Record Nintendo Switch sales pave the way for Nintendo Switch Pro awesomeness

The Nintendo Switch is on course to break sales records, and that is great news for gamers waiting on Nintendo Switch Pro

Nintendo Switch Pro
(Image credit: Future)

Well, that was a superb set of numbers from Nintendo. Over the past financial year Nintendo Switch has sold 28.83 million consoles, which is a straight year-on-year increase of 37 per cent – and that previous year had been very good to start with.

Indeed, thanks to these whopping sales numbers, which are evidenced in Nintendo's latest financial statements, the Nintendo Switch has now sold 84.59 million consoles to date, which is rapidly closing in on the Wii console's 101.63 million lifetime sales, which is the current console sales leader for the BigN.

It's not just been a good year for Nintendo Switch in terms of hardware, either, but also in terms of software sales, which were also up 37 per cent, with 230.88 million games sold compared to the previous year's 168.72. Unsurprisingly, the highest selling game was the superb Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which posted numbers of 20.85 million sales.

And, at least in my mind, this is all brilliant news for loyal Nintendo gamers who are waiting for a Nintendo Switch Pro console, which is currently slated for release later this year. Here's why.

Firstly, these numbers show that the Nintendo Switch platform is very much in-demand and is going nowhere. The last year's Switch ecosystem's numbers have no doubt been improved by the fact that most people have found themselves in their homes a lot more than normal, and with a lot more free time to play video games on their hands.

And the need for escapist forms of entertainment have also skyrocketed, which was a factor that led to Animal Crossing: New Horizons being the perfect game for lockdown.

All this said, though, with many countries now exiting lockdown, the unique phenomena that led to this behavior will almost certainly now tail off. And that points towards Nintendo needing another shot of momentum to continue to drive such successive numbers. And it will want to do that using its cash cow Nintendo Switch brand. Enter the Nintendo Switch Pro.

Secondly, unlike this time last year, both the Sony PlayStation 5 and Microsoft Xbox Series X are now out in the market and, PS5 restock and Xbox Series X restock issues aside, that has changed the landscape considerably.

When the original Nintendo Switch released in 2017 it was already not as powerful as the PS4 or Xbox One, but now it is orders of magnitude slower and less powerful. Indeed, as we saw with this year's release of Super Mario 3D World: Bowser's Fury, the original Switch hardware is even struggling to run its own new games now, so the fact that gamers now have the choice of 120 fps 4K next-gen experiences on PlayStation and Xbox really leaves the Switch looking dated.

As I wrote about recently, this seems a major reason for the BigN to release a Nintendo Switch Pro and, more importantly, do it this year while the rival next-gen consoles are still new and suffering stock issues and therefore lower install bases. The last thing Nintendo needs is Switch owners jumping ship to Xbox or PlayStation so they can get a taste of next-gen awesomeness.

And, thirdly, Nintendo needs to show third-party developers that, yes, they can make their games going forward for the Switch platform, and that they will not be held back by creaking half-a-decade old hardware. Third party developers will now be making their games with next-gen performance capabilities in mind, and Nintendo simply can't offer that with Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch Lite.

For all these reasons I feel that we'll see a Nintendo Switch Pro later this year, or at the very latest, by the close of the financial year in early 2022. Nintendo would be making a big mistake in my opinion, though, missing out on the hyper-lucrative winter holiday season market, which if ignored could see PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles tucked under Christmas trees and not Nintendo Switch Pros.

However, if Nintendo did release a Nintendo Switch Pro in, say, November this year, then it kills loads of birds with one stone. Firstly it continues the awesome momentum of this year for the company financially, secondly it provides gamers with a console that can deliver next-gen gaming experiences (such as BoTW 2 in 4K resolution) and thirdly it can show developers that they should be making games on the Switch platform in 2022 and beyond.