Wii U to see lifetime sales of 25m or less - DFC

DFC Intelligence lowers its Wii U forecast and we talk about the strategy behind releasing three big games at the same time as Xbox One's launch

In an exclusive sneak peak, GamesIndustry International has been informed of DFC Intelligence's new forecasts, which release on December 3. In the report, the research firm is officially lowering the lifetime sales forecast for Nintendo's struggling Wii U. Analyst David Cole told us that Wii U is now expected to reach global lifetime sales that are only a quarter of what the Wii sold (over 100 million).

"We are once again lowering our outlook for the Wii U. Right now it is looking to do about what the GameCube did during its lifespan which is mainly be another system for Nintendo first party product," Cole said, referring to GameCube's lifetime sales of under 22 million.

Speaking of first-party product, Nintendo has three heavy hitters launching tomorrow, which of course is the same day that Microsoft launches its Xbox One console. Super Mario 3D World (Wii U), The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS), and Mario Party: Island Tour (Wii U) are sure to excite Nintendo fans, but is it a wise move for Nintendo to compete with the mass hysteria around the next-gen system launches?

"I think Nintendo is carving out a different audience. I think that being said it is the right strategy. The audience they are going after is not the ones that Sony and Microsoft are going after. Right now they need to go after Nintendo fans first. They should have done that last year but better late than never. So in answer to your question it is the right approach but really Nintendo now is just trying to do as well as the GameCube so they have a base to sell first party software," Cole said.

Independent analyst Billy Pidgeon agrees with Cole. "I think it's smart for Nintendo to launch three titles featuring major franchises on the same day," he said. "Yes, Xbox One also launches on November 22nd, but major game retail events can energize consumers to buy more games and hardware. There's an audience waiting for these Nintendo titles, and Mario and Zelda have system-selling potential. It's a good move to get these games out before the holiday season kicks in on Black Friday, a tactic that Sony and Microsoft are employing for their eight generation console launches.

"Nintendo is moving 3DS hardware, and 2DS adds value priced hardware to Nintendo's handheld mix. Wii U hardware sales need a boost, and Super Mario 3D World will help. Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. releases in 2014 will also help, as will more value added bundles and hardware price cuts."

Pidgeon added, "For the bottom line, console launches drive hardware, software and accessories purchases not only for the new hardware but for older hardware as well. Value added bundling, price cuts and highly anticipated new software for older hardware can boost sales of older systems during a fourth quarter retail period with one or more new console launches. Xbox 360 made big gains in hardware and software in 2006 as Wii and PS3 launched, and PS2 made hardware gains and maintained relatively high attach rates in 2005-2006, particularly during Q4 when Xbox 360, Wii and PS3 launches were underway."

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Latest comments (16)

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
While SONY and MICROSOFTS rivalry fuels more ambitiouse, hi-end, over the top, hardest of hardcore, AAA titles... For all you nay sayers... We need a Nintendo... end of story. Without them the game industry would be full of first person shooters.
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Steve Goldman Journalist. 8 years ago
Dont care.

Free online, fun games, I am very happy with it.
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Wesley Williams Quality Assurance 8 years ago
I've seen a lot of journalists way more interested in playing Nintendo games recently than caring about the garbage being shipped with next-gen consoles.
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Tommy Thompson Lecturer in BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming., University of Derby8 years ago
Does it really matter when a major launch from Nintendo clashes with Microsoft or Sony? Not only are they aiming for a different audience of gamers, but the sales of Nintendo titles such as Mario and Zelda will continue throughout the year. A feat no Xbox One or PS4 launch title will be able to achieve outside of Call of Duty, Battlefield or FIFA.
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee8 years ago
On current performance and increased competition, some doubt the Wii U will even sell as much as the Gamecube.

Call me optimistic but I still think this negative momentum is reversible. Nintendo desperately need a new strategy though (especially for the west where consoles are actually selling) and someone with a mind to drive it.

So far none of the moves the company have made match up with the promises and intentions for this platform, it actually boggles my mind. Things really have to change.
I've seen a lot of journalists way more interested in playing Nintendo games recently than caring about the garbage being shipped with next-gen consoles.
Mario could be the best game this end of the year considering the alternatives.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 8 years ago
Do we really need Nintendo? No we do not. Competition is great for the entire industry but if Nintendo ever went out of business or stopped making hardware another company would quickly come in and take their place, the same way Microsoft took Sega's place(as a major hardware competitor) when they left the hardware business. Thats how the business world works in many industries.

As for the hardware forcast, the Wii U selling 25 or less seems very reasonable at this point but we'll have a much better perspective after this holiday season and next years as well. I think the Wii U's lifetime sales might pass the 30 million mark but I don't see it reaching 50 million. It just doesn't seem to have the legs to make it that far. But thats just my speculation. Like I said, we'll have a much better idea come January/February of next year.
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James Brightman Editor, North America, GamesIndustry.biz8 years ago
@Paul, yes we need Nintendo. Why? Because they make great games. We don't necessarily need Nintendo hardware, but I sure don't want them to ever fade away.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 8 years ago
@James---I respect your opinion but we really don't "need" Nintendo. What I mean is, if Nintendo leaves the video game business the industry isn't going to suddenly crash or die, it will keep moving right along. Yes they make great games but so does Microsoft, Remedy, Respawn and countless others. So even in an industry without Nintendo great games would continue to be made across multiple hardware platforms by multiple companies, just like today.

But atleast we seem to be in agreement that we don't need Nintendo hardware. I can't remember the last time I turned on my Wii(it wasn't in 2013....or 2012) and although I have a 3DS that I play occassionally it doesn't get played even a tenth of the time I play my consoles. And to clarify, I'm not saying that Nintendo needs to leave the hardware business or game making business. They are a great video game company, as is Microsoft and Sony. All I'm saying is that if they did leave someone else would replace them and 10 years from now we would remember them as fondly as we remember Sega when they use to make hardware.
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Peter Skerritt Former Armchair Analyst / Console Game Reviewer 8 years ago
Not surprising to see this install base forecast continue to be cut. With its poor third-party output and inability to create any demand before the competition arrived, the market for WiiU will be as a secondary or even tertiary console for many. In short, it may sell later on down the road, as the PlayStation 3 eventually did, but it's going to be struggle until we get to that point. I can see 25-30MM as being about right, and the WiiU will be a first-to-worst scenario for Nintendo in this console generation.

It'll be very much like the Dreamcast or even Gamecube in that sales will be weak, but those who buy it will probably speak highly of it based on first-party support until its last breath at retail.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 8 years ago
This is the natural result of the fact that MS and Sony have an easier time chipping away Nintendo's audience, than Nintendo has getting the types of games on their system which could chip away customers from Sony and MS.

But we are talking about Nintendo here. They are fine with people not buying 10 games per year on average, they are fine with having a library that still generates sales after years instead of the monthly must have and they are fine with only serving the part of gaming culture they like making games for.

And we should never forget, Nintendo is not a company to cling to a hardware as firmly as MS and Sony do with their ten year plans. 85, 90, 96, 01, 06, 12, not all of them were the dominating platforms of their day, yet Nintendo is still around. It would be silly to worry because of "merely" 35 million units.
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Steve Goldman Journalist. 8 years ago
Exactly, being another gamecube isnt always a bad thing.

First to worst in consoles seems to be a theme......
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@ Tommy Thompson
I hope you're right, unfortunately It does matter when the WiiU's installed base is as low as it is.
Christmas is the best time to increase your installed base, but going up against PS3, 360, XOne, PS4 and the countess tablets this season is going to be bad for Nintendo regardless of how great their software may be.

Mario 3D World will cost you upwards of 250 If you don't already own a WiiU.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Anthon Thomas on 22nd November 2013 4:28pm

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Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike8 years ago
I don't think we have to worry about Nintendo going away, we can't forget about Nintendo's handheld division - it's one of the driving forces of the company, and no other company can rightly compete with them. You may say cellphones and the like, but I haven't seen any cellphone gams that match the calibre of nintendo's games / hardware. I hate to admit, I'm one of those people who hasn't turned on a nintendo device in many years. The only reason I actually own a Wii is because an old roommate owed me money and I agreed to take his Wii + Zelda and a few games in exchange for cash. :) And that Wii is currently living happily at an ex-girlfriends (where it does actually get played every once in a while.) I hope Nintendo sticks around, but it's probably more of a nostalgia thing than anything else. I haven't played a Nintendo game in a while, and while I miss them - as an over 30 year old male, I don't really feel like I'm in Nintendos target audience anymore.
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Rod Franklin Game Designer, Concept Specialist & Business Developer 8 years ago
The negative momentum against Nintendo is definitely not something conjured by Nintendo alone, look at the slew of negative press. Never mind the fact that Nintendo is focused first and foremost on games and not how to get additional money out of consumers by decreasing content in the game for the sake of selling DLC, never mind the fact that they don't charge to play online, etc.

When different is a bad thing in the industry, consumers lose, especially when greed takes a front seat. When someone sounds like a broken record in regards to something, it may be intentional.

Sony's Vita isn't exactly the bell of the ball and you don't see as many reports of that write Sony off as "doomed", so there is a definite bias. Anthon Thomas of Sony Europe is a perfect example, lets take something good about Nintendo and make it a double edged sword, but the man works at Sony, i'd expect no less. I doubt he'd mention the PS4 bricks some consumers ended up with, but at least Sony didn't release a console fully locked until the update was completed (i.e. Xbox One).

They aren't exactly free of bad press though, but its not for the sake of making another company look good, and it sure as heck wouldn't be Nintendo in most cases since there seemingly is some sort of weird anti-Nintendo vibe going on. If Nintendo weren't around, what company would the industry seek to "copy" and destroy next?

PS4 has a games problem:

There are great games on the PS3 and Xboe 360, Xbox One has Dead Rising 3 and the PS4 has Resogun. Nintendo has plenty of great games, and it's not just child focused (though kiddie games are mainly in the edutainment genre that list select skill levels for age groups), but assumptions are a beast. Preference can be respected, but that go on and on for the sake of creating a bad impression only helps those that profit from it.

I play on multiple consoles and pc when I have time, I just want good games, and plenty of consumers just want the same.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 8 years ago
Dreamcast got to 8 million.
And in its market it was a far better product.
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Morgan King Animator 8 years ago
Yeah, but the weak launch titles aren't going to be what anyone's talking about one the new consoles have had a year on the shelf, like the Wii U has - of course it has stronger titles coming out 12 months into its lifecycle, and of course the other consoles have uninspired launch titles. Has it ever been otherwise?
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