To put it gently – and I want to put it gently, because I love Nintendo – the Wii U was not a hit. After the runaway success of the Wii, the bar was sky high for Nintendo’s next console, and the Wii U didn’t come anywhere close to reaching that bar, let alone sailing over it.

So how well did it sell? Well, in the five years (and some change) since i’s release, it’s moved 13.56 million units. The Nintendo Switch, which has been on the market for about ten months now, has sold 14.86 million units. That’s over a million more units in just a fifth of the time. So how many Wii units were sold in the console’s lifetime?

101.63 million units.

It’s a tall order, no doubt. Then again, the Switch doesn’t have to outsell the Wii to be a runaway success. In fact, it doesn’t even have to outsell the Wii to be more successful than the Wii.

As Dave Thier of Forbes rightly points out, the Wii appealed to a lot of casual gamers who never branched out from the core sports games. I can attest to that as well. I’ve been to countless social functions where Wii Sports played a big part in the festivities, yet there were rarely many more games sitting next to the console.

It wouldn’t be that far off the mark to say that Wii Sports held more appeal than the actual console did. The Switch, however, already had people arguing whether The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey – two Nintendo games – deserved to be game of the year.


So while the Nintendo Switch may never move over a hundred-million units (though it very well may), the exciting and upcoming games catalog may be the deciding factor that ultimately makes it the more successful console. Time will tell on that, but one thing is for sure: whether you prefer consoles or handhelds, it’s a good time to be a Nintendo fan.

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