Nintendo Switch was top-selling console in U.S. in January

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Cast your mind back, if you will, to November of 2020. Yes, it was a long time ago, but try to remember. In those heady days, all anyone could talk about was the new next-generation consoles.

Okay, there was also a federal election in the United States that month, but barely anyone paid attention to that. The really big news was that the PS5 and the latest Xbox were about to drop.

By the end of the year, Sony reported that the PS5 had racked up 4.5 million in sales. Microsoft, meanwhile wouldn’t reveal the exact figures, but industry analysts say combined sales of the Xbox Series X and Series S were about 3.5 million through the end of 2020.

In the first month of 2021, however, both shiny new consoles were outsold by one that came out in 2017, at least in the U.S. According to data from the market-research company the NPD Group, the Nintendo Switch “was the best-selling hardware platform in units sold for the month of January”.

That info came in the form of a tweet from the NPD Group’s Mat Piscatella, who also noted that “Unit sales of Nintendo Switch were the highest of any platform in a January month since the Nintendo Wii in January 2010.”

In terms of dollars, though, the PlayStation 5—which carries a heftier price tag than the Switch—was the big winner.

Other things we learned from Piscatella’s tweets:

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was January’s best-selling game. That title has been the best-selling game in the U.S. each month since its November launch. Piscatella said it now ranks as the 20th best-selling video game in U.S. tracked history.
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the best-selling Switch title in January. Across all platforms, it ranked fifth overall.
  • Last month’s consumer spending on video-game hardware, content, and accessories achieved a January record of US$4.7 billion, 42% higher than a year ago.
  • Sales of video game hardware were 144% higher than January 2020, reaching US$319 million. This is the highest total for a January since the $323 million achieved in 2011.

I have done a lot of different things over the course of my life and professional career. I have interviewed Oscar and Grammy winners and written cover stories for glossy newsstand magazines. I have played guitar in a rock band on national TV and run an independent music label for which I wrote all of the PR and marketing materials. In my spare time, I sweated out a novel about a world where raccoons are kings and dragons are real.

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