Nintendo has confirmed that the Nintendo Switch has already beaten the Wii U's lifetime sales across the world. This comes from an updated financial report that takes into account all global sales up to December 31st, 2017.
We had previously reported that the Wii U had already been outsold by the Nintendo Switch in Japan. That report had yet to take into account the sales from across the world. It wasn't a safe bet that the Switch had the same success internationally as it did in Japan, as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One had amazing holiday sales, which likely affected the Switch's debut. It was incredibly difficult for most Japanese gamers to acquire a Nintendo Switch, due to shortages of the console in stores. The same level of short supplies didn't seem to happen in the other major markets after the initial release of the system.
According to Nintendo's report: the Nintendo Switch has sold 14.86 million consoles across the world. This means that it has surpassed the Wii U's lifetime sales (13.56 million consoles) within the space of nine months. The Switch's software sales are about half of what the Wii U accomplished throughout its lifespan, with the Switch selling 52.57 million units, compared to the Wii U's 101.65 million.
It seems that the relative failure of the Wii U to find an audience had a profound effect on Nintendo, as they frontloaded the Nintendo Switch's first year with incredible titles that were released within a short proximity of each other. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey were two of the most highly-acclaimed games of 2017, which helped earn the system a great deal of attention, especially to the fact that these triple-A quality titles can be played on the go. The fact that Nintendo has brought lots of third-party developers on board means that the Switch will (hopefully) avoid the long droughts of new content that plagued the Wii U throughout its lifespan.
If the Nintendo Switch maintains its momentum, then it will likely eclipse the GameCube's lifetime sales (21.74 million units) within its second year. The Switch is still a long way off from becoming Nintendo's best-selling console, but the current financial report suggests that the Switch is going to be a huge success for the company.