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Wii U lifetime sales stand at 13.5m

Impending Switch arrival makes the device Nintendo's lowest-selling home console

By the end of December 2016, worldwide hardware sales for the Wii U were updated to 13.56m, and are unlikely to rise much higher.

The console only sold 160,000 units between September and December, the Wii U's production has ceased, and with Nintendo Switch barely one month away the platform holder is unlikely to embark on a last-minute marketing push to clear any units left in the channel.

The figures make it the lowest-selling home console in Nintendo's history, VG247 reports, falling short of even the GameCube's 21.74m lifetime sales (although passing the Virtual Boy's sales of 800,000 units). Nintendo once expected Wii U to sell over 100m units.

It's also a far cry from Nintendo's highest-selling device, the original DS, which has sold more than 154.02m units today and is second only to the PlayStation 2 in the rankings of all-time best-selling consoles.

In terms of software, Wii U sold a total of 96.52 units, making for an attach rate of 7.1 games per console. Prior to the Wii U, no Nintendo console ever sold less than 200m software units.

Mario Kart 8 was by far its biggest success with 8.26m sales, meaning at least half of Wii U owners picked up Nintendo's latest racer. The Top 10 best-selling Wii U games can be seen below. Unsurprisingly, they are all first-party titles but it is encouraging to see a new IP among them in the form of multiplayer hit Splatoon.

  • Mario Kart 8 (8.26m)
  • New Super Mario Bros U (5.62m)
  • Super Mario 3D World (5.47m)
  • Nintendo Land (5.16m)
  • Super Smash Bros for Wii U (5.16m)
  • Splatoon (4.76m)
  • Super Mario Maker (3.89m)
  • New Super Luigi U (2.89m)
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Wakes HD (2.11m)
  • Mario Party 10 (2.04m)

Wii U had a rough time as a console. Confused marketing, a slow supply of must-have first-party titles, the usual dearth of best-selling third-party titles, the untapped potential for asynchronous and more contributed to its struggles. Nintendo seems to have learned from many of these lessons with the Switch, but time will tell whether the new device's hefty price point will help elevate it above its forebear.

Nintendo has also updated the 3DS' lifetime sales, now at 65.3m units. That encompasses the original launch mode, the 3DS XL, the New Nintendo 3DS and the 2DS. The handheld has also shifted 320.96m software units.

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James Batchelor


James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at He has been a B2B journalist since 2006, and an author since he knew what one was