We bet you’re already humming or whistling the theme music for Super Mario after reading the article title. We can’t blame you. If you’re an avid gamer, then you’ve already heard of the small Italian plumber in red. Chances are, you’ve also heard of Donkey Kong and Zelda.
That said, these Nintendo statistics below all try to pay tribute to the company, its consoles, and its most memorable games. After all, as one of the pioneers of the console world, they’ve also managed to revolutionize gaming a couple of times and introduced us to some of gaming’s most memorable and loveable characters. So, without further ado, let’s get started, shall we?
Top 10 Nintendo Stats
- Nintendo actually started out as a game card manufacturing company 130 years ago.
- Nintendo also started a project with Sony that led to the development of its flagship console.
- Before entering the video games market, Nintendo even sold instant rice.
- The Nintendo DS is the second best-selling console of all time.
- In 2018, Nintendo held 47.8% of the global home console market. The Nintendo market share in 2020 is still very impressive.
- Nintendo held 87% of the entire Japanese console market in 2020.
- The Nintendo Switch was the best-selling console in Canada for 25 months straight.
- Canadians walked a total of 166,000 km during a Pokemon Go event in 2019.
- Around 50% of gamers play their Switch equally often in docked and undocked modes.
- There are developers making NES games 26 years after the console’s discontinuation.
Nintendo Facts and History
To kick things off, let’s learn about how it all started. How Nintendo, essentially a game cards company, managed to become one of the most important names in the console world and video gaming altogether. Below, you can read about the early years of the company, its first encounter with gaming, and even learn a bit about some of its failed projects.
1. Nintendo actually has a 130-year-old history.
When discussing Nintendo historical facts we must always mention that the company’s origins date back to 1889, when businessman and crafter Fusajiro Yamauchi started a business designing brightly coloured playing cards.
2. Hiroshi Yamauchi, the great-grandson of the founder, never enjoyed playing video games.
Taking over the company in 1950, he led the company into the world of video games, and by 1978, Nintendo produced a video game version of a popular board game named Othello, the first of their many titles to achieve enviable success.
3. Donkey Kong was the first platformer.
Nintendo facts such as this one show just how big of an impact the company had on the industry.
In 1981, Nintendo launched Donkey Kong, the first actual platformer where players could jump over barrels on the screen. Before that, Space Panic was considered to be “the” platformer game, however, players could only climb and fall off of ladders.
4. Nintendo also started a project with Sony that ultimately led to the development of its flagship console.
When we’re talking about Nintendo fun facts, this one is most certainly a must. There was a partnership with Sony with the idea to add a CD add-on to the Super Nintendo which started back in 1991, but it was cancelled by Nintendo when it found out that Sony would have the rights to every release.
5. Mario was originally called Jumpman.
Created by Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario was originally designed as the protagonist of Donkey Kong in the arcade game of the same name. The name Mario and his profession both came years later, with the launch of Mario Bros in 1983, and Super Mario Bros in 1985.
6. Nintendo is the biggest game developer company in the world.
Not bad for a company that started out making cards, right? Apart from the Nintendo market share dwarfing that of the other companies, Nintendo is also the largest video game firm in terms of revenue, with a net value of around US$85 billion.
7. Before entering the video games market, Nintendo even sold instant rice.
Even when they were making playing cards, their biggest customers were the Yakuza, more precisely, their illegal casinos. At one point, the company sold instant rice, at another ventured unto the world of taxi companies, and even ran love hotels and sold nudie cards.
After all this, the fact that they also made knock-off Lego blocks and vacuum cleaners comes as no surprise.
Nintendo Console Sales Numbers
Learn more about which Nintendo console sales were the most successful, and how it still remains the go-to brand when it comes to handheld gaming. See how Nintendo managed to reassert its old ferocity and dominance with the Switch and take a look at other interesting sales numbers that managed to put the company on the map for good.
8. The Nintendo DS is the second best-selling console of all time.
With a total of 154 million units sold from 2004, it’s second only to the undisputed king, the Sony’s PS2 (159 million units sold). And since we’re talking about sales-related facts about Nintendo, it’s also worth mentioning that in terms of software sales, the DS managed to sell around 950 million games.
9. The Nintendo Game Boy/Game Boy Color is the third best-selling gaming system of all time.
With 118.69 million units sold since 1989, these two handheld systems qualify as the third-most-popular gaming systems of all time.
And just to roll out more Nintendo GameBoy facts, you should know that overall software sales for the system topped at around 501 million with the most popular releases being Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (Metal Gear Solid), Super Mario Bros. Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages.
10. Nintendo sold around 11.57 million Switch consoles in the last holiday quarter alone.
Probably also greatly influencing the latest gift industry stats, this brings the last-gen Nintendo console close to a total of 80 million units sold since its launch in 2017, Nintendo statistics for 2021 also forecasted around a total of 26.5 million units sold till the end of March, boosting the net profit estimate to around 400 billion yen, ($4.84 billion).
11. In 2018, Nintendo held 47.8% of the home console market.
Thus, that year, Nintendo managed to grab the crown from Sony and sold around 22 million consoles. Even though both companies hail from Japan, in 2018, North America had the largest share in the global gaming market, exceeding 43%.
12. Nintendo held 87% of the entire Japanese console market in 2020.
More precisely, the Nintendo Switch market share managed to boast such impressive percentages with 6 million units sold last year. To put it in perspective, the PS4 (the most popular console of the latest generation) only managed to sell 542,000 units in the same period.
13. Switch was responsible for generating 85% of Nintendo’s yearly revenue in 2019.
With around 16.5 million console shipments the handheld-console hybrid made up 85% (US$9.9 billion) of Nintendo’s total US$10.8 billion sales revenue that year. Since this includes the sales of other consoles and their games, it’s obvious just how popular and important for Nintendo Switch really is.
Nintendo Statistics for Canadian Gamers
Let’s see how sales, demographics, and nostalgia are holding up in Canada. What does the game console market share look like at the moment and what it looked like in the past?
14. Around 22 million SNES consoles were sold in North America alone.
Launched in 1991 in North America and a year before in Japan, Super Nintendo sales numbers indicate that a total of 49.1 million units were sold up to September 2020. Out of that, 17.17 million were sold in Japan, and 8.15 million in Europe.
Sony’s console ruled the console operating systems market with 51.09% while Xbox took second place with the remaining 48.91%. According to the site data, and the available Nintendo statistics for Canada, the number of Nintendos was so small that it was statistically insignificant.
16. Almost half of the Canadian homes have at least one of the three major gaming systems.
While these aren’t directly Nintendo statistics, it’s worth noting that the home video game console household penetration rate in Canada a few years ago (in 2018) was around 42%, with the highest average being in the province of Alberta, with 52%.
17. The Nintendo Switch was the best-selling console in Canada for 25 months straight.
Even though other sources show that Nintendo has an insignificant console systems market share, data from 2020 shows that in terms of handheld console sales, Nintendo Switch stats are everything but insignificant in Canada.
More precisely, only through the course of November 2020, the console sold around 148,000 units, bringing the total number of units sold during the year to 790,000.
18. Canadians walked a total of 166,000 km during a Pokemon Go event in Montreal in 2019.
(Business of Apps)
With a total attendance of around 39,000 and with around 7 million Pokemons caught, the Safari Zone Pokemon Go event in Montreal helped Nintendo’s second-most-popular franchise become an established name in the mobile gaming world as well.
19. Canadians even had their own Super Mario Trivia event.
On the 15th of February, Canadian Mario fans had the opportunity to test their knowledge of Super Mario and other Super Nintendo facts, as Nintendo Canada decided to host “A Very Mario Trivia Experience.” The quiz had 45 questions in total, and the participants had about 90 minutes to finish it.
20. There’s also a Super Mario-style map of Canada on the internet.
Created by Lazare Viennot, the map isn’t 100% accurate, but it surely manages to land among the top Nintendo fun facts, as it uses classic Super Mario figures and icons. The map is basically a pixel representation of Canada that includes snow in the country’s coldest areas and tree clusters in forest-rich regions.
21. A Canadian company is actually studying the legendary red-white mushrooms depicted in Super Mario.
(The Growth Op)
Psyched Wellness Ltd., a Canadian-based health supplement company has recently started working with Amanita muscaria mushrooms, the iconic red and white mushrooms
While these may not exactly be Nintendo facts for kids, it’s interesting to know that the mushrooms are actually poisonous (but can be consumed after being boiled several times). They are currently being studied because of muscimol, a psychoactive ingredient in the mushrooms, which might have future health implications because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential.
22. A Canadian customer sued Nintendo because of controller issues.
Lambert Avocat Inc. sued the Japanese giant in January 2021 on behalf of one of their clients. The lawsuit might get a place on the Nintendo Switch facts blacklist, as the client claims to have sent several defective Joy-Con controllers to Nintendo for repairs but the same problems (drifting issues) kept popping up.
Lambert Avocat argues that this isn’t just an accidental inconvenience, but a hidden defect kept secret by Nintendo.
23. The Super Mario quiz was hosted by Canadian gaming experts and Mario masters Ajay Fry and Camille Salazar-Hadaway.
The event also commemorated the 35th anniversary of Nintendo’s heavy-hitter franchise and also helped to hype up the crowd for the franchise’s latest release, Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, which hit the shelves on the 12th of February.
Nintendo Consumer Demographics
24. Initially, Nintendo targeted the 18–34 age group with the Switch.
(Jason Matt Lukis)
By targeting busy millennials on the go with cost-conscious spending statistics, and by launching fan-favourite titles on the console (Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario, Kirby, Donkey Kong, and Pokemon), the company managed to push the Nintendo demographics wider to 16–35.
25. The Nintendo Switch attracts more women than any other console.
Early demographic data shows that the system was more popular among men with a 70/30 split in their favour, however, more recent data suggests that the split is almost even, with the Switch attracting more women than other major gaming consoles.
26. The 3DS and the Wii U had more female owners.
Current Nintendo Switch demographics appear to follow a similar pattern, as around 53% of 3DS owners were women. The gender distribution is very similar when it comes to Wii U, with 52% of the owners being female.
27. Around 50% of gamers played their Switch equally often in docked and undocked modes.
Nintendo Switch usage statistics also suggest that around 30% used their console mostly in the undocked mode (around 80% of the time), while a bit less than 20% primarily used the system in the docked mode most of the time.
28. 31% of Switch owners were under 24 in 2018, in the North American market.
In 2017, the console had a younger demographic with most buyers being in their mid-20s to mid-30s, however, a year later, 21% of users fell into the 35–44 age range.
This can be explained not only by the growing popularity of the device but also by the fact that the number and type of games available for it kept rapidly expanding after the launch of the platform, attracting new kinds of users.
Fun Facts About Nintendo
And, to conclude our article, here are a few more interesting facts about the grandad of consoles and video gaming.
29. The legendary NES home video game console was available in Japan up until 2003.
On the other hand, it was only available up until 1995 in North America. To top that off, Nintendo in Japan offered to fix broken consoles even in 2007. As you can see, when it comes to Nintendo, interesting facts are truly a dime a dozen.
30. The Nintendo 64 also had an additional detachable disk drive compatible with discs holding 64 MB of data.
The Nintendo 64 was not a mind-blowing entry into the modern gaming palette, however, it did help popularize 3D gaming. When compared to other consoles of the era, Nintendo history facts clearly state that its biggest problem was using cartridges instead of CDs.
To solve the problem, Nintendo came up with the 64DD, a detachable disk drive in 1999. It had its own games, however, it used magnetic discs with a capacity of only 64 MB of data. Due to implementation difficulties, only 10 games were made for the disk extension before being discontinued.
31. In part, most NES games were difficult because there was no pre-launch testing.
Nintendo NES fun facts sometimes can be anything but fun. Remembering the demanding old NES games, it begs the question: Did anybody test these games before selling them to kids? Actually, no.
Programmers decided the difficulty of the game, and since they usually got pretty good at the game they were creating, they upped the difficulty more often than not, believing the games were too easy.
32. The initial idea of the Nintendo Switch dates back to 1999.
The idea to make portable systems and home consoles communicate with each other was something Nintendo was into even before the Switch.
When talking about innovative facts about the Nintendo company, we have to mention the N64 Transfer Pack, which was basically a device that you could plug into the Nintendo 64 controller and insert Game Boy Color cartridges.
33. Pokemon Go is among the (if not the single) most popular mobile games of all time.
(Forbes) (Business of Apps)
The game based on Nintendo’s franchise was the fastest mobile game to generate US$100 million. Also, as of October 2019, the game’s lifetime revenue was estimated at US$3 billion, and it surpassed 1 billion downloads in March the same year.
34. There are developers creating NES games even 26 years after the discontinuation of the console.
Apart from Nintendo NES sale numbers, there are a lot of incredible things to say about the console. Like the fact that developers like Morhpcat Games, Octovania, Artix Entertainment, and Retrotainment still create games for the influential gaming system.
35. The NES Zapper’s predecessor dates back to the 1930s.
One of the first “laser guns” was the Seeburg’s Ray-O-Lite, and it was based on the light-sensing vacuum tubes. Players used it to shoot a beam of light at targets equipped with light sensors. When the beam hit a sensor, the targets registered a hit.
As you’ve seen, even though Nintendo sales stats might have been low in recent years while its competitors dominated the market, the granddad of all consoles still has a few tricks up its sleeve.
Sure enough, it is difficult to totally catch up with these two giants. Taking back the crown might even be impossible, however, in terms of gaming history, Nintendo remains one of the most respected and important players in the era of video games and home entertainment.
How many people are playing Nintendo?
In total, from the first gaming console system starting with the Nintendo Family Computer/NES to the latest addition, Switch, total sales numbers amount to a staggering 808.9 million units in terms of hardware alone.
How much was Nintendo worth in 2020?
According to the latest data from Forbes, the company’s market cap equals US$49.7 billion, as of 2020, with sales amounting to US$11.2 billion.
Apart from that, they are also the video game company with the biggest revenue and a net value of around US$85 billion.
(Forbes) (Game Design)
What is Nintendo’s most successful franchise?
It goes almost without saying that the company’s most popular and successful franchise is Super Mario, which started its journey way back in 1981 and since then sold 653 million units.
The company’s second most popular franchise is Pokemon, starting out in 1996 for the Game Boy and selling 495 million units since then, leaving its mark on the global toy industry stats to this very day. Lastly, with 202 million sales, the third most popular franchise is the Wii franchise (Wii Sports, Wii Music, Wii Fit, and so on).
How many Nintendo Switches have been sold in 2020?
According to the latest sales data, from 2017 to 2020, a total of over 70 million (70.92 million) Switch units have been sold, which after the slow sales of the Wii gave the company a new hope and a chance to participate in the ongoing console battle.
How much is the original Super Mario Bros worth?
The original 1985 Nintendo game has been ranked as the highest-selling video game ever after a sealed copy sold for an astonishing US$114,000 last year, during an auction.
As a matter of fact, the previous most expensive game was also a sealed copy of the same game, which sold for around US$14,000 less in 2019.
All in all, these are some impressive Nintendo statistics from a company that has been believed to have disappeared into oblivion after Sony and Microsoft took over the market.
- Ars Technica
- Ars Technica
- Business of Apps
- Fresh Daily
- Game Design
- Game Rant
- Giant Bomb
- Global News
- Jason Matt Lukis
- List Verse
- Market Watch
- Mental Floss
- Nintendo Life
- PC Mag
- Red Bull
- Stat Counter
- The Gamer
- The Gamer
- The Gamer
- The Growth Op
- The Verge
- Tweak Tower
- Washington Post