Forums - Sales Discussion - Switch can't/won't outsell DS because...........

Slownenberg said:
victor83fernandes said:

DS has sold almost 155 million, I don't think the switch will reach that, I don't even think the ps4 will reach that, they might pass the Gameboy, maybe.

Reason is - DS was a total portable device and was backwards compatible with GB advance, there's really something that the switch cant do, close the device so the screen is protected and put it in the pocket or bag. You can always get a case for the switch, which will make it even bulkier and its not as good as just opening the screen and play, true portable device.

Also price and durability, most these portable devices are sold to parents who buy them for their kids, specially on Christmas, I'd say 75% of all portables, so it makes sense if parents want to spend less money on the gift.

Also, games for DS were much cheaper, so people could justify more a DS as they could get more games + they could run their old GB advance games.

Also, a lot of the DS market was adults/elders wanting to play puzzle games like brain training and such, so they were basically not gamers, they just wanted to play puzzles, cards and sudoku with the pen, which was perfect for that type, specially with the dual screen, the switch doesn't have that.

I remember back in the day I actually bought one mainly for that, because I never play out of the house, so my DS was a puzzle machine, but my switch I bought it as the next Nintendo home console, not as a portable.

Lets be honest, take out the puzzle market and the total portable market and market for people who want cheap games, and that means the switch will never reach those sales, because its only sold to gamers.

The switch adds the old Nintendo home console market, but most are the old fans like myself, looking at the gamecube and N64, that means around 25-30 million consoles for the fans, which most already bought one.

As one of the biggest Nintendo fans since the early 90s, I wish Nintendo would just make another powerful home console instead of a very underpowered hybrid, I already saw Breath of the wild running on a good PC with 4K and AA, it looks way better, and that's what we could be having on Nintendo consoles.

Eww nobody wants that, that'd be a terrible decision. Also they don't have an underpowered hybrid, what they have is an overpowered portable that can be played hybrid. Saying the Switch is underpowered is just crazy - it can play current console games with some downgraded graphics...and its a portable! In no world is that underpowered. Nobody wants a $400 Nintendo system that competes for the exact same market as Xbox and PS. Nintendo's business excels when they think outside the box and give people what they didn't even know they wanted. The high powered clone console market is full with two competing for that title, while the Nintendo enjoys massive success by choosing an overlapping but slightly different market. You want way better looking Zelda game...wait for the Switch 2, which should be like an overpowered PS4 portable in terms of graphics.

Exactly, why would you do that? Why would you play the same game at 10x worse graphics on a 50x smaller screen? For gamers like ourselves, we buy several consoles and maybe even PC, so why playing the worse version by far, that on the switch will cost you more money? Makes no sense,

The switch is good as a portable, with dedicated portable games, made to be played on small screens, and also main console Nintendo exclusives.

The switch was more of a home console than a portable one, for starters, 2 hours battery on Zelda will not be very portable, then, the 3ds is still in the market and games still release for it, on the other hand the wiiU has been abandoned years ago.

The switch 2, yeah, when that comes, the ps5 will have at least 5x the power, and developers will have been learning it for years by then. 

I never understand this philosophy of gamers like you who do not want the best they could have, if you could have way more power and graphics, why be happy with much less? Youll be paying a lot of money for the device and games, so why not DEMAND the best you could have?

Personally I'd be happier If Nintendo kept the portable and the home console separate. They could learn from their mistakes with wiiU and have built a fantastic console that could be giving us for the past 3 years the best graphics on 3rd party games, which would attract more gamers, and also more developers.

By the looks of it, come next gen the switch will be back to what Nintendo always does, a dedicated Nintendo exclusives console when it could in fact be the primary gaming device for the hardcore gamers like myself.

Even within the switch itself without comparing with other consoles, I wouldn't play in portable mode, because I already experienced it with a 100inch screen and my 1000dollars sound system. The experience is exponentially better on the large screen with a better controller. Specially when videogames is all about immersion. Maybe people playing on a 32inch TV cant imagine this.

All in all, in my opinion portable consoles should have been done with 3DS as the last one. Because everyone already has a powerful portable in their pockets (mobile phones) without needing to carry an extra device.

Think about it, do you really have 2 or 3 hours to play out of the house? I barely get 30 min free, maybe my break from work which I use to have lunch and a coffee, no time to play for long. And then I finish work, I drive home or go out with friends, and no one is going to go out to socialize and be playing consoles at the bar, I never saw it and I guess will never happen. Other situations out of the house, when I go the gymn, the intensity is too high to concentrate on playing games.

For the quick gaming fix, there's phones with simple games.

You could say witcher 3 is amazing portable, and I would say its horrible, it destroys the experience and greatness of it. I wouldn't want it even for free in portable mode. You can even barely read the menus and options. I'd rather play that in 4K on my 100inch projector with no reflections from the day light, not worrying about battery or ambient noises.



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Mr.GameCrazy said:
I honestly don't see the Switch outselling the Nintendo DS, but I think it'll definitely outsell the 3DS. I think there's a chance it will outsell the Wii.

You shouldn't have to think It will outsell the 3ds, its 100% certainty it will, no matter what, its already at 52 million and its not even 3 years into its lifespan. 3DS sold less than 80 million and not selling much at all now.



Keiji said:
Radek said:
120 million IMO, I don't expect anything more.

I would say the same thing. Which is a great achievement already.

Actually 103 million would already be a huge achievement for Nintendo, it would be their best selling home console ever. They have been selling home consoles since 83, that's almost 37 years.



RolStoppable said:
I've not ruled it out to begin with that Switch can outsell the DS and I have yet to see anything that points in the direction of it being impossible. Sales comparisons to previous Nintendo consoles usually forget to account for Switch being Nintendo's only console, so one key assumption that is commonly wrong is that Switch is bound to the same or similar sales trajectory. After three years of Switch it's already clear that the sales curves of most older Nintendo consoles have to be ruled out, so the only good dataset that is left to compare to is the one of the DS.

How Switch can beat the DS is as simple as tossing the old rules for the length of a console lifecycle out of the window. When Sony and Microsoft began to run longer cycles than six years, everyone was fine with it. But apparently the thought that Nintendo can go seven, eight or even nine years is preposterous. However, what if Switch went for more than six years like Nintendo intends to and backs up with all of their actions so far? Then you have a realistic scenario where Switch begins to gain on the DS on the backend.

Switch becoming a personal console will play a major role. Switch Lite is a step in the direction of one console per person, but its sales haven't been impressive so far. That isn't a surprise to me, because we are still years away from the point where the hybrid SKU reaches its saturation point; there's no big need for secondary and tertiary Switch units in households when there has yet to be the primary unit installed. Nevermind that the Lite sells at a premium price for a personal console at $199, so there are still a few demand levels to unlock below that price; after all, the 2DS hit sub-$100 with a game included eventually, although it's not that good of a comparison because the 2DS had a shape that was widely undesirable which in turn limited its sales potential.

Switch has sold ~49m by the end of 2019, add another three years of ~20m per year and the total is already at ~110m. That would be too low to beat the DS, but only if Switch's lifecycle is tied to historical rules. Should Switch get seven or eight years, the likelihood to outsell the DS becomes a lot more manageable. There's post-successor support too, just like the 3DS received first party games into early 2019 because Nintendo had to cover the lower price brackets in the console market, something that the $300 Switch couldn't do, just like the Switch successor won't be able to either. So ~10 years of first party support or close to it should be expected for Switch.

In any case, those people who keep comparing Switch, Nintendo's only console, to previous console lifecycles where Nintendo always had to support two consoles concurrently will be proven wrong time and time again. Because now we are approaching the time where many previous Nintendo consoles had declining sales because Nintendo's top development teams had to focus on a different console, whereas Switch continues to receive the attention of all the top teams. This means that Nintendo will continue to release multiple blockbusters each and every year, and it doesn't need to be explained that Nintendo software sells Nintendo hardware.

You honestly believe the switch will be selling 20 million after 5 years? Sure it can happen this year but after that it will drop in sales a lot. Are you forgetting the DS sold 155 million? You think its possible for the switch to sell another 103 million in the next 4 years? When most fans already bought one? And when the next big thing now is the new consoles? The reason the switch is outselling the ps4 is because people are waiting for the ps5, so most people who wanted one already got it, and the rest will not invest in a device that will become outdated in 9 months time.

Most surprisingly I find it unbelievable that someone thinks Nintendo wont release a new console in the next 4 years, making the switch sales drop real hard.

I really want Nintendo to succeed, I'm the only person I know of that has bought all Nintendo consoles, NES, SNES, N64, gamecube, Wii, WIIU and Switch and GB, GB advance, DS, 3DS, new 3DS XL so I really love Nintendo but I am realistic.



The_Liquid_Laser said:

I believe this depends on whether you are looking at US/Americas data or Worldwide data. 

Switch shipments for first 9 months of fiscal year

Apr. 1 to Dec 31 Americas YoY % increase World YoY % increase
2017 4.74 12.13
2018 5.8 22% 14.48 19%
2019 6.85 18% 17.74 23%

The YoY increase was actually greater for the first 9 months of the current fiscal year.  Not only has Switch not peaked but it's growth rate is increasing too.  The Americas tell a different story.  One might guess Switch is slowing down in the Americas but not the rest of the world.  But what I really think is that Smash Bros is simply really popular in the US and that makes 2018 proportionally higher in the Americas compared to the worldwide total.  Either way, Switch sales have most definitely not peaked nor are they anywhere close.

Shipments are not sales. I try to avoid using shipment figures whenever possible.

Nintendo has published some global sell-through figures, stating it sold about 13M globally in 2017 and close to 16M in 2018 (30M was the LTD total as of the end of Jan. 2019, not Dec. 2018, and it probably sold about 1M in Jan. 2019), with about 19M in 2019 based on the 48M LTD sell-through figure. So, that's about +23 in 2018 and about +19% in 2019. So, globally it's slowing down.

I've already gone over U.S. data, so let's look at Europe next. As it turns out, it was also up less there in 2019 than in 2018. Nintendo's own sell-through data for the region looks to be close to spot-on with VGC's yearly data for the Switch. VGC had the Switch up 32% in Europe in 2018, but it was only +15% in 2019 (again, more or less what Nintendo's own data suggests).

Japan is the only major region where it had better growth in 2019 than in 2018. The Switch was up more in in 2019 than in 2018 Japan (+27.2% vs. +6.7%). But there's no guarantee that it'll replicate that this year. Early sales figures from this year are not necessarily indicative of the year as a whole being up YoY (just as I admit the reverse not necessarily being the case in the U.S. just because of January). 2020 being up again so far could just as easily be a residual effect of boosts given to sales in 2019 from the Lite, as well as a rush of people trying to buy a Switch before the impending coronavirus-induced shortages kick in. It's too early to tell. We'll have to see what the baseline looks like as the year progresses.

So yes, you're technically right that the Switch isn't slowing down everywhere.

The Switch slowing down in the U.S. and Europe doesn't bode well for it coming even remotely close to the DS. Looking at the U.S. (since we have a complete data set for both systems so far), the Switch needs to grow at least 53% YoY just to keep pace with the DS. Where is it going to get that kind of growth from? There's no new model in the cards, there's no way any one game will do the trick, and there's no guarantee a price cut will produce it (especially if it's late in the year), seeing as even the most effective price cuts haven't bee that effective. The only time we've ever seen that kind of growth for a home console was for the PS1 back in 1997, and with the DS back in 2006 & 2007. If the Switch grows only 20%, that will widen the gap in the DS's favor even more; it will need to grow another 18% just to avoid widening the gap any more. If the Switch is flat or down any this year, that makes it nigh-impossible to catch back up. The DS peaked in 2009 (its 5th year), and between 2009 and 2013 it sold 26M units. If the Switch is at only 23.5M units lifetime in the U.S. at the end of this year, it will need to sell at least 30M units from 2021 onward. No system has ever sold that many units after its fifth year. The DS's 26M is the current record-holder, and it managed that mainly by selling 19.74M units in just 2009 & 2010. Again, where is that kind of growth going to come from with the Switch? It's growth has been vastly slower than the DS's. The odds of it matching the DS, much less convincingly beating it, are already low, and without some very strong and accelerating growth over the next year or two, the odds drop from low to infinitesimal.

In Japan, it could come closer, but it's still an uphill battle. Even if it grows another 20% this year, it'll still be running a deficit of over 8 million units. This means that at minimum it'll have to sell nearly 16 million units from 2021 onward just to match the DS. We've never seen anywhere close to this from any system ever in Japan for sales after Year 4. The current record-holder is the PS2, with just short of 8M units sold between 2005 and the end of its life. Beating the 3DS is plausible, perhaps likely. But beating the DS? Unless it experiences some outright explosive growth over the next two years, it's going to be impossible.

And as I explained, we can forget about the Switch beating the DS in Europe. Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

The_Liquid_Laser said:

There are lots of industries out there where markets are actually measured and analyzed.  Come to these forums and people act like it's voodoo.

The home console market is pretty easy to measure because of Generation 6.  PS2 + XBox + Gamecube = 158m + 25m + 22m = 205m.  Now looking at Generation 8 we are far enough along to get good estimates, PS4 + XB1 + WiiU = 130m + 50m + 14m = 194m.  The market size hasn't changed much (net) since Generation 6.  The Wii temporarily gained and lost a lot of customers, which might confuse people.  But comparing Generation 6 and 8 there is not much change.  The handheld market is really easy to measure 3DS + Vita = 75m + 16m = 91m.

If you combine the home and handheld market that is a potential of 285m (194m + 91m) sales.  Given, I do know there is some overlap, but it isn't so big of a deal as people say, since it is common for a household to own more than one handheld.  I.e. a household that owns a PS4 and a 3DS can easily buy 2 Switches as well.  However, lets just take the most conservative case anyway which is that there is 100% overlap between the home and handheld market and each household only buys one system.  Even in that case Switch sells to the whole 91m handheld market plus to some percentage of the remaining 103m (194m - 91m) in the home market.  Even in the extremely conservative case Switch has the potential to pass the DS.


Again, we're dealing with a lot of ambiguities here. While we have a good idea as to the total PS+Xbox market, the actual total console market isn't as clear. Nintendo is the wild card. Yes, the total global market may be well in excess of 200M. That doesn't mean that the Switch can sell some insane, unprecedented amount. Sure, the PS2 and DS both showed that a system can sell over 150M units by itself, so any system could potentially do that well. But it doesn't mean they can do that well. The PS2 and DS had some very specific circumstances that led to them selling as well as they did (the PS2 absolutely dominating the market, the DS being a handheld that likely had a significant periphery demographic of casuals and people that aren't really "gamers"). It's telling that, even when things are going the absolute best for a system, that only one handheld and one home console have crossed the 150M mark. Only four other systems have crossed the 100M mark so far, and one of those (the PS4) is poised to be only the third to get past 120M. What history shows us is that these milestones are not easy to pass. If they were, we'd see a lot of other systems with 100+M sales.

Also, the Switch has less potential than Nintendo's old dedicated handhelds for selling multiple units per household. Since it's a hybrid, it's designed to support local multiplayer and split-screen play, meaning one system can meet the needs of the whole household, as opposed to a pure handheld which is meant to be played by only one person, thus incentivizing the purchase of multiple units per household (their lower cost also helped facilitate that; the base model Switch is a lot more expensive than any Nintendo handheld was, and even the Lite is still on the high end).

The_Liquid_Laser said:

That is why it is really too early to say it's impossible at this point.  I personally have reason to believe that it is not just possible, but the likely result.  However, I am just trying to present the idea that it is possible here.  The market size indicates it is possible.  And the current sales data won't give a strong indication who is right until after Switch has hit it's peak year.  What is clear is that Switch sales are still accelerating.  It's too early to call based on data alone.

Sure, it might not be absolutely 100% impossible, but it's incredibly improbable. I suppose it's possible that one day everyone on the internet will stop having meltdowns over fantasy films about space wizards or the size of a video game character's tits, but I doubt it. It's just incredibly improbable. I suppose it's possible that practical nuclear fusion will be a thing within my lifetime, but I doubt it. It's just incredibly improbable. I suppose it's possible I'll win the lottery at one point, but I doubt it. It's just incredibly improbable. There's a lot of things that might be technically possible, but simply aren't likely under any probable scenario.

People that are bullish enough about the Switch's sales to think it stands a good shot of besting the DS are hoping for something completely unprecedented to happen with its sales in the near future. Based on current sales levels, sales growth rates so far, and historical data that gives us clues about possible timing of peak sales, that hope is based on something completely and utterly implausible, bordering on impossible.

Not all records were made to be broken.

Last edited by Shadow1980 - on 22 February 2020

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victor83fernandes said:
Slownenberg said:

Eww nobody wants that, that'd be a terrible decision. Also they don't have an underpowered hybrid, what they have is an overpowered portable that can be played hybrid. Saying the Switch is underpowered is just crazy - it can play current console games with some downgraded graphics...and its a portable! In no world is that underpowered. Nobody wants a $400 Nintendo system that competes for the exact same market as Xbox and PS. Nintendo's business excels when they think outside the box and give people what they didn't even know they wanted. The high powered clone console market is full with two competing for that title, while the Nintendo enjoys massive success by choosing an overlapping but slightly different market. You want way better looking Zelda game...wait for the Switch 2, which should be like an overpowered PS4 portable in terms of graphics.

Exactly, why would you do that? Why would you play the same game at 10x worse graphics on a 50x smaller screen? For gamers like ourselves, we buy several consoles and maybe even PC, so why playing the worse version by far, that on the switch will cost you more money? Makes no sense,

The switch is good as a portable, with dedicated portable games, made to be played on small screens, and also main console Nintendo exclusives.

The switch was more of a home console than a portable one, for starters, 2 hours battery on Zelda will not be very portable, then, the 3ds is still in the market and games still release for it, on the other hand the wiiU has been abandoned years ago.

The switch 2, yeah, when that comes, the ps5 will have at least 5x the power, and developers will have been learning it for years by then. 

I never understand this philosophy of gamers like you who do not want the best they could have, if you could have way more power and graphics, why be happy with much less? Youll be paying a lot of money for the device and games, so why not DEMAND the best you could have?

Personally I'd be happier If Nintendo kept the portable and the home console separate. They could learn from their mistakes with wiiU and have built a fantastic console that could be giving us for the past 3 years the best graphics on 3rd party games, which would attract more gamers, and also more developers.

By the looks of it, come next gen the switch will be back to what Nintendo always does, a dedicated Nintendo exclusives console when it could in fact be the primary gaming device for the hardcore gamers like myself.

Even within the switch itself without comparing with other consoles, I wouldn't play in portable mode, because I already experienced it with a 100inch screen and my 1000dollars sound system. The experience is exponentially better on the large screen with a better controller. Specially when videogames is all about immersion. Maybe people playing on a 32inch TV cant imagine this.

All in all, in my opinion portable consoles should have been done with 3DS as the last one. Because everyone already has a powerful portable in their pockets (mobile phones) without needing to carry an extra device.

Think about it, do you really have 2 or 3 hours to play out of the house? I barely get 30 min free, maybe my break from work which I use to have lunch and a coffee, no time to play for long. And then I finish work, I drive home or go out with friends, and no one is going to go out to socialize and be playing consoles at the bar, I never saw it and I guess will never happen. Other situations out of the house, when I go the gymn, the intensity is too high to concentrate on playing games.

For the quick gaming fix, there's phones with simple games.

You could say witcher 3 is amazing portable, and I would say its horrible, it destroys the experience and greatness of it. I wouldn't want it even for free in portable mode. You can even barely read the menus and options. I'd rather play that in 4K on my 100inch projector with no reflections from the day light, not worrying about battery or ambient noises.

Your point is pretty moot because yourself and those with similar gaming preferences are actually a very small sample of the console-buying public. You need to look at the bigger picture. Most console buyers don't even frequent gaming forums such as this. It's the domain of the most hardcore of gamers. Joe public will make up the vast majority of the console buying public(and by extension, Switch purchasers) in any given generation and guess what? Not only do they not even post on forums such as this. In fact a huge number of them aren't even aware of their existence. Joe Public will buy 3rd party games for the systems they own, oblivious of its technical shortcomings or not. Anyway, those that are aware and care greatly would probably be PC gamers anyway, so would buy the absolute best version on their gaming rigs. Still wouldn't stop them from buying a Switch in addition though, as if they have any fondness for Nintendo IP's, then the Switch is the only way to play them and looking at the top SW sales for the Switch fortifies that reasoning.



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peachbuggy said:
victor83fernandes said:

Exactly, why would you do that? Why would you play the same game at 10x worse graphics on a 50x smaller screen? For gamers like ourselves, we buy several consoles and maybe even PC, so why playing the worse version by far, that on the switch will cost you more money? Makes no sense,

The switch is good as a portable, with dedicated portable games, made to be played on small screens, and also main console Nintendo exclusives.

The switch was more of a home console than a portable one, for starters, 2 hours battery on Zelda will not be very portable, then, the 3ds is still in the market and games still release for it, on the other hand the wiiU has been abandoned years ago.

The switch 2, yeah, when that comes, the ps5 will have at least 5x the power, and developers will have been learning it for years by then. 

I never understand this philosophy of gamers like you who do not want the best they could have, if you could have way more power and graphics, why be happy with much less? Youll be paying a lot of money for the device and games, so why not DEMAND the best you could have?

Personally I'd be happier If Nintendo kept the portable and the home console separate. They could learn from their mistakes with wiiU and have built a fantastic console that could be giving us for the past 3 years the best graphics on 3rd party games, which would attract more gamers, and also more developers.

By the looks of it, come next gen the switch will be back to what Nintendo always does, a dedicated Nintendo exclusives console when it could in fact be the primary gaming device for the hardcore gamers like myself.

Even within the switch itself without comparing with other consoles, I wouldn't play in portable mode, because I already experienced it with a 100inch screen and my 1000dollars sound system. The experience is exponentially better on the large screen with a better controller. Specially when videogames is all about immersion. Maybe people playing on a 32inch TV cant imagine this.

All in all, in my opinion portable consoles should have been done with 3DS as the last one. Because everyone already has a powerful portable in their pockets (mobile phones) without needing to carry an extra device.

Think about it, do you really have 2 or 3 hours to play out of the house? I barely get 30 min free, maybe my break from work which I use to have lunch and a coffee, no time to play for long. And then I finish work, I drive home or go out with friends, and no one is going to go out to socialize and be playing consoles at the bar, I never saw it and I guess will never happen. Other situations out of the house, when I go the gymn, the intensity is too high to concentrate on playing games.

For the quick gaming fix, there's phones with simple games.

You could say witcher 3 is amazing portable, and I would say its horrible, it destroys the experience and greatness of it. I wouldn't want it even for free in portable mode. You can even barely read the menus and options. I'd rather play that in 4K on my 100inch projector with no reflections from the day light, not worrying about battery or ambient noises.

Your point is pretty moot because yourself and those with similar gaming preferences are actually a very small sample of the console-buying public. You need to look at the bigger picture. Most console buyers don't even frequent gaming forums such as this. It's the domain of the most hardcore of gamers. Joe public will make up the vast majority of the console buying public(and by extension, Switch purchasers) in any given generation and guess what? Not only do they not even post on forums such as this. In fact a huge number of them aren't even aware of their existence. Joe Public will buy 3rd party games for the systems they own, oblivious of its technical shortcomings or not. Anyway, those that are aware and care greatly would probably be PC gamers anyway, so would buy the absolute best version on their gaming rigs. Still wouldn't stop them from buying a Switch in addition though, as if they have any fondness for Nintendo IP's, then the Switch is the only way to play them and looking at the top SW sales for the Switch fortifies that reasoning.

Perhaps you are reading from a different POV (I actually agree with your point though).

I believe he is talking about a subset of people (that do exist in VGC) that have a PC/PS4Pro/X1X and already bought and played let's say Witcher 3 to the end, and gone and bought it again for Switch to play on the go, and he is challenging that. I can understand both the person that have a long commute and like to use his Switch on that and people that want the best performance possible. But I to have a hard time validating rebuying the game just to play it on a small screen with a lot of noise and interruption. If it was me (I don't because I drive my car instead of enjoying public transportation) I would play some of the exclusives of Switch on the go (the ones where 30min session would be satisfying) others on the dock and everything else on the other system I have (talking about people that have more than 1 system).



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Shadow1980 said:

Because this:

The Switch did better than the DS initially in the U.S., but that's because the DS had a weak start. When the DS Lite was released, the DS experienced the single largest and most protracted period of growth of any system ever in the U.S. market. Once you put the Switch up against post-DS Lite quarters, the DS has outperformed it considerably (only in Q4 of Year 2 did the Switch do better than the post-Lite DS). Overall, the DS sold about 8.2M in 2007, vs. about 6.5M for the Switch in 2019. That's 29.6% better for Year 3 for the DS. And the DS kept growing. Total Year 1 to Year 3 sales for the Switch are now only less than 700k ahead of what the DS did in the same time frame (and if you add in the 1225k the DS sold in Nov.+Dec. 2004, it's actually ahead of the Switch).

Unless the Switch can manage 50% YoY growth this year, that deficit is going to grow, very quickly, and considering January NPD summaries indicate the Switch is actually slightly down this year, and with no new hardware model due this year, that doesn't bode well for any significant year-over-year growth. Even a big price cut and some big game likely won't do the trick for the Switch this year. Historical sales patterns show that, in nearly cases (and in all cases with Nintendo systems), once a system has had several quarters of YoY growth and that growth ceases and turns into YoY declines, that system will have entered the terminal decline phase of its life. It's entirely possible that 2019 was the Switch's peak in the U.S., though we won't have a clear enough picture to tell for certain for at least another few months.

In Japan, the Switch has already racked up a staggering deficit against the DS. Even if we ignore the DS's 2004 sales, the Switch is running a deficit of nearly 8 million units against the DS. The Switch is even trailing the 3DS by a decent amount, and the 3DS also fell well short of the DS. Unless it pulls some mind-blowing figures over the next 3-4 years that put 2019 sales levels to shame, there's no way in hell the Switch is going to even come close matching the DS in Japan, much less surpassing it.

And if VGC data is any indication, the Switch will have to quadruple its current LTD sales figures in Europe to just tie the DS. No system has ever been that back-loaded, so it'd be safe to file that under "Not Going to Happen."

TL;DR: A cursory glance at the sales data demonstrates quite clearly that the odds of the Switch surpassing the DS are close to nil.

I agree for the most part. Just the part about Japan's sales doesn't really seem all that justified considering how frontloaded the DS was there. Switch should be catching up starting this year as the sales came down quite a bit in it's 4th year while the Switch is still climbing, coronavirus notwithstanding. If it can fully catch up there, that's another question, but the gap should start to shrink this year. Same goes for your comparison with the 3DS in Japan, which the Switch is close to guaranteed by now to overtake considering how the 3DS dropped off in his 4th year, too. I do expect Switch to land around 27-32M LT sales in Japan, which wouldn't be far behind the DS's total.

Just one thing that could play in the Switch's favor though that you possibly missed or just forgot to mention: The fact that console generations are getting longer. It could result into the Switch having a longer shelf life than the DS did, meaning it could creep up on the DS to the end of it's career when DS sales were already very low. DS had 6 very good years but dropped off like a rock afterwards; if the Switch could sell for, say, 7 good years (15M+ each year until 2023 included) and a slower decline afterwards, it could do it.

But like you said, chances are extremely slim. Without a shelf life similar to that of the Gameboy or the NES, I don't think Switch could do it.



DonFerrari said:
peachbuggy said:

Your point is pretty moot because yourself and those with similar gaming preferences are actually a very small sample of the console-buying public. You need to look at the bigger picture. Most console buyers don't even frequent gaming forums such as this. It's the domain of the most hardcore of gamers. Joe public will make up the vast majority of the console buying public(and by extension, Switch purchasers) in any given generation and guess what? Not only do they not even post on forums such as this. In fact a huge number of them aren't even aware of their existence. Joe Public will buy 3rd party games for the systems they own, oblivious of its technical shortcomings or not. Anyway, those that are aware and care greatly would probably be PC gamers anyway, so would buy the absolute best version on their gaming rigs. Still wouldn't stop them from buying a Switch in addition though, as if they have any fondness for Nintendo IP's, then the Switch is the only way to play them and looking at the top SW sales for the Switch fortifies that reasoning.

Perhaps you are reading from a different POV (I actually agree with your point though).

I believe he is talking about a subset of people (that do exist in VGC) that have a PC/PS4Pro/X1X and already bought and played let's say Witcher 3 to the end, and gone and bought it again for Switch to play on the go, and he is challenging that. I can understand both the person that have a long commute and like to use his Switch on that and people that want the best performance possible. But I to have a hard time validating rebuying the game just to play it on a small screen with a lot of noise and interruption. If it was me (I don't because I drive my car instead of enjoying public transportation) I would play some of the exclusives of Switch on the go (the ones where 30min session would be satisfying) others on the dock and everything else on the other system I have (talking about people that have more than 1 system).

Maybe you're right and I just misread the POV. I just thought that, considering this thread is about sales that his point was justifying why sales couldn't  reach a certain level but maybe I am seeing it wrong :P



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Random_Matt said:
Someone say the Switch isn't underpowered? A downclocked Shield from years ago, deluded.

That's bait, but I'll bite.

Same could be said about the XBO and PS4, which were equivalent to low-to-mid-range PCs at best during their release. A netbook CPU, a downclocked low-to-mid-range GPU from years ago (Radeon HD 7xxx released in January 2012, so 21 months old compared to the 25 of the X1; XBO and PS4 have about the same power as a 7770 and 7790 respectively, two of the smallest GCN chips). Compared to a halfway decent gaming PC, PS4 and XBO were just as underpowered at their release as the Switch is compared to them- just the latter is portable, which gives it a good reason to be much less powerful.

Oh, and the NVidia Shield also clocks down to Switch speed under load. Nintendo just made it the standard clock speed for power-saving reasons, otherwise the battery would have drained even faster.