Zelda, Mario and Pikmin give Nintendo a boost as Switch sales continue to dwindle

It sold 19.5 million copies of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom within its first four months.

Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Nintendo's digital game sales are helping the company continue to perform well as the Switch nears the end of its tenure as its flagship console. In its latest earnings report (PDF) from March to September 2023, Nintendo has revealed that it sold 19.5 million copies of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, which was released in May. It also sold 2.61 million units of Pikmin 4 after it came out in July, while Mario Kart 8 Deluxe posted 3.22 million more in unit sales after The Super Mario Bros. Movie was shown in April. Nintendo has sold 57.01 million copies of the kart racing game so far.

The gaming company says other Switch titles also continued to grow steadily, including those from other publishers, and that there were 16 games that posted sales of millions of units for the aforementioned period alone. In all, the company's digital sales amounted to 217.5 billion Yen ($1.45 billion) from March to September, which is almost 16 percent higher than its digital sales for the same timespan last year.

"As a result of these factors," Nintendo says, its unit sales for the entire Switch family rose by 2.4 percent year-on-year to 6.84 million units. The only model that sold well and brought the average up, however, was the Switch OLED console. Nintendo sold 32.8 percent more Switch OLEDs this period compared to last year, but it only moved 1.25 million units of the basic Switch model, representing a 44 percent decrease in sales year-on-year. The decrease in sales for the Switch Lite wasn't quite as dramatic, but Nintendo still sold 1.9 percent fewer units.

Going forward, Nintendo intends to release more games so as to entice people to keep playing on the Switch and to buy more than one console for their homes. For this holiday season, it has a few releases in pipeline, including WarioWare: Move It!, Super Mario RPG and add-on content for Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet. Nintendo is expected to release its new flagship console sometime next year and has reportedly started showing developers the upcoming device's ray-tracing capabilities and other more advanced technologies.