It's not whether they can pass the 3DS in lifetime Switch sales, it's "did they pass the GBA?".
Nintendo released their financial results for the third quarter of the 2020-21 fiscal year overnight. All figures are based on the reporting period of October 1 - December 31, the key holiday shopping season.
All monetary figures reported in yen, with comparisons to the US dollar based on a market rate of $1 = ¥104.933 provided for comparison only.
- Operating income: ¥229.674b (approximately US$2.189b), year-over-year increase ¥60.967b ($581m)
- Ordinary income: ¥230.734b ($2.199b), YOY increase ¥42.046b ($400.7m)
- Revenue: ¥634.939b ($6.05b), YOY increase ¥56.238b ($535.5m)
- Digital sales: ¥84.5b ($805.3m), YOY increase ¥31.3b ($298.2m)
- Mobile revenue: ¥15.3b ($145.8m), YOY decrease ¥1.7b ($16.2m)
The Switch shipped 11.47 million units in the quarter for a new LTD total of 79.87m, which launches the Switch past the 3DS into fifth place all time for Nintendo's dedicated hardware. The next hardware milestone for the Switch is the GBA, which finished with total hardware sales of 81.51m. The breakdown was 8.34m Switches, 3.16m Switch Lites.
New Software Movement
A total of 75.85m units of Switch software were moved in the third quarter. Of those, Nintendo reported the following sales units for new titles in the holiday quarter:
- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Nov 20): 2.84m units (outside Japan only)
- Pikmin 3 Deluxe (Oct 30): 1.94m units, highest selling Pikmin game ever
- Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit (Oct 16): 1.06m units
- Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light limited editions and Fitness Boxing 2 (published only outside Japan, Dec 4) did not reach 1m units sold.
Software Catalogue Highlights
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons shipped another 5.14m units in Q3, and now sits in comfortable second for Switch software sales at 31.18m units.
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was right behind with 4.42m units shipped in the quarter and a life-to-date of 33.41m.
- Super Mario 3D All-Stars shipped 3.11m units and sits at 8.32m units with one quarter to go
- Ring Fit Adventure shipped 2.84m units, bringing its LTD to 8.68m
- The 20m Club on Switch added three members as Breath of the Wild (1.71m quarter, 21.45m overall), Pokemon Sword and Shield (1.33m quarter, 20.35m overall), and Super Mario Odyssey (1.24m quarter, 20.23m overall) joined Smash Ultimate (1.75m quarter, 22.85m overall)
- Paper Mario: The Origami King crossed to 3.05m LTD, Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition updated to 1.48m and Clubhouse Games to 2.62m.
New Software Information
No new software information was provided: the latest announced date is for New Pokemon Snap and Bayonetta 3 / Metroid Prime 4 / the sequel to Breath of the Wild are still TBA.
Nintendo having already met their hardware shipment, software shipment, and financial goals, have revised all of them upward: the company is now projecting 26.5m hardware shipments (previously 24m, the fiscal year total is 24.1m so far), 205m software units (previously 170m, current total 176.1m), and all financial projections (PDF link) have also been revised.