Nintendo ignites as pandemic fuels unprecedented console boom
That, in turn, means a larger install base for Nintendo games: The platform sold nearly 80 million units of software in the last calendar quarter of 2020, and had the strongest first quarter the Switch has ever seen in 2021. .
Jess Zammit, a Sydney-based writer and researcher, said that over the course of the pandemic she had noticed more and more friends and colleagues beginning to learn to control.
“This is the first time that I have been able to talk to my co-workers about the games that I am playing. They’re all psychology academics, and they used to look at me weird like, ‘oh, whatever, Jess is playing video games by herself,’ ”she said.
“But now I can have conversations with them, and we can play together like, ‘oh, come to me. Animal crossing Island’. It’s like a whole new level of connection with people that I couldn’t connect with before. “
And it’s not just Nintendo enjoying unprecedented success; The number of people playing video games on dedicated consoles has been growing in Australia and around the world for years, despite claims as early as the mid-2000s that mobile and streaming technology would ruin the industry. And the lockdowns have only accelerated the rise.
The general lack of availability of the new 2020 next-gen systems, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, can make it seem like there aren’t many of the consoles in homes. In fact, the systems sell faster than any of their predecessors. The frequently sold-out PS5 reached 10 million units sold last month, making it the second-fastest console to hit that milestone (behind only the Wii), and that’s despite the problems of supply chain and component shortages due to COVID-19.
Microsoft said last month that the X Series, along with the cheaper and much more available S Series, were also the best-selling Xbox consoles in history, though it declined to give a sales number. Its previous fastest-selling system during the same time frame was the Xbox One with 5.7 million units, so it’s higher than that.
“A lot of people are going back to the games. People who may not have played since the Nintendo 64 or the original Xbox, who may have skipped a few generations because they didn’t have time to keep up the hobby, “said Ms Zammit.
“But many of the other commitments that they had in their lives, they no longer have. They have to find something to do inside. I know quite a few people who have. “
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