Sony’s PlayStation 2 is a very iconic system. In fact, it’s the most iconic system ever. That’s because it just so happens to be the highest-selling game system of all time, having sold a whopping 155 million units worldwide across a staggering 13 years on the market. There has yet to be a system to beat the PS2’s record sales numbers, and very few have been able to mirror its sales performance; only four, to be exact (DS, Wii, PS4 and 3DS.) But, we can actually add another system to that list: the Switch.
A report from Nintendo Soup has revealed that in Japan (the home turf of both the Switch and PS2), the Switch has managed to outpace the sales numbers for the PS2’s first ten months on the market. Both systems launched at the beginning of March (the Switch on the 3rd, and PS2 on the 4th), so their timelines match almost perfectly. The report has a list which breaks down the sales numbers for each system from March to December.
In the first five months of each system’s life (March – July) the Switch pulled in fewer numbers than the PS2. This is mostly due to the intense stock shortages that were plaguing the Switch for a good chunk of this year, caused by the unexpected massive consumer demand which caught Nintendo totally off-guard. By September, the shortage issue was growing smaller as new stock started to ship out more consistently, which led to the Switch being able to overtake PS2’s sales numbers between September and now (December). This has led to the Switch selling about 3.3 million units in the region in less than a full year, whereas the PS2 pulled in just a little over 3 million.
So, how did the Switch manage to outpace the mighty PS2 in Japan? In recent times, the majority of Japanese gamers have become far more interested in portable gaming rather than home consoles. That’s what makes this situation between the Switch and PS2 interesting because the Switch is a hybrid system; it walks the line between handheld console and home console. As a result, many Japanese gamers have taken a liking to the Switch for its portability, which gave the system enough of a sales push to outpace the PS2’s performance in the same timeline.
Of course, now the big question is: how well will the Switch sell in its lifetime? That is absolutely impossible to accurately predict, so I’m not even going to try. Selling 155 million units like the PS2 isn’t impossible, but that is a very lofty goal. But, the system has certainly gained a lot of momentum this year. Its performance next year should give us a much clearer picture of how its future will turn out, although it will still be rather early to determine exactly how things will continue to progress throughout the rest of the system’s lifecycle. Still, this is definitely an achievement on Nintendo’s part, and it’s rather impressive considering that their last system, the Wii U, was a notoriously low-selling system (the lowest of any Nintendo home console). In fact, at the same time that the Switch has outpaced the PS2’s first-year sales in Japan, it has also surpassed the Wii U’s lifetime sales in the region. So, just in case you didn’t realize yet, the Switch should not be slept on. Keep your eyes on this system as the generation continues.
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