Sales of the Nintendo Switch have surpassed lifetime sales of the highly regarded GameCube, the company has disclosed, as it unveils its second quarter financial figures.
The company claims that it sold 3.19 million units in the three months to the end of September. That brings total sales of the Switch to 22.86 million over the past 18 months, compared to lifetime sales of 21.74 million units during its six years on sale.
The GameCube, meanwhile, which was widely regarded as a popular console, could be set for a comeback as Nintendo looks to cash-in on classic console nostalgia. The GameCube was followed up by the wildly popular Wii, which sold more than 100 million units during its seven years on sale.
The Switch also outsold the Wii U earlier this year, the much less successor to the Wii, with the Wii U managing a disappointing lifetime sales figure of just 13.56 million units before it was replaced by the Switch.
The GameCube was followed up by the wildly popular Wii, which sold more than 100 million units during its seven years on sale
While the Switch is unlikely to replicate the Wii's 101.63 million global sales, there's still the Nintendo 64, which sold 32.93 million units, the Super Nintendo or SNES, which sold 49.1 million the original NES, which sold 61.91 million units.
Despite their relatively lower number and higher price, Switch game sales are also on the up, too. Nintendo claims that it sold 42 million copies of various games for the Switch during the company's fiscal 2019 second quarter*, compared to 22 million in the same period in fiscal 2018.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Mario Tennis Aces sold 1.67 million and 2.16 million units, respectively. But Super Mario Odyssey remained the best-selling Switch game with 12.17 million sold.
This is closely followed by Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with sales of 11.71 million units, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on 10.28 million and Splatoon 2 on 7.47 million.
Not surprisingly, Nintendo's financials now look pretty rosy, with the company reporting second-quarter revenues of 221 billion yen (£1.53bn), up from 220 billion yen (£1.52bn) during the second quarter of fiscal 2018.
Operating profit hit 30.9 billion yen (£214m) for the three-month period, up from 23.8 billion yen (£165m) last year.
However, the company still has a way to go if it's going to meet its own optimistic sales target of sales of 20 million Switch consoles in the current financial year.
* Most major Japanese companies's financial or fiscal years run from 1 April to 31 March, making the current financial year 'fiscal 2019'
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4 October 2018: Nintendo is planning to release a new Switch console in 2019, according to reports.
The device will have an improved screen, a thinner chassis and should be lighter - and, hopefully, will also offer more storage and CPU horsepower.
That's according to the Wall Street Journal. It notes that while the device, which was launched in March 2017, sold unexpectedly well in the first year after it was released, sales have since tailed off. Unit sales stood at 19.67 million as of the end of June 2018 - less than half the numbers of the Sony Playstation 4 and the Microsoft Xbox One.
When it was launched, the Switch was criticised for its underpowered Nvidia Tegra X1 CPU and 720p display (1080p via HDMI to a TV or monitor while docked) at a time when some PC and console gamers are shifting to 4K gaming. However, its portability and games such as The legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild helped make the Nintendo Switch fly off retailers' shelves.
Any upgrades to the current Switch are likely to be incremental, according to the WSJ, with the company reluctant to make the original Switch obsolete just two years after release.
What may help sales in the immediate future, though, is the release of a slew of new games, expected later this month. While a number of NES classics will be landing next week - including Open Tournament Golf, Solomon's Key and Super Dodge Ball - what will most help reignite Switch sales is the release of some blockbuster titles.
The #NES fun doesn't have to stop! More NES games are coming to #NintendoSwitch. NES Open Tournament Golf, Solomon's Key, and Super Dodge Ball will be available with a #NintendoSwitchOnline membership. Subscribe now and start playing on 10/10! https://t.co/ZPh215YNeT pic.twitter.com/UdxOf7TGnM— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) October 3, 2018
Lower prices, too, would also help with Switch games typically more expensive than games on other platforms.
As things currently stand, the Switch tends to miss out on the big games released for PC and the other major consoles, partly because it has the smallest number of users among the four gaming platforms, but also because the device is underpowered - not just in terms of the 1.02GHz octa-core CPU, but also the paltry 32GB storage.
The WSJ report flatly contradicts claims in March this year that the company wasn't planning to launch a follow-up to the Switch any time soon. The company's CEO Tatsumi Kimishima had also said that he wanted to make the Switch's product cycle longer than the five-to-six-year span that has become normal in the games console industry.
Instead, Kimishima said, the company planned to fuel sales of the console with new peripherals.
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