The Nintendo Switch may have release back in 2017, but the handheld console hybrid’s strength hasn’t been waning, even in the face of new consoles from both Sony and Microsoft. Multiple analysts expect the Switch to be the best selling console in 2021, outselling both the new PS5 and Xbox Series X for the year.
In an article on GamesIndustry.biz forecasting trends for 2021 in the gaming industry, analysts Mat Piscatella of NPD, Dr. Serkan Toto of Kantan Games, and Piers Harding-Rolls of Ampere Analysis all predict the same thing: That the Nintendo Switch will stay at the top of the sales charts, bolstered by an ongoing first-party lineup and the rumored “Pro” hardware refresh that could make it more attractive for third-party development. Piscatella is the only one who doesn’t think a new hardware model is coming, though still predicts a strong year for Nintendo regardless, thanks to “content and promotional efforts.”
Harding-Rolls specifically predicts sales of 24 million units for the Switch in 2021, while they see the PS5 and Xbox Series X combined only reaching 25 million. All of the analysts also say that the PS5 is expected to be the market leader between Sony and Microsoft, outselling the combined total of Xbox Series X|S sales for the year. Notably, Sony has a promising slate of first and third-party exclusives coming up, while Microsoft’s promises of the same have failed to materialize in any big ways yet.
As of September 2020, the Switch had already sold 68 million units. It’s dominated the sales charts since its launch, consistently outselling Sony and Microsoft on yearly numbers. While hardware shortages and Sony’s alleged “disregard” of Japan have factored into these warring sales stats to some extent, there’s no denying the strength of Nintendo’s strategy making a versatile hybrid handheld console, rather than pouring focus into pure power.
In fact, in many ways, the general strategy for each of the big three has diverged in big ways over the last decade or so, made more noticeable with this latest generation. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo each employ unique strengths behind their platforms that drive their specific strategy, so to directly compare Switch sales to that of PS5 and Xbox Series X|S may be a bit of an apples/oranges scenario.