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It's about midway through the Switch's life, so I thought it was worth comparing Switch games' sales to those on previous Nintendo hardware. And because we all know that the Switch is huge compared to other consoles besides the Wii, I thought I'd focus on handhelds.

The following table compares eleven Nintendo series by listing their best-selling iteration on each of five platforms. That means, for example, only the best-selling Pokemon game for a platform is counted, so only Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire's numbers are listed in the cell for Pokemon on the GBA. That said, I think there are some notable conclusions we can draw from this.

Also, I skipped over series that only left an impact on one or two platforms. So that's why you won't see Tetris, Nintendogs, Splatoon, etc.

Pokemon 31.38 16.22 17.67 16.45 17.37
2D Mario 18.14 5.69 30.8 13.34 6.6
3D Mario N/A N/A 11.06 12.7 17.41
Mario Kart N/A 5.91 23.6 18.71 24.77
Animal Crossing N/A N/A 11.75 12.55 13.41
Legend of Zelda 3.83 2.82 4.76 6.02 17.41
Mario Party N/A 0.98 9.31 2.83 10.1
Kirby Platformer 5.13 2.1 2.99 2.56 2.56
DK Platformer 3.91 1.82 0.55 2.76 2.25
Metroid 1.72 1.6 1.08 0.56 N/A
Fire Emblem N/A 0.97 0.61 2.94 2.87

Even acknowledging that the Switch's numbers will only rise, there are still some things to note.

  • The Switch and DS dominate in terms of total software sales, whereas the GBA underperforms. Even acknowledging that some major Game Boy games are not included, this is still indicative of the Switch's success.
  • Notable winners on Switch include 3D Mario, Mario Kart, and Legend of Zelda.
  • 2D Mario is the biggest letdown on the Switch. Sure it's a port of a Wii U game, but so is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and that's outsold Mario Kart DS!
  • Pokemon Sword/Shield is going to be the best-selling entry in the series since the Game Boy Color days, being only 300k sales behind Diamond/Pearl on the DS. Assuming the game has similar legs as X/Y on 3DS, we can expect it to sell up to 10 million more copies. That would still be behind Gold/Silver, but still very high.
  • Considering how stable Animal Crossing's sales are, it's already outselling previous entries is remarkable.
  • 3D Zelda outsold 2D Zelda on both the 3DS and now especially the Switch.
  • Kirby is no surprise, being largely constant in sales since 2000 or so.
  • DKC: Tropical Freeze on Switch sold decently enough, but is notably around the same sales as Returns 3D.
  • Three Houses is roughly on par with Fire Emblem Fates in terms of sales, despite that game having mechanics that likely inflated sales
  • If we get another 2D Metroid, expect it to sell poorly.

Any thoughts?

Love and tolerate.