Compared to other console/handheld brands, Nintendo has had a bit of a varied history when it comes to past successes. Whereas PlayStation and Xbox consoles have progressively gotten better with each generation, Nintendo's consoles/handhelds have been everything ranging from a resounding success to a monumental flop.
And now, thanks to Daniel Ahmad, a video game analyst at Niko Partners, we now have a firm grasp on just how well (or poor) Nintendo's hardware has fared over the past 30 years.
Pulling together some numbers relating to Nintendo's hardware sales in the Americas, Ahmad provided a proper glimpse at the roller-coaster ride Nintendo and its fans have been on over the years. More importantly, he revealed a clear decline that Nintendo has been experiencing over the last generation, highlighting the challenge the company faces with its next console, the NX.
Here are the numbers for its home console sales in the United States, which Nintendo has made publicly available on its website:
• NES: 34 million
• SNES: 23.35 million
• N64: 20.63 million
• GCN: 12.93 million
• Wii: 48.64 million
• Wii U: 6.29 million
Overall, these numbers are hardly surprising. The NES and SNES did quite well, but the N64 and Gamecube weren't as successful. Then, of course, was the Wii, which most believed was Nintendo's return to greatness until the Wii U, which has become something of a punching bag for critics and gamers alike, came around.
However, while the numbers for the home console sales are hardly surprising, the sales for Nintendo's handhelds are quite the opposite:
• GB/C: 44.06 million
• GBA/SP: 41.64 million
• NDS Family: 59.93 million
• 3DS Family: 20.11 million
Things start off simple enough, with the first three generations of handhelds each finding monumental success on the market. However, things take a surprising turn for the worse with the 3DS, which is odd considering the success of the Nintendo DS and the expansive game library on the 3DS, along with its budget-priced spin-off the 2DS.
Given that we often hear stories that cite an uptick in 3DS family sales by as much as 500 percent, the immediate assumption was that the 3DS has been a resounding success for Nintendo - however, it's now clear from these numbers that the 3DS hasn't done as well as we once thought.
And after looking at Nintendo's past, it's time to look to its future: the NX.
According to rumors, the mysterious system is the combination of a home console and a handheld, effectively combining all of Nintendo's primary interests in a single platform. The idea sounds like a decent one in theory: playing a main series Pokémon game on a regular TV sounds like a blast, and the prospect of playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild while on the go is intriguing.
However, thanks to these numbers, it's now clear just how much the NX has riding on it, and how much it has to make up for. A success means Nintendo can reverse its fortunes established in this current gen in one fell swoop, but a failure might mean Nintendo would be forced to reformat itself immensely - such as developing software only.