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Switch vs 3DS in Japan Sales Comparison - Switch Takes the Lead in December 2020

Switch vs 3DS in Japan Sales Comparison - Switch Takes the Lead in December 2020 - Sales

by William D'Angelo , posted on 08 February 2021 / 2,730 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 Japanese sales of the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS.

Switch vs 3DS in Japan Sales Comparison - Switch Takes the Lead in December 2020

Switch vs 3DS in Japan Sales Comparison - Switch Takes the Lead in December 2020

Switch vs 3DS in Japan Sales Comparison - Switch Takes the Lead in December 2020

Switch Vs. 3DS Japan:

Gap change in latest month: 979,901 - Switch

Gap change over last 12 months: 3,168,638 - Switch

Total Lead: 533,957 - Switch

Switch Total Sales: 17,714,460

3DS Total Sales: 17,180,503

December 2020 is the 46th month that the Nintendo Switch has been available for in Japan. During the latest month, the Switch closed the gap to the 3DS by 979,901 units when you align the launches. In the last 12 months, the Switch has outsold the 3DS by 3.17 million units. The 3DS is currently ahead of the Switch by 533,957 units.

The 3DS launched in February 2011 in Japan and the Nintendo Switch launched in March 2017. This does mean the normal holiday periods and the Japanese Golden Week holiday for the two consoles are off by one month.

The 46th month for the Switch is December 2020, while for the 3DS it is November 2014. The Switch has sold 17.71 million units, while the 3DS sold 17.18 million units during the same timeframe.

The 3DS has sold 24.64 million units lifetime in Japan through December 2020. The Switch is currently 6.93 million units behind the lifetime sales of the 3DS.

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 or on Twitter @TrunksWD.

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kopstudent89 (on 08 February 2021)

That's actually quite impressive. The 3DS is the third best selling console in Japan ever, right after the DS and GB, so this is quite some achievement by the Switch! And it's done this without new mainline Monster Hunter or Dragon Quest titles, which the 3DS had. I won't be surprised if we saw both release in the coming year or two!

  • +15
UnderwaterFunktown kopstudent89 (on 08 February 2021)

Yup, I could definitely see DQ XII happening next year

  • +4
Darwinianevolution (on 08 February 2021)

And just like that, the Switch passes the 3DS. Now it's just a matter of time before it outsells it completely.

  • +13
SvenTheTurkey Darwinianevolution (on 08 February 2021)

Yeah. Later this year. Hard to say exactly when, but I'd say in the October-December range.

  • +1
DaAndy SvenTheTurkey (on 08 February 2021)

Switch will have to sell almost 7 million in 2021 to pass 3DS lifetime in 2021. Even if it is up YoY right now in Japan, I dont think it can sell that much. But it should be really save to say Switch sales will surpass 3DS lifetime sales in the first half of 2022 - probably even in Q1 2022 already.

  • +7
javi741 (on 08 February 2021)

That's crazy. The Switch already surpassed the 3DS and was outpacing it without an original Monster Hunter game on Switch yet! The 3DS already had a monster hunter up to this point. That gap will widen exponentially once Rise releases.

  • +9
UnderwaterFunktown (on 08 February 2021)

And there it is. The 3DS had an incredibly strong first 3 years, but Switch just went berserk this last year.

  • +9
Kakadu18 (on 08 February 2021)

According to Famitsu data the Switch surpassed the 3DS launch aligned in the last week of January.
In that week aligned week 205 the 3DS reached 18.203.857 units and the Switch 18.215.763 units.

  • +5
Bofferbrauer2 (on 08 February 2021)

And with that, the last bastion of the 3DS fell to the Switch

  • +4
AJNShelton (on 08 February 2021)

Sayônara Nintendo Suri Di Essu (well, soon)

  • +4
Real (on 09 February 2021)

Damn I want a switch pro can't Nintendo make a more powerful console at 400$ now that it's doing extremely well

  • +2
siebensus4 (on 08 February 2021)

The holiday boost is almost invisible, because Switch is doing holiday numbers since March 2020 :D Switch's January numbers were very strong. I don't expect a re-cross.

  • +2
curl-6 (on 08 February 2021)

At last. And the 3DS was much cheaper than the Switch too. There's a chance Switch has yet to peak in Japan as well.

  • +2