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The Most Popular Nintendo Switch Games [2023]

Here’s a complete breakdown of the most popular Nintendo Switch games right now, including sales numbers, developer information, and release date information



The Nintendo Switch has been a game-changer in the world of video gaming, offering a unique blend of handheld and console gaming.

With a plethora of titles available, it can be overwhelming to decide which games to invest your time and money in.

To make your decision easier, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular Nintendo Switch games as of right now, based on sales figures and critical acclaim.

Best Selling Nintendo Switch Games

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1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

  • Sales: 55.46 million
  • Release Date: April 28, 2017
  • Genre: Kart Racing
  • Developer: Nintendo EPD
  • BUY IT HERE

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe tops the list with its addictive gameplay and stunning graphics. Whether you’re racing against friends or AI, the game never fails to entertain.

2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

  • Sales: 42.79 million
  • Release Date: March 20, 2020
  • Genre: Social Simulation
  • Developer: Nintendo EPD
  • BUY IT HERE

Animal Crossing offers a relaxing escape into a world where you can fish, catch bugs, and decorate your own island paradise.

3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

  • Sales: 31.77 million
  • Release Date: December 7, 2018
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Developer: Bandai Namco Studios, Sora Ltd., Nintendo
  • BUY IT HERE

This fighting game brings together characters from various franchises, offering endless hours of fun and competitive gameplay.

4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

  • Sales: 30.65 million
  • Release Date: March 3, 2017
  • Genre: Action-Adventure
  • Developer: Nintendo EPD
  • BUY IT HERE

Breath of the Wild redefined open-world games with its breathtaking landscapes and intricate puzzles.

5. Super Mario Odyssey

  • Sales: 26.44 million
  • Release Date: October 27, 2017
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Developer: Nintendo EPD
  • BUY IT HERE

Join Mario on a globe-trotting adventure to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser’s clutches.

6. Pokémon Sword and Shield

  • Sales: 25.92 million
  • Release Date: November 15, 2019
  • Genre: Role-Playing
  • Developer: Game Freak, The Pokémon Company, Nintendo
  • BUY IT HERE

Embark on a journey to become the Pokémon Champion in the new Galar region.

7. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

  • Sales: 22.66 million
  • Release Date: November 18, 2022
  • Genre: Role-Playing
  • Developer: Game Freak, The Pokémon Company, Nintendo
  • BUY IT HERE

The newest addition to the Pokémon franchise has already made a significant impact, with sales skyrocketing in less than a year.

8. Super Mario Party

  • Sales: 19.39 million
  • Release Date: October 5, 2018
  • Genre: Party
  • Developer: NDcube
  • BUY IT HERE

Gather your friends and family for a fun-filled gaming experience with Super Mario Party.

9. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

  • Sales: 18.51 million
  • Release Date: May 12, 2023
  • Genre: Action-Adventure
  • Developer: Nintendo EPD
  • BUY IT HERE

The latest Zelda installment has already gained massive popularity, thanks to its compelling storyline and gameplay mechanics.

10. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

  • Sales: 16.17 million
  • Release Date: January 11, 2019
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Developer: Nintendo EPD
  • BUY IT HERE

This game offers classic Mario gameplay with modern graphics and additional features, making it a must-have for any Nintendo Switch owner.

Genre Breakdown: What the Top-Selling Nintendo Switch Games Reveal About Player Preferences

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When it comes to the Nintendo Switch, the console offers a diverse range of genres to cater to all kinds of gamers. However, a closer look at the top-selling games as of right now, reveals some interesting trends about what genres are truly capturing players’ hearts and time.

The Reign of Action-Adventure Games

Action-adventure games are a dominant force on the Nintendo Switch, with titles like “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” boasting sales of 30.65 million and 18.51 million respectively. These games combine elements of exploration, puzzle-solving, and combat, offering a well-rounded gaming experience that appeals to a broad audience.

Role-Playing Games: A Close Second

Role-playing games (RPGs) are another genre that has found significant success on the Nintendo Switch. With titles like “Pokémon Sword and Shield” (25.92 million), “Pokémon Scarlet and Violet” (22.66 million), and “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!” (15.07 million), it’s clear that the RPG genre, particularly when tied to the Pokémon franchise, has a massive following.

Racing and Party Games: The Social Connectors

“Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” leads the pack with a staggering 55.46 million sales, making it the most popular game on the Nintendo Switch as of June 2023. This kart racing game is often the go-to choice for social gatherings, proving that party and racing games have a special place in the gaming community.

Platformers: The Evergreen Genre

Platforming games like “Super Mario Odyssey” (26.44 million) and “New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe” (16.17 million) continue to be popular, offering timeless gameplay mechanics that are both challenging and fun.

Niche Genres: Exergaming, Tactical Role-Playing, and More

Games like “Ring Fit Adventure” (15.38 million) in the exergaming category and “Fire Emblem: Three Houses” (4.12 million) in the tactical role-playing genre show that niche markets can also have standout successes.

What Does This Say About the Gaming Community’s Preferences?

  1. Versatility Matters: The popularity of action-adventure games suggests that players appreciate a versatile gaming experience that combines various elements like exploration, combat, and puzzle-solving.
  2. Nostalgia and Franchise Loyalty: The success of RPGs, particularly Pokémon titles, indicates a strong sense of nostalgia and franchise loyalty among gamers.
  3. Social Gaming is Big: The high sales of “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” and party games like “Super Mario Party” (19.39 million) show that games offering social experiences are highly valued.
  4. Classic Gameplay Never Gets Old: The enduring popularity of platformers suggests that classic gameplay mechanics continue to resonate with players.
  5. Room for Niche Success: The strong sales in niche genres indicate that there’s room for specialized experiences that cater to specific interests.

Developer Spotlight: The Masterminds Behind the Top-Selling Nintendo Switch Games

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When it comes to the Nintendo Switch, the console’s success is not just a result of its innovative design and versatility, but also the incredible games that populate its library.

Behind these hit titles are the developers who pour their creativity and expertise into creating gaming experiences that resonate with millions.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these developers, with a special focus on Nintendo EPD, which appears multiple times on the list of top-selling games.

Nintendo EPD: The Powerhouse of Innovation

Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development (EPD) is the primary software development division of Nintendo, and their name is synonymous with quality and innovation.

They are responsible for some of the most iconic franchises and have a significant presence in the list of top-selling Nintendo Switch games. Titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Super Mario Odyssey all come from this creative powerhouse.

Keys to Success:

  1. Iconic Franchises: Nintendo EPD has the advantage of working with some of the most beloved franchises in gaming history, such as Mario, Zelda, and Animal Crossing.
  2. Innovative Gameplay: Whether it’s the open-world exploration in Zelda or the social simulation aspects of Animal Crossing, Nintendo EPD is known for pushing the boundaries of gameplay mechanics.
  3. Quality Over Quantity: Nintendo EPD focuses on delivering a polished, high-quality experience, often taking years to develop a single title to ensure it meets the high standards that fans have come to expect.
  4. Broad Appeal: Their games often have a universal appeal, attracting both casual gamers and hardcore fans alike.

Game Freak: The Pokémon Phenomenon

Game Freak, the developer behind the Pokémon series, is another name that stands out. With titles like “Pokémon Sword and Shield,” “Pokémon Scarlet and Violet,” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!” they’ve tapped into a formula that combines nostalgia, exploration, and the joy of collection.

Bandai Namco Studios: The Fighting Game Maestros

Known for their expertise in fighting games, Bandai Namco Studios co-developed “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” which has sold an impressive 31.77 million copies. Their knack for creating balanced, competitive gameplay makes them a go-to developer for fighting game enthusiasts.

NDcube: The Party Starters

NDcube is the developer behind popular party games like “Super Mario Party” and “Mario Party Superstars.” Specializing in creating engaging multiplayer experiences, NDcube knows how to make a game that’s perfect for social gatherings.

Other Notable Developers

  • HAL Laboratory: Known for the Kirby series.
  • Next Level Games: The minds behind “Luigi’s Mansion 3” and “Mario Strikers: Battle League.”
  • Capcom: Developers of “Monster Hunter Rise,” a hit in the action role-playing genre.

Franchise Power: The Role of Iconic Series in Driving Nintendo Switch Sales

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The Nintendo Switch has become a household name, and much of its success can be attributed to the power of well-known franchises that have stood the test of time.

Game series like Mario, Pokémon, and Zelda aren’t just games; they’re cultural phenomena that have captured the hearts of millions.

Let’s delve into how these iconic franchises contribute to the high sales figures of Nintendo Switch games.

Mario: The Evergreen Mascot

Mario is not just a character; he’s an icon that transcends the world of gaming. With titles like “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” “Super Mario Odyssey,” “New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe,” and “Super Mario Party,” the Mario franchise dominates the list of top-selling Nintendo Switch games.

Why It Sells:

  1. Broad Appeal: Mario games are accessible to players of all ages, making them family favorites.
  2. Versatility: The franchise has successfully branched out into various genres, from platformers to racing to party games.
  3. Nostalgia Factor: Many adults who played Mario games in their childhood are now introducing them to a new generation.

Pokémon: Gotta Catch ‘Em All

The Pokémon franchise has been a massive success since its inception, and its presence on the Nintendo Switch is no exception. Titles like “Pokémon Sword and Shield,” “Pokémon Scarlet and Violet,” and “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!” have sold millions.

Why It Sells:

  1. Collectible Nature: The joy of collecting and evolving Pokémon keeps players engaged for hours.
  2. Community and Multiplayer: Trading and battling with friends add a social dimension that enhances replay value.
  3. Expanding Universe: New regions, new Pokémon, and new mechanics keep the franchise fresh and exciting.

The Legend of Zelda: An Epic Adventure

The Zelda series has always been known for its epic storytelling and intricate gameplay. Titles like “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” are among the top sellers on the Switch.

Why It Sells:

  1. Immersive Worlds: The open-world design and intricate puzzles make for an engaging experience.
  2. High-Quality Storytelling: Each game offers a unique tale that captivates players.
  3. Innovation: The franchise isn’t afraid to reinvent itself, as seen with the open-world approach in “Breath of the Wild.”

Exclusive vs. Non-Exclusive Titles: The Impact of Platform Exclusivity on Game Sales

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Platform exclusivity has long been a topic of discussion in the gaming community. It’s a strategy that can either make or break a console, depending on how well the exclusive titles perform.

When it comes to the Nintendo Switch, the data suggests that exclusive titles play a significant role in the console’s success. Let’s explore this in more detail.

The Power of Exclusivity

A quick glance at the list of top-selling Nintendo Switch games reveals a trend: a majority of them are Nintendo exclusives. Titles like “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” and “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” are not available on any other platform.

Why Exclusives Sell:

  1. Unique Experience: Exclusives offer something that can’t be found on other platforms, making them a significant draw for potential buyers.
  2. Quality Assurance: Nintendo’s exclusive titles often come with a guarantee of high quality, both in gameplay and production value.
  3. Fan Loyalty: Exclusive titles often cater to long-standing fans of Nintendo franchises, ensuring a built-in audience ready to purchase.

The Role of Non-Exclusives

While exclusives dominate the top-selling list, non-exclusive titles also find a place, albeit less prominently. Games like “Minecraft,” “Among Us,” and “Monster Hunter Rise” have performed well on the Switch, even though they are available on other platforms.

Why Non-Exclusives Sell:

  1. Broad Appeal: These games often have a wide fan base and can attract players who own multiple gaming platforms.
  2. Portability Factor: The Switch’s unique selling point of being a hybrid console adds value to non-exclusive titles, offering a different experience.
  3. Community and Multiplayer: Popular non-exclusives often have strong online communities, making them attractive for social gamers.

Impact of Updates and DLCs: Revitalizing Games and Boosting Sales

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In today’s gaming landscape, a game’s life cycle doesn’t end upon its initial release. Thanks to the advent of downloadable content (DLC) and regular updates, games can continue to thrive and generate revenue long after they hit the shelves.

This is especially true for Nintendo Switch titles, many of which have seen significant sales boosts due to additional content and updates. Let’s delve into how this strategy impacts the gaming community and sales figures.

The Magic of DLCs

Downloadable Content (DLC) packs often include new storylines, characters, levels, and features that expand upon the original game. For instance, “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” released multiple DLC packs that introduced new quests, gear, and challenges, effectively keeping the player base engaged and encouraging new players to join in.

Why DLCs Work:

  1. Extended Gameplay: DLCs offer more content for players to explore, extending the life of the game and keeping players engaged.
  2. Value for Money: For a fraction of the original game’s cost, players can experience new content, making the game more cost-effective in the long run.
  3. Fresh Experience: New content can revitalize a game, attracting players who may have moved on to other titles.

The Power of Updates

Regular updates, often free, can also play a crucial role in a game’s longevity. Games like “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” and “Splatoon 2” have received numerous updates that introduced seasonal events, new items, and gameplay tweaks.

Why Updates Matter:

  1. Bug Fixes and Balancing: Updates often fix issues and improve gameplay, making for a smoother experience.
  2. Community Engagement: Regular updates keep the community engaged, as players often return to check out new features.
  3. Word of Mouth: A well-received update can generate buzz, attracting new players to the game.

Real-World Impact on Sales

The strategy of releasing updates and DLCs has a tangible impact on sales. Games that receive consistent updates and new content often see a ‘long tail’ of sales, continuing to perform well long after their initial release. This is evident in the sales figures of top Nintendo Switch games, many of which have been on the market for several years but continue to sell thanks to fresh content.

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He has written for Den of Geek, Fortean Times, IT PRO, PC Pro, ALPHR, and many other technology sites. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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