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Nintendo Switch dominates Wii as sales surpass 100 million

The hybrid console has also overtaken Sony's original PlayStation, and the newest Pokemon games have sold millions of copies.

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The combined sales of Nintendo's Switch Lite, original Switch and OLED Switch make it the company's most successful home console.
Scott Stein/CNET

Nintendo sold 103.54 million Switch game consoles from its 2017 launch to the end of 2021, the Japanese company's earnings report revealed Thursday. That brings the hybrid console beyond the lifetime sales of the Nintendo Wii (101.63 million) and the original Sony PlayStation (102.49 million).

The Switch is now Nintendo's most popular console. And it's the third best-selling console overall: Sony's PS2 is the most successful with sales of 155 million and the PS4 has sold 116.6 million so far. 

However, the Switch has a ways to go to become Nintendo's most successful gaming device, since the DS handheld towers above it with 154.02 million lifetime sales. The Game Boy and Game Boy Color handhelds also had combined sales of 118.69 million.

The Switch seemingly has plenty of time to catch up though. Nintendo boss Shuntaro Furukawa noted that the console "is at the mid-point of its lifecycle" due to the multiple models available.

"We believe a foundation for growth has been laid that exceeds what we previously considered to be a conventional hardware lifecycle," he said in a briefing.

A more detailed breakdown shows that, of the 103.54 million Switches sold, the standard version of the console made up 81.68 million units, the portable-only Switch Lite (which launched in 2019) sold 17.87 million units and the OLED model (which came out last October) has sold 3.99 million units.

Nintendo of America's president, Doug Bowser, thanked fans for their support in a tweet Thursday.

"A picture is worth over 103 million smiles!" he wrote with a screenshot of the Switch's sales numbers. 

The Switch's sales have also been hampered by production challenges created by the global chip shortage, with Nintendo previously cutting its Switch sales forecast for 2021 by 1.5 million consoles.

Mario Kart 8 remains the top selling Switch game, with 43.35 million copies sold, followed by Animal Crossing: New Horizons (37.62 million) and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (27.40 million).

Newer releases are shifting plenty of copies too, particularly those in the wildly popular Pokemon series. Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl sold 13.97 million copies worldwide from its November release to the end of December, while Pokemon Legends: Arceus has sold 6.5 million copies since its release last Friday.

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