- The Nintendo Switch has surpassed the lifetime sales of the PlayStation 4 in Japan, even though Sony’s console has been on the market for three more years
- The PlayStation 4 remains the most popular console worldwide with nearly 100 million units sold.
- Gamers in Japan have historically shown much more interest in portable consoles than other markets, with high adoption rates for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita as well.
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After months at the top of Japan’s sales charts for video game hardware, the Nintendo Switch has overtaken Sony’s PlayStation 4 as the country’s most popular gaming console. The Switch has now sold 8.12 million units in Japan while the PlayStation 4 has sold 6.91 million units, based on sales figures from Famitsu, a Japanese gaming magazine.
Keep in mind that the PlayStation 4 has been available for 5 years in Japan, while the Switch is only two years old.
The PlayStation 4 remains the most popular console worldwide, with nearly 100 million units sold, but gamers in Japan account for less than 10% of global sales. In comparison, Nintendo has sold about 35 million Switch consoles worldwide, meaning roughly 20% of Switch sales come from Japan.
Historically, gamers in Japan have been more enthusiastic about portable consoles than gamers in other countries, leading to higher than average adoption rates for consoles like the Switch, and even Sony’s ill-fated portable PlayStation Vita. The Switch can also be docked with a TV and used as a home console, so players don’t have to sacrifice a quality experience at home to game on the go.
While the PlayStation 4 had a three year head start on the Switch, Nintendo’s console is steadily catching up on the global scale too. Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst for Niko Partners, constructed a chart comparing the sales growth of several video game consoles from their initial release dates. The Switch is growing at a comparable rate to the PlayStation 4, and Ahmad said it will likely maintain that pace.
Here is a look at launch aligned cumulative global console shipments for top selling consoles.
The Nintendo Switch has been on the market for 25 months and is currently selling in line with the PS4. Based on current forecast, it should maintain a similar trajectory to PS4. pic.twitter.com/l6INF1hmA5
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) April 25, 2019
While the quality of the two consoles can’t be judge based on sales alone, it’s interesting to see that gamers in Japan are much more eager to adopt Nintendo’s hybrid portable console than Sony’s more powerful PlayStation 4.