Nintendo Switch overtook the SNES' lifetime sales over the holidays

The Switch Lite's launch pushed the hybrid console's sales over 52 million, while Pokemon Sword and Shield sold more than 16 million copies.

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Sean Keane
2 min read

The Nintendo Switch is now the company's third most successful console.

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Nintendo has sold 52.48 Switches since its 2017 launch, its quarterly earnings report revealed Thursday, bringing it beyond the Super Nintendo Entertainment System's (SNES) 49.1 million lifetime sales. Before the holidays, the hybrid console had sold 41.67 million units, meaning it saw a jump of 10.81 million over the last quarter.

Beating the SNES makes it the Japanese company's third-most-popular console. It has yet to topple the NES' 61.91 million sales and the Wii's 101.63 million. The Wii is the fourth best-selling console overall -- Sony's PS2 is the most successful with sales of 155 million.

A more detailed breakdown shows that, of the 52.48 million Switches sold, the standard version of the console made up 47.3 million units and the more compact, portable-only Switch Lite (which came out in September 2019) sold 5.19 million units. 

Watch this: Nintendo Switch Lite: 1 month later

Nintendo sold more than 830,000 Switches in the US over the Thanksgiving weekend alone, it said last month.

The Switch's major holiday game, Pokemon Sword and Shield, has sold 16.06 million copies since its November launch. That means it's getting close to the lifetime sales of previous Pokemon games Sun and Moon, which sold 16.18 million, and X & Y, which sold 16.44 million.

Later this year, Sword and Shield is getting a pair of expansions that'll add some of fans' favorite Pokemon back into the game, which could boost sales further.

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe remains the Switch's top selling game, with 22.96 million copies sold, because it's hard to resist the allure of dropping a banana peel in front of your buddies as they race up behind you.

You can actually play a bunch of SNES games on Switch through Nintendo's $20-a-year subscription service, if you want to celebrate the console's sales milestone.

First published at 3:07 a.m. PT.
Updated at 3:58 a.m. PT: Adds more detail.