Despite trailing the PlayStation 4 for a majority of 2018, the Nintendo Switch ended up being the best-selling video game console of last year. That’s according to the latest report from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and The NPD Group, which reveals that the Switch topped the competition in unit sales and dollars in 2018.
Up through October, the PS4 seemed to be on track to take the title (once again), but after losing out to the Switch in November and December, Nintendo’s hybrid console managed to overtake Sony for the year. The Switch also broke a few records along the way, including having the best December unit sales for a console since 2010, and reaching the highest annual total (unit sales and dollars) for a console since the PS4 in 2015.
Of course, it wouldn’t have been possible without a satisfactory lineup of games, and while 2018 wasn’t quite as busy for the Switch as its launch year, the games that needed to land did. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which came out on December 7th, had the biggest launch month for any platform exclusive. Ever. And with just over three weeks on the shelves, Smash Ultimate was the 5th best-selling game of the entire year.
As Variety notes, The NPD Group only tracks physical sales, which means we’re not getting the full picture (especially as digital games continue to become the norm on virtually every platform). Still, the Nintendo Switch’s success cannot be overstated — this was a massive year for Nintendo’s console, which, much like the Wii, will exist in a weird liminal state for the remainder of its lifespan, as the PS4 and Xbox One wind down ahead of the next generation.
A few other notable facts from the report: US hardware sales were up 15% year-over-year ($6.5 billion to $7.5 billion), software sales were up 18% ($30.4 billion to $35.8 billion), and Red Dead Redemption 2 was the best-selling game of 2018. With new consoles expected as early as 2020, though, 2019 should’t look the same.