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Nintendo Switch passes Game Boy Advance lifetime sales with 84.59 million units sold

The Nintendo Switch has outsold the Game Boy Advance in under half the time and doesn't look to be slowing down.


The Nintendo Switch has passed the Game Boy Advance in lifetime sales and needed less than half the time to do so. That is but one impressive number to come from Nintendo regarding the Switch today. Software sales are also looking very strong.

It’s not particularly surprising that the Nintendo Switch has passed the Game Boy Advance in sales, but it is notable how quickly the Switch pulled this off. The Game Boy Advance had a lifespan that lasted from 2001 to 2010, a period of approximately nine years to sell 81.51 million units. The Nintendo Switch has been available for consumers to buy for just four years and has sold a total of 84.59 million units. This information comes via Nintendo’s investor relations portal .

The Nintendo Switch has also outsold the Game Boy Advance in software units. The latter sold 377.42 million units over its lifespan, while the Switch has already reached 587.12 million units in under half the time. Strong software sales for the Switch are obviously partly to do with the success of games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, among many others.

The Game Boy Advance isn’t the only title that the Nintendo Switch has passed in units sold. In fact, it trails only the Wii, Nintendo DS, and Game Boy in that regard. Next up on the list to pass would be the Wii which sold 101.63 million units over its lifespan. The Game Boy comes after that at 118.69 million units, and the Nintendo DS sits atop the hill with 154.02 million units sold. The Nintendo Switch appears poised to overtake them all if it continues to sell well.

Interested parties should expect a lot more news coming from Nintendo today with their earnings call on the schedule. Follow along with all the news by visiting our Nintendo tag. There’s bound to be more of it.


Bill, who is also known as Rumpo, is a lifelong gamer and Toronto Maple Leafs fan. He is known for his guide writing and, unsettlingly enough, enjoys grinding out in-depth collectible articles. Tweet him @RumpoPlays if you have a question or comment about one of his guides.

From The Chatty
    • reply
      May 6, 2021 5:46 AM

      Nintendo Switch is now to 84.5 million sales (69.9M normal, 14.7 Lite)

      Mario Kart 8 is up to 35M, Animal Crossing : NH to 32 M, SSBU, BotW, Pokemon Sword/Shield, and SM Odyssey all over 20M

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        May 6, 2021 5:49 AM

        That's about 4.6M new sales in this last quarter, and a grow year-to-year in the same quarter.

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        May 6, 2021 6:23 AM

        They are killing it.

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        May 6, 2021 6:28 AM

        But they need 4k and to be a third party

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          May 6, 2021 7:33 AM

          Nintendo continues to do its best to deny that it has new hardware in development that all industry rumors point heavily towards.

          I am assuming at this point we'll have an announcement at E3 about it.

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          May 6, 2021 7:51 AM


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        May 6, 2021 7:39 AM

        Nice. There has been a drought in big titles since ACNH. I am hoping some sort of Zelda anniversary game this winter, not holding my breath though. BotW2 is certainly 2022 and Metroid is probably 2022/2023.

        Cant wait for Mario Golf though lol

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          May 6, 2021 7:51 AM

          I’m sooo looking forward to Mario golf.

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          May 6, 2021 7:52 AM

          I just want Metroid Prime Trilogy.

          I just want to be able to play through those three games at my own pace on a portable screen in bed.

          There's certain kinds of games where the Switch just works better for me, immersion-wise. I never got that into Skyrim on PC despite liking it a lot but I played the shit out of it on Switch.

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        May 6, 2021 7:46 AM

        My sister bought a Switch for her kid for his 6th birthday last week and I got him Mario Kart 8 for it (after being lucky to find a Switch she could get in time at all she was thrilled to let me buy him his first video game)

        The detachable joycons were a huge hit since he could do multiplayer with a friend. MK8 in general is greatness because it's just complex enough to be interesting and simple enough to be easy for little kids to understand. It's done them huge business since being a revamped Wii U title meant they could have it released in like the first month of the system and it just keeps selling.

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          May 6, 2021 7:50 AM

          Crazy how profitable that has been for them. Probably 2 billion in sales for that title on switch. And probably 90% of the dev costs were soaked up in the wiiu days.

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        May 6, 2021 8:38 AM

        I just remembered Reggie isn't with Nintendo anymore and got a little sad.

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        May 6, 2021 8:40 AM

        switch pro when

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        May 6, 2021 8:40 AM

        Even though I love the Switch I honestly expected the games to arrive faster with all their devs focused on one console. Without the Wii U library to recycle (fine by me, never played any of them) they'd have been screwed.

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        May 6, 2021 8:41 AM

        So have they won this generation?

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          May 6, 2021 8:48 AM

          There is debate about which generation the Switch is since it was introduced so late into the 8th, and is nowhere close to the capabilities of the 9th.

          • Zek legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
            May 6, 2021 4:46 PM

            The Switch isn't part of the traditional console generation cycle any more than the 3DS was. Nintendo is doing its own thing from here on out.

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              May 6, 2021 7:41 PM

              Sony feels like the only company still wedded to generations. They’ve said themselves that they’re big believers in generations and generational splits.

              Meanwhile Nintendo is doing their thing with their combined hybrid platform while MS is focused on making the console hardware (which they’re apparently treating more like a smartphone going forward) just one way to access their ecosystem.

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          May 6, 2021 8:51 AM

          The game isn't what it used to be. There's not as much a clear winner every five or seven years.

          Attach rates, subscription numbers, hardware profit, all this stuff co-mingles to where it's harder to say who's "winning" in the traditional sense.

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            May 6, 2021 8:52 AM

            Plus now we have actual mid-generation hardware revisions like the XboneX and the PS4 Pro

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              May 6, 2021 11:46 AM

              Sure - I fully expect an XSX and PS5 Pro in three years.

              Although this time they actually launched with beefy hardware & lots of headroom. Last gen was pretty sad from a power perspective. Xbone X was nice but still had a weak CPU.

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              May 6, 2021 3:10 PM

              I think those were exceptions because the 2013 hardware was just that bad. The 4k revisions were there to shore up hardware that was underpowered by launch console standards.

              The 2020 consoles are very beefy by comparison, much more in line with what we saw with the 360 and PS3 in 2005/2006. I don't think we'll see a "pro" update. At the most I expect something more like smartphone updates after six or seven years, where its an in-line update. I don't think we'll see mid-cycle pro updates simply because the PS5 and Xbox Series have so much more headroom for improvement than the vanilla PS4 or Xbox One ever did

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          May 6, 2021 8:53 AM

          they did for me.

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          May 6, 2021 8:57 AM

          If by number of consoles sold, if you assume they're in the same generation as the Xbone/PS4, the answer is no since PS4 has shipped 115M units (sold 106M, according to Wikipedia) which is higher than the 84.5M Nintendo says they've shipped. And Microsoft stopped reporting numbers so we have no idea where it compares there. Granted, Xbone/PS4 had three years longer in the marketplace so the pace of the Switch's sales is pretty huge (it was the fastest selling console ever at one point, supposedly PS5 has taken that crown now, however they calculate that)

          Ain't nobody crying for Nintendo though

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          May 6, 2021 3:07 PM

          It'll cross the 100m milestone faster than both the Wii and the PS4 did. It just outsold the 360 and is about to outsell the PS3 in half the time either of those systems did.

          The question is if it'll cross the roughly 150m units that the Nintendo DS and PS2 sold, but if they keep the Switch around as long as they did the 3DS along with a hardware revision then who knows.

          Whichever generation you place it its well past winning that generation. At worst it'll be the #3 top selling console of all time

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            May 6, 2021 3:13 PM

            Note that its actually keeping pace with the DS:

            If its ever going to hit that 150M mark then it has to stay on the market for a very long time and bolstered by hardware revisions like they did with DS and 3DS

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              May 6, 2021 3:29 PM

              My hope is that not only is Switch Pro or Switch 2 or whatever they call it backwards compatible with the Switch games (it probably will be, Nintendo's got a history of sometimes being compatible with the previous generation) but that it just stays backwards compatible indefinitely in future generations.

              The age of custom processors for consoles is done, the odds of something other than ARM springing up as the go-to for mobile devices is pretty slim, and the cartridge is already so small they had to make it taste awful to prevent it from being a choking hazard so I don't think they need to iterate on that either. So just make it to where in 2027 or whatever my Switch 3 can still play the copy of Wasteland 2 I have on a cartridge and I'll keep happily buying them.

              Oh who am I kidding I'll buy them anyway but it'd be nice not to have to worry about my library not coming along for the ride.

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                May 6, 2021 3:46 PM

                I believe that the Switch, PS4, and Xbox One all represent stable platforms where backwards compatibility will just exist. I believe that Nintendo will stay on Tegra just like PS/Xbox will stay on x86.

                Nintendo has been doing backwards compatibility for decades (MS is ofc doing terrific work with Xbox now). They added additional hardware to make BC work on the Gameboy Advance, DS, Wii, Wii U (they literally added additional SoCs to boot into prior consoles on both the Wii and Wii U), and 3DS, and ofc they also had software emulation with the Wii and Wii U. Other weird products like the SNES Super Gameboy or the GBA adapter for the Gamecube also existed.

                What broke backwards compatibility was changing storage mediums (from numerous cartridge formats to optical discs to solid state) and SoCs (different RISC CPUs to PowerPC to Tegra). That just doesn't exist now with a stable technological foundation (ARM is everywhere!) and solid state storage.

                Settling on an ARM platform that has decades ahead of it is very different from the dead end that was IBM's PowerPC. Nintendo wasn't the only company that ended up having to abandon it, MS and Sony did too. So did Apple!

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                  May 6, 2021 3:49 PM

                  Honestly, the determining factor for BC will be if a game is dual screen or single screen. This is why DS games could be played on the Wii U but is why DS and 3DS games won't ever come to the Switch or its successors, at least as long as they remain single screen.

                  I think its a huge reason why the value in 3DS hardware and software has skyrocketed over the last two years. Loose copies of 3DS games are going upwards of $100 on eBay when they were only $10 just a a few years ago, its insane

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          May 6, 2021 4:04 PM

          as someone who really didn't like the switch, yeah - pretty much.

          not only did they move more units, i expect they profited the most off the hardware, and obviously they profited like crazy off the software because they never discount anything.

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      May 6, 2021 8:38 AM

      i hear these numbers and it's just hard to visualize

      imagine 85 million switch boxes stacked up in one place

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      May 6, 2021 11:43 AM

      The switch is getting a bit dated cause of next gens load times , I would get annoyed playing botw today and it’s long ass shrine loading times when mikes morales loads instantly everywhere

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        May 6, 2021 3:10 PM

        I've been pleasantly surprised at Monster Hunter Rise's load times, but I completely agree. Demon's Souls on PS5 with its 5-second load times for huge area shifts was eye opening. I hadn't seen load times like that since the N64 days. I couldn't be happier to have that time back.

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