Wii U sells 57,000 systems in January

Nintendo's new console outsold nearly 5:1 by Xbox 360, but one analyst finds a silver lining for the Mario maker

The Wii U's woes kept up last month. According to a CNET report, the industry-tracking NPD Group's January sales figures had Nintendo's newest system selling 57,000 units in the US (Update: NPD has now confirmed this number with GamesIndustry International). The best-selling hardware of the month, Microsoft's Xbox 360, moved 281,000 systems, outselling Nintendo's latest nearly five times over.

While Nintendo president Satoru Iwata described the system as "not bad" and "selling steadily" last month, the company later cut its sales targets for its current fiscal year. It had originally projected to sell 5.5 million systems through March, but now puts the number closer to 4 million. As of the end of December, the Wii U had racked up sales of 3.06 million worldwide.

Nintendo has recently tried to spark interest in the system with a number of new game announcements. A week before cutting its sales forecasts, the company held a Nintendo Direct presentation in which it confirmed two new Mario titles would be playable at this year's E3 and announced two Zelda games, among other titles.

In a note to GamesIndustry International, EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich cautioned that Nintendo's performance shouldn't be judged by the Wii U alone.

"While the Wii U's results were discouraging, Nintendo's platforms as an aggregate outperformed the other console manufacturers," Divnich said. "Nintendo's platforms represented over 40 percent of the consoles sold in January. I have to wonder if the Wii and the Nintendo DS have longer legs than what we've all originally expected and whether Nintendo is competing more against itself than other console manufacturers."

For now, Divnich sees Nintendo "retaining a large and active user base" across several devices, but he noted that pricing is still going to be a big factor. "Closing that pricing gap [with other consoles] long-term is a critical component for the Wii U's long-term success," he said.

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Latest comments (11)

Paul Jace Merchandiser 9 years ago
Wow. I don't know how anyone could positively spin those numbers. I know it's still early in the Wii U's life(a few months) but those numbers are beyond depressing, especially considering how readily available the system was for purchase here in the US(and yes that includes the 32 gb deluxe system). I know once the big first party Nintendo games start to release things will change but sheesh...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 16th February 2013 1:17am

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Doug Paras9 years ago
Thats funny cause in Japan the WiiU sold 10 times the Xbox 360 lol
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Matt Ernst Studying Culinary Arts, Hennepin Tech9 years ago
Gamecube 2.0
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Show all comments (11)
Well, the positive is obvious: Nintendo has 40% of the console share, and the WiiU (at least from March) is only going to go up - potentially increasing this share. It took the 3DS 12 months to get going, and 2 years before it started dominating. No reason why the WiiU couldn't follow a similar pattern.

Had people over yesterday, and spent a couple of hours "demoing" the WiiU: StreetView, MiiVerse, YouTube, Just Dance 4 and NintendoLand (Luigi's & Sweet Day). Even got 2 mothers (i.e. 60yrs+) playing. By the end, it wasn't a question of whether they wanted to buy a WiiU - but when. Not likely to be now, but almost certainly in the future.
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Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games9 years ago
it is a mistake to base an analysis and any predictions in such results, especially since the full strategy of nintendo has not played out yet. i feel and i will keep saying that it is shortsighted to write wiiU off so early, conveniently disregarding the massive titles that are coming out this year for both 3DS and wiiU.

This is yet another evolution of the home entertainment market offered by Nintendo. Unfortunately, and understandably so, big publishers are bleeding all over, and they are scared to take risks. That will be to their loss unfortunately, because if they continue this way... their market is lost, and no amount of perfectly lit shaders and polygons is going to bring it back from where users are going to send it!
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 9 years ago
@Michael Shamgar---Microsoft owns 44% of the current gen marketshare: The 40% you speak of that comes from this story is only achieved when you add both the Wii and Wii U sales. Thats a pretty poor spin and very similiar to what Sony did early in the life of the PS3 by lumping PS3 and PS2 sales together to make it seem as if the system was doing better than it actually was. Like I said in my first post, theres no real way to spin this into something positive considering this is a new system with no supply contraints here in the US.

Having said all of that, I'm not completely writing Nintendo off just yet. I'm sure the new systems from Sony and Microsoft will also have their respective issues out of the gate when they launch. But regardless of that, 57,000 units sold in a month for a new system that is easily attainable is a very poor performance indeed. Theres no need to try and spin it to pretend they actually did better than the numbers reveal. The best thing to do is admit it was a weak month for them and hope that they do better next month.
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This seems to chart a point where Nintendo will have to take a long hard look at its pre-Gen8 strategy and look possibly to a pure digital delivery model with a updated Wii-U platform. The danger now is that they will be left in the cold as new Gen8 systems are released this year - but they are by no means in as much trouble as some would paint.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago
That and.... by my math, 57,000 > 0 any day of the week. Gotta be a glass half-full guy with this sort of news. Still, I wonder what the low-high numbers on the Xbox 360 in Japan are these days...

So, they had a slow month? It's not going to be the same thing as certain anticipated games (and some first-party exclusives) are released over time. If anything, I'd say there's an edge to Nintendo among budget-minded users who don't have the connection speeds and such the new consoles will require. They can at least look at "downgrading" to a console that allows them to actually own the games they buy for it and not have to worry about too many "cloud" issues (other than whatever quirks hit the Miiverse should they end up there at some point)...
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers9 years ago
I guess we're going to need more detail and data on the next-gen offerings from Microsoft and Sony... but honestly, if they have more momentum out of launch than this, it's going to make the climb for Nintendo even harder.
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Jason Sartor Copy editor/Videographer, Florida Today9 years ago
I am still not sure how selling more than 3 million units in less than two months is poor performance. It took Sony six months before it sold 1 million PlayStations. The 360 had total first year sales of less than 6 million. By the end of the first full year the WiiU most likely will have sold just fine once a lot of the software catches up.
With the exception of importing shmups, I have learned my lesson to avoid the next Xbox. MS pumped up the 360 at launch and then dropped all real support after the first few years. Since 2010 MS released exclusives Halo 4, Fable 3, Fable Heroes, Forza 4, Forza Horizon. That's it. I am not counting all the Kinect shovelware. They had Gears of War 3 exclusive with Epic.
The PS3 by contrast since 2010 and still ongoing continues support with The Last of Us, Uncharted 3, Demon's Souls, The Witch and the 100 Knights, Dragon's Crown, inFamous 2, Ni No Kuni. Sly Cooper, etc.
Same with Nintendo. Wii games at the end of the Wii life include Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, Pandora's Tower, Donkey Kong Country Returns. Super Mario Galaxy 2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii 2., Zelda Skyward Sword.
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Richard stewart9 years ago
not surprising since there was no new software to purchase or push the system then again it should pick up in march when some gets released.
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