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2020 Was A Great Year For The Nintendo Switch

Perhaps more so than any other console, the Nintendo Switch has defined gaming thus far during the ongoing pandemic. Early on, the popularity of the Switch and some coinciding production complications led to shortages at many retailers, both brick-and-mortar and online. The advent of next-gen gaming consoles, and in particular the historic success of the PS5 launch, likewise impacted the current day gaming landscape. However, some new data shows that, at least sales-wise, Microsoft and Sony's flagship consoles can't hold a candle to the trusty old Switch.


Streamer and video game journalist Stealth shared one particularly notable statistic translated from an article in Famitsu, which tracked video game sales in Japan from Dec. 21 to Jan. 3, 2020. Not only did the Switch outsell the PS4 and PS5 combined, but its 590,000 units sold tower over the 30,000 PS4 and 23,000 PS5 units sold during the same stretch of time. Furthermore, all ten of the best-selling physical games in Japan during the same period of time were for the Switch.

GamesIndustry.biz's Christopher Dring likewise posted a first look at some data tracking console sales in the U.K. in 2020. Though he has yet to share exact numbers, which are in the process of being verified before their inclusion in an annually-published report, the preview he shared to Twitter paints a similarly clear picture of the Switch dominating U.K. markets. The number of PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles sold last year in the UK combined, according to Dring, is just about equal to the total number of Switch units sold. Even with multiple PS5 units being stolen in the UK, those numbers are impressive.


This data isn't without precedent. Early analysis of what was expected to be the best-selling console of the 2020 Holiday season predicted that the Nintendo Switch would overtake its direct competitors in the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. Now the new data shared by Famitsu via Stealth and GamesIndustry.biz via Dring confirms that, in Japan and the U.K. at least, that was definitely the case.

Reports from around last January, by comparison, suggested that 2020 might become a bad year for the Switch. Naturally, these reports failed to account for the lockdown and quarantine conditions that would soon be implemented around the world. The Switch rising in popularity amidst the ongoing pandemic could account for this disparity, or Nintendo could simply still be very good at making video games.