The Nintendo Switch once again dominated the Japanese console market, with 87% of all console sales attributed to the Nintendo handheld.
This comes after the Nintendo Switch's hugely successful year in the US, in which it kept its best-selling console spot amid the next-gen console launches.
According to Famitsu data reported by GamesIndustry.biz, the Switch sold almost 6 million units in 2020. This was split in a 2:1 ratio between the Switch and the Switch Lite, with the base version shipping nearly 4 million consoles alongside the Lite's 2 million units.
In terms of game sales, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the best-selling Nintendo Switch game in Japan by a large margin. New Horizons sold nearly 6.4m copies, next to second place Ring Fit Adventure's 1.5m copies.
With the huge success of Animal Crossing: New Horizons being at least partly responsible for Nintendo's groundbreaking year, fans are now looking ahead to its 2021 plans to see if the company can build on these sales. Currently, New Pokemon Snap and Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury are the two games scheduled to launch in 2021 with concrete release dates, but could we perhaps see a new Breath of the Wild instalment too?
Keep reading for all the latest and greatest Nintendo Switch news...
More Nintendo News: Real-life Super Smash Bros. invites now available via MyNintendo rewards!
Nintendo has updated the items available via MyNintendo rewards to include a set of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Invitation Greeting Cards.
The set includes three white envelopes and a collection of 5" x 6.5" sheets, bearing the Super Smash Bros. cross in different colours. It also comes with three red stickers bearing the Smash Bros. logo to complete the look.
The white envelopes bearing the Super Smash Bros. logo have become somewhat of an iconic design in Nintendo folklore, following their consistent use in each new character reveal for Super Smash Bros. It was first seen in Villager's reveal for Super Smash Bros 4, and has since been received by the likes of Joker, Min Min and Terry.
Banjo-Kazooie, Sephiroth, Steve and Hero did not receive the iconic invite during their trailer reveals for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's Fighter Pass, however.
These envelopes were previously available for MyNintendo members based in Japan.
MyNintendo members can secure the Greeting Cards set by spending 400 Platinum Points. The MyNintendo scheme does not offer free postage, meaning those wanting to buy the invitations will have to spend up to $5 on shipping.
These cards are only available until March 8, and likely have a limited stock, too.
Unfortunately for many Nintendo fans, this set is not available in all regions, with fans from the UK and Europe reporting being unable to see the Smash Bros. cards on the MyNintendo store.
Nintendo 3DS outsells Xbox consoles in Japan!
Nintendo sold more 3DS's than the total number of all Xbox consoles sold in Japan in 2020, according to the latest reports.
As Famitsu reported, 62,761 3DS consoles were shipped in Japan throughout 2020, adding to the already 25.5m consoles sold since its launch in 2011. The Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S sold an estimated 3,585 and 31,424 units, respectively, totalling just over 35,000 units sold.
In comparison, almost six million Nintendo Switch consoles were sold in Japan, alongside 255,000 PS5's and 542,000 PS4's.
The Nintendo 3DS was discontinued after nine years of production in mid-2020, as Nintendo diverted further focus to the Nintendo Switch system instead, which remains the best-selling console across the globe in 2020.
Xbox, while having a successful release for the Series X/S consoles, has struggled to break into the Japanese gaming market, leading to rumours and speculation that Microsoft could attempt to acquire SEGA to help resolve this issue.
1 million Nintendo Switch consoles have sold in China!
Over one million Nintendo Switch consoles have been shipped in China since the console's released in the country in 2019, according to Tencent- the company responsible for its distribution.
As reported by Reuters, this figure means the Nintendo Switch has already outsold any previous PlayStation or Xbox consoles released in China - a region which primarily plays video games on mobile devices rather than consoles.
Video game consoles were also previously banned in China from 2000, with the government warning about the negative effects on children. This decision was overturned in 2014.
According to Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad, the Nintendo Switch's success in China is even greater than the official figures suggest due to the existence of grey market consoles shipped in before 2019.
"When accounting for grey market units imported into Mainland China since 2017, that the total installed base of the Nintendo Switch in the country is over 4 million units," Ahmad said on Twitter.
This comes as the Nintendo Switch is reported to have shipped over 75 million units globally since its release in 2017, following another successful Holiday season.
Nintendo acquires Luigi's Mansion 3 and Mario Strikers developer Next Level Games!
Nintendo is set to purchase the Canadian studio Next Level Games for an undisclosed amount, the company has announced.
The studio is known for its work on Nintendo titles such as Luigi's Mansion 3, Punch Out! and Mario Strikers Charged. It has worked solely on Nintendo titles since 2013, with Captain America: Super Soldier for the PS3 and Xbox 360 being its last game for other platforms.
This comes after Luigi's Mansion 3 saw both critical and commercial acclaim following its release in October 2019, selling almost 8 million copies and receiving a Metascore of 86.
Nintendo will acquire 100% of Next Level Games and hope to finalise the deal by March 1, 2021. It expects the deal to have "only minor effects" on Nintendo's fiscal year results.
Next Level Games joins Retro Studios as only the second studio fully owned by Nintendo outside of Asia.
READ MORE: Someone’s remade Sonic SMS for PC!
Nintendo reveals best-selling indie games of 2020!
Despite a relatively quiet Holiday release window that consisted of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity and Pikmin 3: Deluxe, Nintendo has continued to see immense success in 2020.
While first-party games Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Mario Kart 8 have brought in the most sales for Nintendo, indie titles have remained vital to the Nintendo Switch this year.
In celebration of indie games, Nintendo has released a video announcing the best-selling indie titles of 2020 via the Indie World Twitter account, which you can see below:
Nintendo did not specifically rank these titles, but in order of their appearance, the games shown were as follows:
- Street of Rage 4
- Moving Out
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- What the Golf?
- Shantae and the Seven Sirens
- Super Mega Baseball 3
- The Jackbox Party Pack 7
- Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin
- Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition
- Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2
- Neon Abyss
Aside from these indie titles, one of the most popular indie games of all-time, Among Us, is also now available on the Nintendo Switch. InnerSloth's game did not feature on the best-selling indie list, likely because it was only recently released onto the eShop.
Nintendo declined the chance to work on a game with Kanye West
Kanye West attempted to collaborate on a video game with Nintendo only for the company to "politely decline" the offer, according to Reggie Fils-Aimé.
In the latest episode of the Talking Games with Reggie and Harold podcast, the former Nintendo of America President described a meeting he attended with the American rapper, in which Kim Kardashian was also present.
"[Kanye] was experimenting with a piece of video game content; he wanted reactions to it," Fils-Aimé explained. Kanye then said: "I want to work with Nintendo" before Fils-Aimé declined the offer.
"We had so many different projects at Nintendo going on," Fils-Aimé said. "The possibility of doing something with Kanye just wasn’t there, and so I had to find a way to politely decline this opportunity to work with him."
Despite ultimately not working with Kanye West, Fils-Aimé said: "Kanye has such a passion for the video game space, and he’s a creator."
This would not have been the first time a video game company teamed up with an American rapper, with PlayStation and Xbox having worked with Travis Scott and Snoop Dogg, respectively ahead of the PS5 and Xbox Series X launches.
Nintendo Switch price
Since the Nintendo Switch first released in March 2017, the console has suffered very few drops in price. At some periods (especially during the first COVID-19 lockdown), the console actually rose in price as scalpers took advantage of its scarcity.
The Switch first launched at £279.99, and as of November 2020, both the Neon and Grey versions of the console remain at £279.99 at Amazon, GAME and Argos, albeit with an improved battery.
The budget version of the console which was released in 2019, the Nintendo Switch Lite, still costs £199.00 at most retailers, the same price as when it first launched.
Given the popularity of these Nintendo consoles, it's no wonder their prices have yet to decrease significantly at major retailers. However, if you're wanting a better deal on these Switches, you might want to wait until Black Friday...
READ MORE: Cheap Consoles Black Friday 2020
Nintendo Switch upcoming games
The main draw of the Nintendo Switch isn't its hardware components, or even its portability. It's the games.
As Nintendo refuses to release its flagship series' on any other platform, if you want to play the latest The Legend of Zelda, Metroid Prime, Mario Kart or Pokemon games, you'll need to have a Nintendo Switch. So, let's have a look at what titles are releasing on the Switch pretty soon.
Nintendo's main Holiday 2020 title, aside from Super Mario 3D All-Stars, is the upcoming Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. This Hyrule Warriors sequel is set in the Breath of the Wild universe and appears to act as a prequel to BOTW's storyline. Age of Calamity is set to launch on November 20.
Aside from Age of Calamity, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is the only other first-party Nintendo game coming to the Switch that we have a release date for. It is slated to release on February 12, 2021.
New Pokemon Snap, Breath of the Wild 2, Bayonetta 3 and Metroid Prime 4 have all been announced, but we know very little about these titles at the moment.
In terms of third-party games, we'd pick Bravely Default II, Monster Hunter Rise, Monster Hunter Stories 2, Disgaea 6 as some of the titles to keep an eye on.
Will there be a Nintendo Switch Pro?
The Nintendo Switch Pro rumours have been around for a while now, with Nintendo remaining silent on the prospect of a 'Super Switch' console.
Many of the rumours surrounding this console have focused on the improvements to the Switch's display, which could run in 4K when docked, and 1080p when undocked.
However, we don't yet believe Nintendo would release Switch Pro-exclusive games, seeing this upgrade similar to the many DS/DSI upgrades that came out in the late 2000s.
As for the release date, Nintendo has kept its future hardware plans sufficiently quiet, telling investors a new console will launch in '20XX'. That's sometime in the next 80 years.
When is the next Nintendo Direct?
Nintendo has not held a full-scale Nintendo Direct since September of last year, instead opting for smaller Direct Mini's, Partner Showcases, and seemingly random trailer drops to announce its upcoming games.
There is currently no known plan for a larger Direct, or even a smaller Mini version. Nintendo's most recent presentation was the Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase, which focused on Bravely Default II, Control, Hitman 3 and Immortals Fenyx Rising. You can watch the showcase below.
As Nintendo describes this as "the final Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase of 2020" it seems unlikely we'll hear much from the company until 2021.
Nintendo Switch Online Virtual Console games
Nintendo Switch Online has come under fire in recent months for the lack of value it offers subscribers, especially when compared to the free games PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold subscribers get each month.
Aside from multiplayer play, the main draw of Nintendo's online service is the virtual console element. Subscribers get access to a huge bundle of NES and SNES titles.
The NES collection includes: The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Donkey Kong, Balloon Fight, Metroid, Kirby's Adventure, Kid Icarus and many more games.
The SNES collection, first introduced in September 2019, includes: : Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Star Fox, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, F-ZERO, Kirby;s Dream Land 3, Donkey Kong Country and many more.
However, the regular updates to the service, which add new games to these line-ups, have been met with criticism. Fans want to see new consoles such as the Game Boy or N64 included in the subscription, but at the moment, this doesn't look likely.
READ MORE: When is the next Nintendo Direct?