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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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James Brightman


James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.