Nintendo Switch US Sales During 2018 Topped Any Console In The Past Three Years

Lots of people bought Switches, and Fortnite had players grabbing gamepads.

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Now Playing: Nintendo Switch Outsells PS4 And Xbox In The US In 2018 - GS News Update

It was another huge year for Nintendo in 2018, with the company's Switch raking in the most sales of any console for the year in the U.S. According to a report from analyst firm The NPD Group, Nintendo helped lead an 8% increase in hardware sales, pushing the overall total to $5.1 billion.

Nintendo wasn't the only console maker seeing gains in 2018, though. Analyst Mat Piscatella wrote in NPD's press release on its report that Sony's PlayStation 4, Microsoft's Xbox One, and other plug-n-play devices all saw sales gains in 2018 over where they landed in 2017. NPD did not reveal any sales totals or dollar amounts in its report.

The Switch was inarguably the winner in hardware according to NPD, though, especially in December. In 2018, Nintendo made more money on console hardware than any company had since Sony took 2015 with the PS4. Nintendo's December 2018 Switch sales were higher for that month than any year since 2009--the year Nintendo had another huge December with sales of its Wii console.

Nintendo's big win was reflected in software sales, as well. It had seven of the 20 top-selling games of 2018, which includes December's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which came fifth in sales for the year.

Another big factor in hardware sales, according to NPD: Fortnite. The firm doesn't track software numbers for the free-to-play game, but Piscatella took to Twitter to remark on Fortnite's impact on the industry.

Apparently, Fortnite has players buying lots of new gamepads and headsets. Piscatella wrote in his release that 2018 saw a 33% increase in sales of accessories and game cards in 2018, up to an all-time high of $4.5 billion. "The DualShock 4 Black, Switch Pro Controller and the Xbox One S Wireless Controller White were the three best-selling accessories of 2018 in dollar spend," he wrote, with headsets also contributing.

A huge part of that spending took place in December 2018, when consumers spent $1 billion on accessories and game cards--an increase of 29% over December 2017. The big seller in December: the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.

NPD also ran down the best-selling software of 2018 and for December, with Red Dead Redemption 2 coming in first for the year.

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Avatar image for Xylymphydyte

Am I the only one horrified at the phrasing of that headline?

Avatar image for ZIMdoom

As a multi-console owner, I love the switch. Does it have the BEST games? No. It has a decent line up. But I can't stress highly enough how great it is to have such a flexible console like the switch. I've already lost count of how often the switch has been a life saver. Long work trips? Boring hotel stays? Long airport layovers (especially if airport has good wifi)? Someone else needs the TV while I'm in the zone? Two kids playing fortnite together in the same room? Yes, if given the choice I'd only ever play PS4 and finally catch up on my backlog of AAA games...but that isn't always practical for most people/families. The switch may not have the same caliber of titles, but what it does have is still pretty solid. Where the switch excels is the insane flexibility of the console and portability.

Avatar image for 93ChevyNut

I hope the success of the Switch drives Nintendo to make more powerful switches in the future, with possibly different screen sizes.

Avatar image for mooglestar

How a console can do so well on such a small amount of substantial games is baffling to me. That's just my opinion of course. My Switch (girlfriend bought it) just sits there and collects dust, along with a handful of extremely overdone Mario games. Whatever floats your boat I guess!

Avatar image for JustinGoSka

@mooglestar: I personally think it has a really good line up. Right now I have Smash Bros, Mario Odyssey, Zelda Breath of the Wild, and Kirby. They're all really fun.

I mostly play on PC, but I do play my switch more than any console I own.

Avatar image for mooglestar

@JustinGoSka: Nice. That's cool, man. And well I have Odyssey, Kart, Party, and a couple others. And don't get me wrong they're fun, but I really do play my PS4 a lot more. I just finished GOW and now been playing Spiderman. And after them I'll play RDR and dying to play RE 2.

Which upcoming games are you looking forward to on Switch though? I just know of Pokemon that I'm excited for.

Avatar image for rglgathrawn

@mooglestar: The Switch has a better lineup than the Wii U, Cube, and is on track to be better than the Wii and N64 (it might already be better than the Wii. Breath of the Wild is vastly superior to Twilight Princess)

Avatar image for mooglestar

@rglgathrawn: Well as I say, whatever makes people happy. It's all good. And I know there's that untitled Pokemon game coming out this year. I'm pretty interested in that. Also I LOVED my N64, but it was a long time ago and back then these sorts of games weren't already done to death, and my taste in games has since changed dramatically.

Avatar image for Xylymphydyte

@mooglestar: Isn't that basically the same thing that happened to most Wii's and WiiU's? I think it's their business model.

Avatar image for mooglestar

@Xylymphydyte: True. At the end of the day it's all about preference I guess. While I can surely enjoy games like Dark Souls every now and then, for the most part I require a deep story to drive me through a game.

Avatar image for lordroberts774

Hmmmm. Makes claim, but doesn't use any numbers to back it up? Yeah, that's credible!

Avatar image for Bread_or_Decide

Nintendo is doomed because of draconian blah blah blah.

Eat it haters.

Avatar image for mandzilla

@Bread_or_Decide: Well said. :D

Avatar image for Barighm

I wonder why they don't report individual sales numbers anymore?

Avatar image for lordroberts774

@Barighm: because they seem to be Nintendo fanboys at this point. They're even calling Switch part of the Wii U/PS4/One generation when the majority of its life (which should be 10 years) will be competing with PS5, and the next XBox. They seem intent on saying Switch "won" this generation, which is funny given that Switch is going to be fully in the next one (Miyamoto already said the thing is going to last at least 7 years before a successor comes out which means 2024 at the earliest, and 2020 is when both the next ones are expected, so 4 years competing with those- likely using a pro type of upgrade, and 3 years against PS3, but no according to NPD it's strictly a PS4 competitor).

Avatar image for shtiken

Switch has been breaking records since launch. Crazy that Smash had the best-selling launch month for an exclusive game ever in the US, and that's without even counting digital copies.

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887

One has to wonder why are people playing Fornite and not Splattoon 2 on it.

Avatar image for barcaazul


Because kids all want to play with their friends matter what device.

My kid got a switch, and plays fortnite and Mario Kart

Avatar image for bigdavex

@Jinzo_111887: Fortnite's free. Splatoon 2 isn't.

Avatar image for justincoool

Congrats! I love Nintendo, lu-Wee-gee luvs Nintendo. :)

Avatar image for girlusocrazy

Switch needs more meat and potatoes games.

Avatar image for mandzilla

@girlusocrazy: Well you've got Overcooked 1 and 2.

Avatar image for Bread_or_Decide

@mandzilla: you win, comment wars.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy

@mandzilla: lol