Nintendo Switch Passes the PS4 in Overall Unit Sales in the U.S.

PS4 & PS5

The PlayStation 4 has slipped positions and is now the 5th highest selling console in U.S. history. The April 2022 NPD numbers report that the Nintendo Switch now holds the #4 slot and shows no signs of stopping. After passing the PS4, the only three consoles that outpace the Switch are the PS2, Xbox 360, and Wii.

The Switch passes PS4 to take #4 in lifetime unit sales in the U.S.

Though the Switch surpassed the PS4 in the U.S., the console still has a ways to go worldwide. The grand total for PS4s sold is 117 million versus 107 million Switches. However, since Nintendo hasn’t unveiled any plans for a new console, we’ll likely see the PS4 pushed out of the #2 slot it currently holds for global sales.

Nintendo deserves kudos for its success, but raw numbers don’t tell the whole story. Given its lower price and portable nature, sales patterns are closer to what we’ve seen in the past with handhelds. Households are more likely to purchase multiple Switch consoles, especially since the cheaper Switch Lite doesn’t feature the ability to dock. In addition, since the PS4 is stationary, people are more likely to share one unit between a few players.

In the portable category, the Switch has practically no competition outside of handheld PCs like the Steam Deck, and those aren’t selling in near the numbers to threaten Nintendo’s hegemony. Of course, Sony could have countered the Switch with the Vita (or a Vita successor), but its decision to abandon the handheld market leaves the Switch almost completely unopposed in that market segment.

Opinion: Sony needs to get back into the handheld market

Jason writes: Sony was jaded by low Vita sales, but the PSP sold more units than the Nintendo 3DS over its lifetime and tied with the Game Boy Advance. So, despite Nintendo being seen as the king of handhelds, Sony was very successful with its first attempt at that form factor. People have plenty of issues with the Switch (low battery life, terrible performance) but don’t have an alternative when it comes to a low-cost handheld. Given a chance, plenty of people would drop it for superior hardware.

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