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This Console Nearly Outsold The Wii U In Just Over A Year

In December 2020, the Wii U began trending on Twitter. While the impetus for discussion of the console was a supposed game announcement that turned out to be false, some users took the opportunity to generally express their appreciation for the system. The Wii U famously flopped (and led to the high stakes creation of the Nintendo Switch), so many of those tweets acknowledged that the console was a lot of fun, even though it underperformed. Following a financial report released by Nintendo that includes data from the end of 2020, the Wii U's financial failure has become even clearer due to the sales figures now available for the Switch Lite.


In total, the Switch Lite sold approximately 13,530,000 units since its release in September 2019. Also included in the report was that, between April and December 2020, the Switch Lite sold 7,330,000 units. This means that more than half of its total sales so far have occurred during the ongoing pandemic. While there were periodic shortages of Switch consoles mid-pandemic, this seems to indicate that demand persisted in spite of those shortages.

By comparison, the Wii U has sold a total of approximately 13,560,000 units, which is the lowest amount of total sales for any major Nintendo system. The Switch on the whole has already far outpaced the Wii U, having sold approximately 79,870,000 units to date. That number is also likely to rise. as long as the Switch remains Nintendo's latest available console. Now, however, it's public knowledge that the Switch Lite makes up roughly 17% of total Switch sales, and it is on pace to soon overtake the Wii U after less than a year and a half on the market.


Furthermore, Nintendo's recent financial report included some data on game sales from that same period. Of the first party Nintendo titles it mentioned, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was Nintendo's best seller. Between April and December 2020, the game sold approximately 19,410,000 units, leading to a grand total of 31,180,000 copies. Ongoing holiday updates, like one for a recent New Year's celebration, could be one contributing factor to Animal Crossing's persistent popularity. By comparison, Paper Mario: The Origami King sold approximately 3,050,000 units in total.

The popularity of these and other first party games are likely part of the reason why the cheaper and more portable version of the Nintendo Switch has now sold an amount comparable to a stand-alone console.