind only the DS and PlayStation 2 in lifetime sales.

That's the only silver lining in a darker cloud, though. Switch unit sales for the nine-month period ending December 31st dropped to 14.91 million from 18.95 million the year before, and revenue declined 5.6 percent for the fiscal year ending in March. Game sales also fell by 4 percent over the same period, with the new Pokemon Scarlet/Violet titles (which totalled an impressive 20.61 million units) unable to offset the decline. As a result, the company has lowered its fiscal year forecast from 19 million to 18 million units with 5 million fewer games — continuing a downward trend from last year.

Nintendo attributed the decline to the ongoing semiconductor shortage, with the lack of consoles affecting software sales too. However, Sony set a new sales record for PS5s last quarter with 7.1 million sold, up 82 percent year-over year.

Nintendo's issues likely boil down to its aging hardware, as well. Buyers are going for the latest OLED model, with the older Switch and Switch Lite models seeing a decline. The Switch is now relatively underpowered compared to the latest Xbox Series and PS5 consoles, and Sony and Microsoft are also pouring money into games and subscriptions.

Nintendo said last year that the transition to its next console is "a major focus for us," and it could start becoming more urgent soon. It'll be interesting to see if the Switch can hang around long enough to become the best selling console of all time, but Nintendo will have to sell around 33 million more units to surpass the PlayStation 2.