Nintendo Switch Fastest-Selling Console Ever in Japan, Tops PS2 First-Year Sales

Nintendo Switch sales

When the Nintendo Switch first hit the market, the company quickly declared it was their fastest-selling console ever, but those boasts weren’t based on a whole lot of data – the “fastest-selling” crown was awarded after only two days. How has the Switch held up since? The answer is “very well,” at least in Japan.

According to the most recent Media Create sales data, the Switch has sold more units in its first 10 months on the Japanese market than any other console, ever. That includes all Nintendo and Sony consoles (Microsoft isn’t really a factor there). The Switch has narrowly edged out the PlayStation 2 to claim the fastest-selling crown, moving 3,258,000 units from March till December, compared to around 3,017,000 units for the PS2 (the PS2 launched on March 4 in Japan, while the Switch launched on March 3, so it’s a fair comparison).

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Here’s a month-by-month PS2/Switch comparison. As you can see, the PS2 got off to a better start, but the Switch picked up later in the year, while the PS2 dropped off. Those December Switch sales are particularly monstrous:

Month PS2 Sales Switch Sales
March 885,023 524,371
April 512,953 234,817
May 227,725 127,314
June 298,880 129,971
July 367,190 294,311
August 223,882 254,489
September 157,613 168,810
October 116,440 307,138
November 62,025 372,619
December 164,950 844,243 (first 4 weeks)
Total 3,016,662 3,258,083

The Japanese gaming market may be smaller than those in North America or Europe, but it still matters, as a lot of Japanese publishers continue to base most of their decisions on how consoles sell in their home country. The Switch’s success across the Pacific means we’ll likely see strong support from companies like Square Enix, Capcom, Sega, Bandai Namco, and Atlus.

Of course, the PS2 remains the most popular console of all time, with over 155 million units sold. Will the Nintendo Switch be able to keep pace with Sony’s seemingly-untouchable juggernaut? It’s a tall order, but, so far, the Switch’s momentum only seems to be building. If Nintendo hits their 20 million Switch sales goal next year, they'll be well on their way.

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