Wii U sells 1.2 games per console

Analyst says NPD showed disappointing tie ratio for Nintendo, Call of Duty sales down 17% year-over-year

The NPD Group's November US retail game sales were glum enough on the surface, but an analyst note this morning provided some deeper insight into the disappointing figures.

In a note to investors, Longbow Research's James Hardiman shed some additional light on the numbers, calling specific attention to the performance of Wii U software sales. While the original Wii saw two games sold for every console in its opening month on shelves in 2006, the Wii U posted a comparatively paltry 1.2 games sold per system. Hardiman chalked that up to either the inclusion of NintendoLand in Wii U Deluxe bundles providing a compelling enough experience that players didn't feel the need for another game, or the higher prices for the Wii U ($299 for the Basic system, $349 for the Deluxe) left consumers without the spare funds for software.

The analyst also noted a significant drop in Activision's flagship shooter series. Call of Duty: Black Ops II sold around 7.4 million copies during November, a decline of 17 percent from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's opening month sales last November. That may sound odd in light of Activision announcing Black Ops II actually reached the $1 billion sales mark a day quicker than its predecessor, but Hardiman noted that Modern Warfare 3 launched earlier in the month than its successor.

"We do not believe that Activision did itself any favors by putting out a press release on Wednesday touting that Black Ops II had crossed $1 billion in just 15 days, faster than the 16 days required for Modern Warfare 3 to reach the $1 billion mark," Hardiman said. "What management did not mention is the fact that with an earlier release date, Modern Warfare 3 was able to reach $1 billion a day before Thanksgiving, whereas Black Ops II was not able to get there until after Cyber Monday."

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Latest comments (8)

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
Both factors absolutely fall flat on their face because it ignores digital sales.

I can't believe how digital is being ignored by the so called analysts of our industry. It's baffling. Absolutely baffling.
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Jason Sartor Copy editor/Videographer, Florida Today9 years ago

I don't think digital is being ignored - NPD doesn't track digital sales - but companies aren't disclosing those sales figures. Steam doesn't release sales totals of digital games, nor EA or Activision. Hell, even Amazon has never released how many Kindles they have sold, only stating it is the best-selling item they have every year. Which is also very problematic for developers - if you want to put a piece of software on a Kindle Fire you simply have no way top know how big or small your potential market is or is not

Also, the Black Ops II sales total reaching $1 billion does include digital sales. Activision released that number as total sales for the game not just as retail sales.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
I understand the difficulty of obtaining equitable digital sales to retail sales but to state the console has a "disappointing tie ratio of 1.2:1" ignores the digital sales factor even a true tie ratio cannot be obtained.

It would be disappointing (and even then only somewhat as that's pretty normal for a console launch) if retail were the only means to purchase games. But it's not. So it has a 1.2:1 ratio at retail only. It's disingenuous to apply that figure and the epithet to the entirety of the console because it's outright false.

Just because an exact figure cannot be obtained doesn't mean these analysts should run with the only figure they do have.

With regard to COD, let's not forget the difference in the number of days in the tracking period. 12 days for BLOPS2 compared to 19 days for MW3. Yet the 17% decline is stated as though the reporting period was 1:1.

If these guys can't provide proper analysis with proper context, they need to find a new line of work. I'm just tired of having to add an addendum of context and accuracy to their analysis without being paid their wages.
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Show all comments (8)
1.2? And this INCLUDES NintendoLand? I find this very, very hard to believe. Given that 80/90% of sales were the deluxe, this implies only one in 3-4 purchasers bought ONE game. Given the reports online of what games people bought, I have been reading people buying around 2-3 games (in addition to NintendoLand).

If this doesn't, then the real ratio is closer to 2 - which might be right.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game9 years ago
But also, nearly everyone who has bought a Wii U for an Xmas present hasn't turned on or played a game yet, and probably therefore isn't ready to buy a second, especially if they would prefer to let the recipient choose choose a game they actually want. Let's check the figures again a fortnight after Xmas. On a side note, just had a quick go of Rayman in game, impressed with what I played, and how comfortable the controller is.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
Something else seems off. I'm seeing a 1.8:1 tie ratio (that's even excluding the NintendoLand pack in sales).

How did Hardiman come up with 1.2:1?
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Stephan Schwabe Multichannelmanagement, Telefonica9 years ago
All the analysts say nintendo fails. Or have disapointet with sales. In a cupel of weeks thy say nintendo is different and dont comper the wii u with x-box and ps. Like thy did with the wii. For me its hard to understand how thy have faild. So fare the company made profit with every console thy have sold. Nintendo looks healthy comper to microsoft and sony.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Stephan Schwabe on 9th December 2012 10:10am

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Alex Barnfield Lead Engineer, 17-BIT9 years ago
Well I haven't bought a retail game yet, but I have 3 downloaded titles for my WiiU - given the download cards were ready to buy on day one in the stores, and every game I would consider purchasing was available as a download I imagine that's true for a lot of people.
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