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Switch vs DS Sales Comparison - Switch Catches Up by Over 4M in December 2020

Switch vs DS Sales Comparison - Switch Catches Up by Over 4M in December 2020 - Sales

by William D'Angelo , posted on 03 February 2021 / 3,080 Views

The VGChartz sales comparison series of articles are updated monthly and each one focuses on a different sales comparison using our estimated video game hardware figures. The charts include comparisons between the 7th generation and 8th generation platforms, as well as comparisons within the 8th generation. There are articles based on our worldwide estimates, as well as the US, Europe, and Japan.

This monthly series compares the aligned worldwide sales of the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo DS.

Switch vs DS Sales Comparison - Switch Catches Up by Over 4M in December 2020

Switch vs DS Sales Comparison - Switch Catches Up by Over 4M in December 2020

Switch vs DS Sales Comparison - Switch Catches Up by Over 4M in December 2020

Switch Vs. DS Global:

Gap change in latest month: 4,379,270 - Switch

Gap change over last 12 months: 152,728 - DS

Total Lead: 1,175,123 - DS

Switch Total Sales: 76,989,289

DS Total Sales: 78,164,412

December 2020 is the 46th month that the Nintendo Switch has been available for. During the latest month, the gap grew in favor of the Switch by 4.38 million units when compared to the DS during the same timeframe. In the last 12 months, the DS has outsold the Switch by only 152,728 units. The DS is ahead of the Switch by 1.18 million units.

The DS launched in November 2004 in North America, December 2004 in Japan, and March 2005 in Europe, while the Nintendo Switch launched worldwide in March 2017. Therefore, the holiday periods for the two consoles do not lineup, which is why there are big increases and decreases.

The 46th month on sale for the Nintendo Switch is December 2020, while for the DS it is August 2008. The Switch has sold 76.99 million units, while the DS sold 78.16 million units during the same timeframe. The DS reached current Switch sales in month 46.

The Nintendo DS sold 154.02 million units lifetime. The Nintendo Switch is currently 77.03 million units behind the lifetime sales of the DS.


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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26 Comments
Kakadu18 (on 25 January 2021)

The final boss has arrived.

  • +20
Amnesia (on 25 January 2021)

Admit it, that was the graph you were waiting for.

  • +18
Doctor_MG (on 25 January 2021)

And this is the real fight for Switch. Can it sustain 2020s incredible sales and keep up with the DS?

Crazy how at the start of the Switch's life I doubted it'd outsell the 3DS, Nintendo's lowest selling handheld. Now it has a legitimate chance to keep up with Nintendo's highest selling handheld, and second highest selling videogame console overall.

  • +15
SvenTheTurkey Doctor_MG (on 25 January 2021)

I had thought it would outsell the 3ds. But keeping pace with the ds? No. I don't think anyone saw that coming. I don't think it will beat the ds or ps2. But I think it's going to land at number 3 in the end.

  • 0
Bofferbrauer2 (on 25 January 2021)

Switch keeping up with the DS at it's height is just mindboggling

  • +9
Maluigi (on 25 January 2021)

If the Switch has a long live, it could be the most-sold console.

  • +9
Darwinianevolution (on 25 January 2021)

Now this is a fight! It's going to be very interesting to see this comparison. It will be difficult for the Switch to match the DS's low price during its last years (I doubt we'll see the Switch drop its price below 150$ any time soon), but we could also see the Switch's lifespan surpass the DS's, since that system only had 5 years until the 3DS came out. Considering the Switch's position in the market, we could see a lifespan longer than that.

  • +8
yo33331 Darwinianevolution (on 25 January 2021)

5 years ? ds launched 2004 and 3ds launched 2011 this is 7 years..

  • +10
Darwinianevolution yo33331 (on 25 January 2021)

Yes, you're correct, my mistake.

  • +4
NextGen_Gamer Darwinianevolution (on 25 January 2021)

I think a $149 Switch Lite is totally doable. Right now it is $199, and that is using an older 16-nm process from TSMC for the main chip. This turned out to be great for Nintendo, as TSMC has had sever supply constraints on their more modern 7-nm and 5-nm nodes (for PS4, XSX, iPhone 12, etc.), allowing Nintendo to sell tons of Switch's during 2020. But, in the future, Nintendo will no doubt do another die-shrink down to 5-nm, drastically costing the cost of production. I would say, within 12-18 months from now, a $149 Switch Lite at the same profit margins as it is now could release.

  • 0
ireadtabloids NextGen_Gamer (on 25 January 2021)

I might be miss-interpreting your comment, but I think you’re getting a bit over excited.

Firstly, I do not think we will see Nvidia design a budget 5nm GPU during the next 18 months.

We will definitely see some new high end 5nm GPUs during that time, but the RTX 4050 and smaller that are designed for low power will take a longer time to come out.

The node where Nvidia are currently at is 8nm Samsung and 8nm RTX 3050 will be out during the next six months. A cut down version of that GPU would be a good basis for a Switch Pro.

Lets say that comes out during March 2022 within that 12-18 month time frame. Plenty of time for Samsung’s 8nm prices to reduce to something Nintendo likes, time for QA and time for developers to support it at launch.

5nm is what I’m expecting for a Nintendo Switch successor around 2024. 5nm will continue to be supply constrained through 2022, but should ease up during 2023 with the pandemic over, 2nd generation 5nm and 4nm options, and 3nm devices appearing during the second half of 2023.

However your idea of a price cut for Switch Lite is really solid.
I would imagine that before Christmas they could price cut all older Switch Lites that aren’t shifting and refresh the lineup with the 16nm model of Switch Lite before they eventually settle at that lower price with cheap to manufacture 16nm anyway.

  • 0
noemie75 NextGen_Gamer (on 26 January 2021)

5nm will not shrink down cost. If they did 16 nm for the lite its because it was more expensive to do it at 20nm because 20 nm is now old tech and there is not a lot of factories doing it. (and obviously because of the size of the SOC and power draw).
8nm and 5nm are more expensive because those are new processes. Down the line, they will cost less than 16 nm but in 5 to 10 years not before !

  • +1
NextGen_Gamer noemie75 (on 27 January 2021)

I think you guys are slightly confused. First, ALL Switch Lites and ALL current regular Switch's are 16-nm - Switch Lite was like that from the beginning, and at the same time, Nintendo switched (get it) over the main model to that node as well. The original 20-nm model has been done and no longer produced for a while. Secondly, going down to 5-nm would massively cut costs. Nintendo could fit maybe 4-5 chips @ 5-nm in the same space as the current 16-nm; and no, the cost of producing on 5-nm is not 4-5 times that of 16-nm. On top of that, NVIDIA would be sharing the development costs with Nintendo of shrinking the SoC from 16-nm to 5-nm; Nintendo would be responsible from there for paying for producing the chips, but NVIDIA would share costs in getting it done to that point. NVIDIA would then make up their money into that from license profits they get from Nintendo producing more Switch's.

  • 0
ireadtabloids NextGen_Gamer (on 27 January 2021)

Thank you for correcting me on the Switch Lite being 16nm.

If you look up the leaked prices for TSMC nodes 5nm is more than 4 times the cost of 16nm. It’s also in much more limited supply.

Then there’s the fact that Nintendo can only use a semi-custom Nvidia GPU at best. They can’t create their own design from scratch. It needs to be loosely based on a Nvidia architecture. Nvidia is going to start with their GPUs that sell at $500 USD+ to make their money back.
They won’t turn their attention to sub 75w budget GPUs until much later.

  • 0
NextGen_Gamer ireadtabloids (on 28 January 2021)

If you are referring to the wafer prices, yes, of course 5-nm looks expensive. But that is not how you calculate return on wafers: you have to look at transistor density. So, in the leaked prices, a 16-nm wafer is $3,984 while the bleeding edge 5-nm wafer is $16,888. So, 5-nm wafer is over 4x the cost. But at 16-nm, Nintendo is only getting ~28 million transistors per square mm. On the 5-nm node? You get 173 million per mm². That is a 6x improvement. Therefore, you are getting MORE back for your money, as you are getting 6 times as many chips back on each wafer, for only 4x the cost per wafer. Hopefully that makes sense. And yes I know 5-nm is constrained right now, which is why I said Nintendo should do this in a year or so (2022), when more capacity opens up. As far as design goes, it would be the same, NVIDIA would just do a die-shrink of the same design. They already did this once as the current 16-nm version is exclusive to Switch. That is how these things always go; the tech partner (Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, etc.) do die-shrinks for the console partner as time goes on, knowing it is worth the investment as more consoles will be sold ;)

  • 0
ireadtabloids NextGen_Gamer (on 30 January 2021)

I am understanding your position a bit better.

Unfortunately I still don’t see the cost saving on 5nm over 8nm Samsung or 7nm TSMC, and capacity will be guaranteed to open up on those nodes during early 2022, whereas we’ll be lucky to see capacity open up for budget customers on 5nm during 2022.

Thank you for the thought provoking conversation.

  • +1
noemie75 ireadtabloids (on 30 January 2021)

Thanks for your correction NextGen_gamer, but there is no availability for 8 or 5nm for the moment. It's why it's pricey to produce at those node. TSMC ask more money for producing at 5 nm that at 16 or 12 nm (there is more availability for higher node). So the money you win with the die-shrink is not enough to be economicaly viable. But thats not the case for the new Xbox and PS, they must be done at 8 nm (or less)

  • 0
SKMBlake (on 25 January 2021)

Things get serious

  • +7
siebensus4 (on 25 January 2021)

2021 will decide if Switch can beat the DS. If Switch will peak this year (30M), it really has a chance to outsell DS's lifetime sales. If the peak was last year and Switch sells below 25M this year, it should be difficult to outsell the DS lifetime units.

  • +4
SvenTheTurkey siebensus4 (on 26 January 2021)

That about sums it up. I see the switch successor coming in 2024. But it's definitely going to be close if it has a better 2021 than 2020. Of course if interest stays high and they hold off until 2025, that's a whole new ball game.

  • +1
xMetroid siebensus4 (on 26 January 2021)

I don't know if they can manage to sell more Switch in 2021 then in 2020 but if that happens i think the chances to outsell the DS are really high. Nintendo played it so safe last year that they have so many cards they can play to make sure numbers don't go down too much this year. So even if it doesn't outdo it, i feel like it will be pretty close.

  • +2
SKMBlake xMetroid (on 26 January 2021)

*than

  • 0
Real (on 26 January 2021)

Switch catching up with the big boys

  • +3
PAOerfulone (on 25 January 2021)

The DS should stay ahead for the next 1-2 years or so. Though the Switch's momentum should be strong enough where the gap doesn't widen TOO much. The real question mark will be from Month 76 onwards. Month 76 was when the 3DS launched and the DS begin its sharp decline. Depending on where the Switch is at that point and when IT'S successor launches, it might actually have a shot.

  • +3
Mnementh (on 25 January 2021)

Okay, Switch closed the gap, because DS and Switch have their holidays at different times. And the next DS holidays are the crazy ones. So DS will pull ahead again. But if Switch keeps the 2020 momentum in 2021, it possibly can keep the gap from widening after DS had it's holiday. And for DS this is the peak. If Switch can keep up now, it has a possibility to close the gap later in it's life.

  • +1
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