If you follow our regular Japanese chart updates, you'll probably already be aware that the Nintendo Switch had a fantastic 2019 in its home country. The console was consistently on top in terms of both hardware and software, and we can now start to analyse its performance in comparison to previous years.
Rounding up Famitsu's yearly chart information, MCV reports that the Switch and Switch Lite managed to sell an estimated 4,494,000 combined units in Japan alone last year. What's particularly impressive here is that the Switch Lite managed to break the one million mark despite only launching in September.
Comparing this to Switch's sales in 2018 reveals a 29% leap; interestingly, Nintendo's biggest rival in the region, Sony, saw its year-on-year estimated sales fall by the very same 29% - or 29.5% to be more precise. The PS4 sold an estimated 773,773 units with the PS4 Pro selling 422,380 units, giving Nintendo a 75% share of all hardware sales for the year.
Similarly successful was Pokémon Sword and Shield, the biggest release of the year in Japan for both Nintendo and the entire industry. The two titles sold an estimated 2,988,134 units despite launching in November, comfortably beating the second-best performer - Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - by almost 2 million copies.
Can we expect a similarly strong 2020? Let's hope so!
[source mcvuk.com, via gamesindustry.biz]
Makes sense. Switch is at the top of its game, despite me personally thinking that the games just haven’t been there last year. PS4 is winding down in time for PS5.
This is normal since the PS4 is around for 6 years. The Switch is making huge amazing sales now but I wonder what will happen at the end of this year.
My guess is that the PS5 sales will start as a huge nuclear explosion!
Switch will outsell the ps4 in the end.but the switch pro or whatever it's going to be called will help the switch during the ps5 era till Nintendo does their next console
This news almost sounds like common sense! Oh wait it is.
I am very interested to see how many units were sold of sword and shield at the end of January, seems like a lot.
@Zuljaras Console gaming in Japan is on the decline has been for years . Switch has sold more than PS4 in total sales and is still growing year on year. PS5 will sale well in Japan i just dont believe it will surpass what PS4 has sold.
I know it is nice to see how well consoles are selling against the competition but I think there are a lot of factors involved and it doesn’t paint the full picture.
Personally I would like to see some journalism into the console figures as a whole. Is gaming growing? Are there more people playing games today than last year or are there less? How is mobile gaming affecting this? Are people priced out and stuck on old gens? Are these consoles selling better than last gen, etc
I know that might not be what Nintendo Life is about, but looking specifically at Nintendo it would be good to see their total market share, how engaged their audience is and what their profitability is like.
There are quite a few things we could look into that are more than just figures like this.
PlayStation/traditional console gaming is dying in Japan, we've known this for over 15 years. The PS4, despite having much better Japanese console exclusives this generation compared to the PS3, is still not selling all that well over there. PS2 sold just over 23 million units in Japan, but PS3 only managed 10 million, and PS4 is selling about the same pace as PS3, with 8 million sold, currently. It's no wonder Sony recently moved their PlayStation HQ from Japan to California when you read things like this.
@Kienda I can answer you that just from interpreting the numbers given. (and knowing that Vita/Xbox/3DS sales are insignificant over the last two years in that territory) Yes, it's definitely growing in Japan, with total hardware sales significantly higher than last year across all consoles.
On top of that software sales is up as well, though that's not specifically stated in the article. Can't answer the mobile gaming thing (don't think anyone can, truly), but clearly people aren't stuck on old gens. The sales are also up across the board from last gen... depending on how you define it. 3DS + Wii U for example is being outsold by Switch, while the Wii would be ahead of it most likely as it sold the majority of it's 100 million in the first 4 years before sales died.
Suffice to say, gaming is probably in the healthiest growth cycle we've seen in awhile, and the decrease in sales for PS4 doesn't mean much considering that follows the natural sales pattern for EOL systems.
Kinda sad that Pokemon was the only million seller at retail in 2019 in Japan.
2020 should be better with Animal Crossing New Horizons and FFVII Remake launching fairly early in the year.
Pokemon Ultra Sword/Ultra Shield would be a million seller at retail in 2020 if it hadn't been converted to an expansion pass.
@nessisonett PS4 is winding down in time for PS5.
Misleading at best here. No it's because Gamers want something Portable and how they want to game. Japan is on the move populations so what else would suit what they need aka Switch. Need say more.
@link3710 the decrease in sales for PS4 doesn't mean much considering that follows the natural sales pattern for EOL systems.
Then they should come out and say that but they didn't so people are starting to think they think for Sony now. EOL happens when they announce the release of the PS5 not before.
@SwitchForce Uh... Yes. And when was the PS5 first announced? Oh right, April 2019.
@SwitchForce Oh dear you got me. I’m actually a representative from Sony, here to mislead the public and steal money away from Nintendo. Congratulations, you’re clearly a very canny person as you’ve cracked the case.
Horay for Nintendo, congrats on Pokémon sales, well deserved Nintendo.
Japan loves portability.
Switch is the Best choice for Japanese players. 😘
Can't read those Pokemon sales as anything other than bad news. Pokemon is now the runner-up for laziest "AAA" release currently in play, trailing only Fallout 76, but on the flip side, Pokemon was developed by the best funded developer on earth, so all in all, Gamefreak still has Bethesda beat in terms of their b*s*.
@SwitchForce Japan might be, but that's ... like 1% of the population, so ... We oughta be thankful that Japan moving to mobile does not mean everyone else does, too.
It’s apples and oranges trying to compare PlayStation to Nintendo at vastly different times in their console’s lives.
Either way, it’s a great time to be a gamer! The Switch got me back into gaming, and I just bought a cheap PS4 and have been blown away by the number of incredible games. Lucky us!
Wow. This place feels like the 90s. Console wars
What's the global lifetime sales at 45m or nearer 50m now?
Yes the PS4 is winding down at the end of its lifespan - but that doesn't mean the Switch hasn't been outstanding! Because it has. There has been one home run after another for Switch since the console dropped. We've only had, maybe, 2 dry periods. Once for a couple weeks after launch when Switch was "The BotW machine" and then a slow couple months in early 2018. But that's pretty much it.
Every game isn't for everyone, but there is a game for everyone and then some!
My favorite console of all time! No doubt! But there are still a few tweaks I really wish they'd make.
@Ralek85 sadly this is the minority thinking. Unlike those embracing "New" tech. I know it's scary concept to accept the "what's new" but trust me you be more happier for it.
@link3710 so then you must have the PS5 already there.
Don't take anything away from the Switch just because the PS4 is winding down. Very impressive for the Switch to have surpassed the PS4 in a rather short period of time without any real price drops.
I don't get the comparisons here. PS4 is very much at the end of it's lifecycle and has likely just about reached market saturation given the PS4 total sales, while Switch is barely mid-stride and still growing.
Why not just report the Switch is doing good?
@SwitchForce stares Are you trying to troll me? I said it was announced in April 2019. I didn't say it was released. Nowhere did anyone discuss when it was released, or anything about its release date.
Since Handheld gaming is so big in Japan i wish Microsoft and Sony would go the Nintendo way and make hybrid consoles like the Switch. Imagine playing games like Uncharted and Gears Of War in the go
If Nintendo had announced a Switch Pro or Switch 2 for this Fall, the Switch's sales number would be dowm too.
@SwitchForce your kinda dim aren’t you?
This seems like a very fanboyish article, why did you need to compare it with the ps4?
@SwitchForce he said mobile. As in cell phones.
So you support Nintendos cell phone games and move away from dedicated hardware?
@SwitchForce I'm not sure what you mean by that. I'm all for new tech, but it has to serve a purpose. Mobile to me is not a neutral technology, it's a mindset of design, which among others leads to content that one can play "on the side", in short burst, without tons of engagement, with or without sound. Content meant to help pass the time, not content meant to emotionally and intellectually stimulate or challenge.
If I were scared, I wouldn't own neither a PSVR or an 4K HDR Oled It's just that HDR proved itself to me, adding something very meaningful to my gaming experience, while VR ... well, added something, sure, but something that did not last for me.
I would instantly buy any Switch that embraces HDR. Hell, I have LaboVR for crying out loud, but it just ... collects dust now somewhere. I still use my PSVR from time to time, but to me it's not a necessary purchase, not like my TV, and it's not the future.
Blood & Truth is nice, but I feel like ... I've been there and I've done that. I'm not in any rush for more of it.
@Ralek85 the loss is not a loss for the rest of those Switching over.
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