The Nintendo Switch is now the third best-selling console of all time, surpassing both the Sony PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Game Boy in total lifetime units sold. Nintendos third quarter earnings report shows that the Switch, Switch OLED, and Switch Lite sold a combined 8.2 million units between October 1 and December 31, 2022, bringing the total lifetime of the console to 122.55 million units since its release in 2017.
Nintendo is going to raise wages for Japanese employees by 10 percent, despite a drop in quarterly revenue
Nintendo subsequently lowered its year-end forecasts for both hardware and software sales in light of these declines, but also announced plans to increase salaries by 10 percent for current and future employees in Japan. Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said raising wages will help bolster the company’s hiring power, following similar moves from other major Japanese companies amid an increasingly tight labor market.
In August last year, Nintendo reported that production for the Switch console was impacted by the global shortage of chips, causing shipments and overall sales to fall. Production levels have apparently since recovered, and Nintendo recently predicted that sales will increase in 2023 due to the increased supply. However, it now appears that an overall drop in demand for the Switch may also have contributed to the disappointing sales figures. “The result was weak and that is a surprise. The holiday season at the end of the year suggested hardware sales weren’t as strong despite increased supply, which also weakened software sales. Toyo Securities analyst Hideki Yasuda said to Bloomberg. “It’s now clear that the Switch’s momentum is down.”
The Switch now ranks third for worldwide unit sales behind the Nintendo DS and PlayStation 2
Despite its waning popularity, the Switch still has a way to go to become the best-selling console of all time. The Nintendo DS is therefore in second place 154 million copies sold – a figure that doesn’t include the 75.9 million units reported for the Nintendo 3DS – while the Sony Playstation 2 reigns supreme with more than 155 million reported sales units.
Nintendo could still increase demand for the Switch by releasing special edition models of the console alongside major upcoming releases, such as The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. As Yasuda predicts, “If Nintendo prepares at least two special editions, it could still sell more than 20 million units in the next fiscal year.” There’s also a chance that Nintendo will release a “Switch Pro” model in the future, which could be included alongside unit sales for the OLED, Lite, and original Switch models – giving the console a better chance of reaching the PS2 to dethrone.
Interestingly, one of the few areas where Nintendo saw significant growth was playing cards, which grossed 4.1 billion yen (approximately $31.1 million) between April 1 and December 31, 2022, up from 2.1 billion yen (approximately $15.9 million) reported for the same period last year. That’s meager revenue compared to the total 1.295 billion yen (about $9.8 billion) earned from sales of video games (including hardware, games and software), but that 88 percent increase suggests that the explosive popularity of Pokémon cards last year was not overhyped.