The Nintendo Switch sees its highest annual sales in history in Japan, with almost 6m units sold

2020 proved to be a bumper year for the Switch in Japan, as it recorded its highest annual sales in its four-year history.

According to data released by Famitsu, the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite sold a combined 5,957,000 units in 2020 – an increase of 30 per cent over 2019, which saw 4,494,000 units sold that year.

Both versions of the Switch saw increased sales in 2020, but the Switch Lite has performed particularly well – nearly doubling its sales to 2,026,709 units sold, compared to 2019’s 1,045,383 units sold.

As a result, the Switch has now been the number one selling console in Japan for four years in a row – its entire lifetime. The Switch’s lead isn’t even remotely close either, the second-best selling system is the Playstation 4, with a comparatively tiny 543K units in 2020 (including the PS4 Pro).

Given its launch late in the year, and the supply shortages, the Playstation 5 sold 255K units in its first seven weeks of going on sale.

In terms of software, Animal Crossing: New Horizons predictably dominated last year, topping the 2020 physical sales chart with 6,378,000 copies sold. By far the best selling game of the year, Animal Crossing dominated the top spot on the charts for six straight months from March to August.

The staggering success of Animal Crossing contributed not only to Japan’s physical game market as a whole, but was a large driver of the Switch’s success in its home country.

Ring Fit Adventure, 2019’s 10th-best selling game, jumped up to 2nd place in 2020, with 1,591,000 copies sold, making it the seventh double-million-seller for the Switch platform.

Japan’s physical video game market was valued at 367.38 billion yen, a 12.5 per cent increase from 2019. Hardware sales rose 16.4 per cent to 185.66 billion yen, while packaged software sales saw a 8.9 percent increase to 181.72 billion yen. 2020 marked the first time that Japan’s market showed positive y/y growth in both hardware and software revenues.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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