The Nintendo Switch has officially outsold the GameBoy Advance

Nintendo Switch Lite Turquoise
Nintendo Switch Lite Turquoise (Image credit: Nintendo)

What you need to know

  • The Nintendo Switch has sold 84.59 million copies in the fiscal year 2021 which lasted from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
  • Software sales raised by 36.8% from FY20 to 230.88 million units in FY21.
  • This puts the console ahead of the GameBoy Advance, which sold 81.51 million units.

Nintendo's latest financial data has laid-out all the information on their hardware and software sales over the past financial year. Nintendo's financial years don't run in the same way that the calendar year does, but rather each FY for Nintendo starts on April 1 and ends on March 31 of the following year. This means that FY21, or the Financial Year ending in 2021, ran from April 1, 2020 until March 31, 2021.

Here are some highlights of the data:

Sales and profit

  • Net sales — 1,758.9 billion JPY, up 34.4% year-on-year.
    • From dedicated video game platforms — 1,700 billion JPY, up 35.6% year-on-year.
    • From mobile and IP-related income — 57 billion JPY, up 11.3% year-on-year.
    • From playing cards, etc. — 1.7 billion JPY, down 41.9% year-on-year.
  • Net profit — 480.3 billion JPY, up 85.7% year-on-year.
  • Digital sales — 344.1 billion JPY, up 68.5% year-on-year.

Regional sales

  • The Americas — 41.6% of global sales
  • Europe — 25.1% of global sales
  • Japan — 22.6% of global sales
  • Other — 10.7% of global sales

Nintendo Switch hardware and software

  • Hardware — 28.83 million units, up 37.1% year-on-year.
    • Nintendo Switch — 20.32 million units, up 37% year-on-year.
    • Nintendo Switch Lite — 8.51 million units, up 37.3% year-on-year.
  • Software — 230.88 million units, up 36.8% year-on-year.
    • Digital software — 42.8% of total software sales, up 8.8% year-on-year.

The data shows that 84.59 million Nintendo Switch systems have been sold as of March 31, 2021. This means that the Switch has officially outsold the GameBoy Advance, the company's third best-selling handheld console (81.51 million units) after the original GameBoy and the Nintendo DS. Approximately 28.83 million hardware units have been sold as of the past fiscal year.

As for Nintendo Switch software, 587.12 million units have been sold over its lifetime, placing it ahead of GameBoy software sales and behind the Nintendo Wii, which sold 921.85 million units of software. Given the numbers shared for last year's sales, 230.88 million software units were sold in FY21, up 36.8% from FY20. Around 54.77 million software units were sold in the final quarter of the past fiscal year, suggesting that, on average, seven games were sold for every console sold. The pandemic's effect on physical sales was very visible, with digital sales at 344.1 billion yen, up 68.5% compared to last year.

Nintendo Switch Annual Hardware Software Sales By Region (Image credit: Nintendo)

Net sales in FY21 were 1,758.9 billion yen, up 34.4% from FY20. Net profit raised 85.7% from FY20, landing at 480.3 billion yen. The Americas continued to dominate the sales market, accounting for 41.6% of global sales. Of the 36 titles that sold over 1 million units, 22 were published by Nintendo themselves. The software star of FY21 was Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which sold 20.85 million units. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sold 10.62 million units, Super Mario 3D All-Stars closed its final year of sales at 9.01 million units, and Ring Fit Adventure brought in a healthy 7.38 million units, no doubt due to pandemic restrictions and people needing to stay active while at home.

Here are the top 10 multi-million-unit software sales in FY21:

  1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons — 20.85 million units
  2. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe — 10.62 million units
  3. Super Mario 3D All-Stars — 9.01 million units
  4. Ring Fit Adventure — 7.38 million units
  5. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury — 5.59 million units
  6. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate — 5.01 million units
  7. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — 4.86 million units
  8. Super Mario Party — 4.69 million units
  9. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe — 3.84 million units
  10. Pokémon Sword and Shield — 3.73 million units

Nintendo's best-selling handheld system is still the Nintendo DS, which sold 154.02 million hardware units and 948.72 million software units. Their best-selling home console remains the Nintendo Wii, with 101.63 million hardware units and 921.85 million software units. Though with the pandemic boosting video game sales around the world and the great games that the Nintendo Switch has to offer, there's no doubt that Nintendo's hybrid console will continue to break records.

Nadine Dornieden

Nadine is a freelance writer for iMore with a specialty in all things Nintendo, often working on news, guides, reviews, and editorials. She's been a huge Nintendo fan ever since she got to pet her very own Nintendog, and enjoys looking at Nintendo's place in the video game industry. Writing is her passion, but she mostly does it so that she can pay off her ever-growing debt to Tom Nook. Her favorite genres are simulation games, rhythm games, visual novels, and platformers. You can find her at @stopthenadness on Twitter, where she'll more than likely be reposting cute Animal Crossing content.