Nintendo is doing really, really well — here are the 6 craziest stats that highlight the company’s return to dominance

Nintendo is doing very, very well right now. Like, super well.

Mario's stacking coins for Nintendo, as per usual.

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Mario’s stacking coins for Nintendo, as per usual.
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Nintendo

So well, in fact, that its 10-month-old console has already outsold its previous one. And the games for that console – the Switch – are moving at a similarly absurd clip.

After Nintendo’s latest earnings report, we got a clearer look than ever into exactly how successful Nintendo is right now. The short answer: Extremely. Here are the most absurd numbers we found that highlight Nintendo’s return to dominance.


1. Seven Switch games published by Nintendo have sold over 1 million copies each. And “Super Mario Odyssey” has sold nearly 10 million copies.

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Nintendo

The Nintendo Switch console launched on March 3. By the end of December, the console had a whopping seven million-plus sellers.

Nintendo had a year full of critical and commercial smash hits, starting with “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” a major launch game that arrived alongside the Switch on March 3.

In April, “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” debuted – it’s now Nintendo’s second-best-selling Switch game, with 7.33 million units sold worldwide. Approximately half of all Switch owners bought “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.”

That’s before we start talking about the absurdly popular “Super Mario Odyssey.”

“Odyssey” launched on October 27. Between then and December 31, over 9 million units were sold.

Super Mario Odyssey


2. In less than a year, the Nintendo Switch has outsold the console it replaced. And there are no signs of slowing.

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Nintendo

More than 14.86 million Switch consoles have been sold, meaning Nintendo has sold more Switch consoles in under 12 months than it did Wii U devices over nearly five years, from late 2012 to early 2017.

Nintendo Switch sales vs Wii U sales (Dec. 31, 2017)

That’s serious business. The Switch is actually selling faster than Nintendo’s Wii, which was itself a runaway success. In fact, it’s Nintendo’s fastest-selling console ever in the US.


3. Nintendo intentionally stacked the year with big game launches.

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Nintendo

In March, it was “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” In April, it was “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.” As 2017 went on, Nintendo’s Switch had “ARMS,” “Splatoon 2,” “Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle,” and “Super Mario Odyssey.”

In short, the year was full of major Switch games that could be played only on the Switch. Better still: Most of those games are very good.

As Nintendo’s president, Tatsumi Kimishima, said in a recent investor presentation, “We were able to offer multiple hit titles early on for Nintendo Switch that serve as powerful drivers for hardware sales.”

Indeed, Nintendo’s strategy of releasing several major games in succession was assuredly responsible for much of the console’s success in 2017.

The company has similar plans for 2018, seen here:

Nintendo 2018 Switch line-up

“From February onward we will be releasing a wide variety of new software titles one after the next,” Kimishima said.


4. Over 60% of Switch owners bought “Super Mario Odyssey.”

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Nintendo

If you have a Nintendo Switch, you probably own “Super Mario Odyssey.” That’s not just hyperbole – that’s mathematically true.

With 9.07 million copies of “Super Mario Odyssey” sold as of December 31 (just two months!), and 14.86 million Switch consoles in the wild, 61% of Switch owners have “Odyssey.”

That’s mighty impressive. Nintendo has seemingly conquered the “chicken and egg” problem of launching a new game console.

Since the Switch has been available for only about 10 months, only so many people have bought it thus far – the PlayStation 4 has been around since 2013, and there are over 70 million in the wild. If a small percentage of PlayStation 4 owners buy a game, it’s still a lot of sales. If a small percentage of Switch owners buy a game, it isn’t.

Nintendo, somehow, has managed to push past that issue by persuading a huge percentage of Switch owners to buy its games. Of the seven games that sold over 1 million copies, three games sold over 6 million copies each.


5. Nintendo sold over 4 million mini Super Nintendo consoles.

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The NES Classic Edition, left, and the Super NES Classic Edition.
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Nintendo

In what should be a surprise to no one, Nintendo’s $80 classic console – the Super NES Classic Edition – is a massive hit. Over 4 million were sold as of December 31.

At $80 apiece, it’s a great deal: The Super NES Classic Edition comes with two controllers and more than 20 classic games.

Nintendo had a hard time keeping the console on shelves for much of the year. Thankfully, the plan is to continue producing and selling the console – a rethinking of the previous limited-edition strategy.


6. “Super Mario Run” remains very popular, with 20 million people playing every month.

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Nintendo

“Super Mario Run” – the simplified version of Mario that Nintendo created for mobile devices – has been around for over a year, and it’s still being widely played. Apparently Nintendo is “maintaining a base” of about 20 million players monthly. Not too bad!

It’s not clear how many of those 20 million users shelled out the $10 needed to unlock much of the game’s content, but Nintendo isn’t looking at its smartphone games solely as a means of revenue generation. “This game helps to maximize the number of people who have access to Nintendo [intellectual properties] by providing a Mario game that a wide variety of users around the world can enjoy,” Kimishima said.

Similarly, Nintendo’s efforts in miniaturized, classic game consoles are seen as “an opportunity to garner interest in Nintendo Switch from those who have not interacted with video games in a long time, or ever.”