News Article

Nintendo Announces 890,000 Wii U Sales in U.S. Launch

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Higher revenues than Wii launch, 3DS has over 1.25 million sales in Holiday period

Nintendo of America has issued a series of facts and figures for its Holiday period performance in the U.S., following publication of the latest NPD figures that cover 25th November to 29th December. There were some solid results and, perhaps most importantly, decent figures for Wii U sales in December after the launch week rush.

In terms of Wii U, total console sales in the U.S as of 29th December were nearly 890,000 units, while special mention was made of New Super Mario Bros. U with over 580,000 sales, an attach rate of over 65%. Those aren't bad figures after 41 days on the market, though don't match up to Wii which sold around 600,000 units in just eight days when it launched. Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing, has focused on an area where Wii U has out-performed Wii, by virtue of its higher retail price; Wii U hardware sales have generated over $300 million in revenue during this period, while at the equivalent point Wii hardware had generated just over $270 million.

While the Wii launch established new benchmarks in the United States, Wii U has surpassed its predecessor in perhaps the most important category: revenue generation. The demand for the Deluxe SKU, which was essentially sold out at retail this holiday, and the strong attach rate of New Super Mario Bros. U, shows that we have the value and the games to drive momentum in 2013. We look forward to offering great new experiences and bringing smiles to millions of new faces throughout the year.

There was particularly good news for 3DS, which after a rough Black Friday of being outsold by DS bounced back with a very impressive 1.25 million sales in December, taking the US lifetime total past 7.7 million units. That was quite a haul over the festive period, while New Super Mario Bros. 2 also performed well, becoming the fourth 3DS game to pass one million sales in the country with the lifetime number at a healthy 1.45 million units.

Nintendo's older systems, no doubt boosted by budget prices, showed life with Wii selling nearly 475,000 units and DS shifting nearly 470,000 units in this NPD report's period; that takes Wii to 40.8 million sales in its U.S. lifetime, and DS past a whopping 53 million. There was also a mention for Just Dance 3 on Wii, as it became the 10th title on the system to pass 5 million sales in the country.

Lots of facts and figures there, with 3DS arguably being the star of the show, while the combined figures meant that this was the 11th consecutive year that Nintendo has sold over 8 million hardware units in the U.S. There's been a bit of spin applied by focusing on Wii U revenues — they're higher as the system has a meatier retail price — but nevertheless these seem like good results for the company.

Let us know what you think about all of these figures and statistics in the comments below.

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User Comments (76)

kdognumba1

#1

kdognumba1 said:

Not too bad and a nice start. Hopefully they can keep the momentum with future releases, pull people on the fence in, and attract tons of new people.

HOUSE

#8

HOUSE said:

You're kidding me, right? Why does this article fail to mention that Nintendo sold just 460k units in the U.S. in what is supposed to be the busiest shopping month of the year? For comparison, the XBox 360, in its 8th December, sold 1.4 million. There was not a Wii U supply constraint, and the Wii even outsold the Wii U.

Nintex

#9

Nintex said:

very impressive numbers indeed. Glad to see WiiU doing just fine. The 3DS on the other hand selling 1.25 in december is pure insanity! For a company every one seems to cast doom and destruction upon, even in a "Nintendo Apocalypse" the weather is just peachy as can be.

ThomasBW84Admin

#10

ThomasBW84 said:

@HOUSE It seems that, in various places, Wii U Deluxe systems were relatively hard to find, but there were white basic models readily available, with Iwata recently admitting that Nintendo is struggling to sell the cheaper model.

In terms of the 460K figure, we've provided the official data given and plenty of context. Nintendo's official line is that the results are good because Wii U revenue is higher than Wii's for the equivalent launch period, yet that reflects the higher retail prices, rather than sales figures. Personally, I'm just pleased that the Wii U figures didn't completely fall off a cliff in December after launch week sales. Solid, but not brilliant.

3DS was the star from Nintendo's perspective, with Nintendo selling over 2.65 million hardware systems in the Holiday period.

aaronsullivan

#11

aaronsullivan said:

@House
Not sure about your point. The XBox 360 didn't launch the month before to take from the December sales plus its old and established and was dirt cheap bargain prices. This is how launches go the old hardware maintains good competition as always. Even the Wii had decent sales.

I'm glad it sold as well as it did. I was a bit worried. The revenue thing is a bit lame. You want profit not just revenue. On the other hand it does show the value of the console. Sure people scarfed up the Wii but it is a bit more impressive that people saw enough value in the Wii U to pay as much as they did for it.

ljinkakidd

#12

ljinkakidd said:

The Wii caught fire because it caught everybody off guard. It was different and engaging for the time. For Wii U it is different but harder to advertise. Not only did this make sales units a little less Wii worthy but also the horrible mix of high price and recession.

The Wii U will succeed or Nintendo isn't Nintendo. I see this system selling better when greater games arrive. Nintendo's strategy since forevermore.

HOUSE

#15

HOUSE said:

@aaronsullivan
You don't think avoiding the 468K has a point? The Wii U was Nintendo's least selling platform in December and the lowest of the big three with stock available, so there wasn't a supply constraint. The Wii U also sold less than a $600 PS3 in 2006. As much as I love Nintendo, there's no defending it, this is not that good.

And how can you praise $30 more revenue than Wii launch when the Wii U is $50-$100 more?

HOUSE

#16

HOUSE said:

@ThomasBW84
I understand your approach. I suppose if you look at it solely at revenue then it's a good thing. I truly just don't want to see my favorite company that I've invested so much money in have a console that doesn't convince third parties to put good content on the system, because it takes more than just Nintendo games to make a good console. The next 3 months or so don't look good software-wise. I sure hope that changes fast.

ljinkakidd

#17

ljinkakidd said:

@HOUSE

I see where you're coming from but you gotta understand that 7 years ago, our recession wasn't as grousome as it is today. The PS3 might have sold more, which I think isn't that accurate, but they're just now making profit on the console 6 years later. No, the Wii U isn't Nintendo's best selling console yet or ever but If the U fails then the PS4 is doomed. I mean what else can a console do nowadays besides improving specs? We'll just have to wait until they can advertise the product better and when more people have excess cash to blow.

WingedSnagret

#18

WingedSnagret said:

Not a bad start. No doubt will get better come next holiday season once the system gets a secure foothold with a larger library.

HOUSE

#19

HOUSE said:

@ljinkakidd
I think it's going to be VERY interesting how next-gen Sony and Microsoft systems are next year because I have that same thought: what in the world, other than graphics, can the next-gen systems do to compel us to support the new systems? I think especially if digital games we purchased this generation on the aren't compatible on the next-gen systems, that could to a turnoff as there's nothing wrong with the current stores and they don't need an upgrade.

TotalHenshin

#20

TotalHenshin said:

@HOUSE While it may be true that the Wii U sold less than the 360 this past December, in the same Nov-Dec two month period, the Wii U has sold more units than either the PS3 or 360 during that same two month period of their respective launches. Yes, you can focus on the 460k figure for WiiU in December, but that was more than the 360 sold in Dec '05 (and 30k less than the PS3 did). Now, of course the user base should expand due to at least increase of population alone, but let's not forget the differences in local and world economies at these respective launches. All this to say the Wii U is not doing bad, it is not doing amazing, and we cannot pinpoint its trajectory so shortly after its launch.

HOUSE

#21

HOUSE said:

@TotalHenshin
I hear ya. I think the Wii U launch is different than any other launch in history because now the Wii U has caught up to the capabilities of PS3 and XBox 360. The Wii U launch isn't like XBox or PS3 (I think PS3 would have sold more if it wasn't always sold out). When a consumer has these 3 choices, they are still overwhelmingly picking the other two systems. Why is this?

Zodiak13

#22

Zodiak13 said:

Next years holiday season will tell us where things are at for the Wii U. Until then all this analyzing and speculation is immaterial.

DerpSandwich

#23

DerpSandwich said:

Not too bad. I think this upcoming holiday season 3DS is going to absolutely explode with the release of Pokemon X and Y. I don't think the Wii U will do so well however against its likely-competitively-priced competitors, but a solid library and a slight price drop will see it come back pretty big in 2014.

But those are just my guesses.

Spoony_Tech

#24

Spoony_Tech said:

Yeah but didn't they make more profit off the Wii launch? They're losing money on each Wii U sold but weren't on the Wii. Yes I know they need to sell the system in order to recoup those losses but still.

KingDunsparce

#25

KingDunsparce said:

@HOUSE I'm really interested in how the rest of the next-gen consoles will look also. I've heard rumors that Sony will make the PS4's resolution so high that you need to buy those new really HD tvs, but I've also heard the opposite: that PS4 will be the same resolution due to the Vita's failure causing Sony to lose lots of money. But, those are rumors after all, and you never know what will be true. Anyways, this year's e3 will be very interesting: Wii U high-end releases (hopefully), new consoles, ect...

DePapier

#27

DePapier said:

@HOUSE I would like to have the sources of how the PS3's launch, at a $600 price point, fared better than that of the Wii U when my sources say otherwise.

DePapier

#29

DePapier said:

Thanks Pikminsi, I just new something was wrong that blunt statement. :)
But yeah, I have to ask: what does "NPD" stands for in "NPD figures?" It can't be New Product Development, so what else?
(And how do you link somebody in replies? Me clicking on Reply on a comment doesn't do it quite like y'all do.)

DePapier

#31

DePapier said:

@Pikminsi Oww, my bad, it actually works. :/ Cool, then.
I'm guessing you're right about NPD but it just seemed weird to me since a company would actually invest and "lose" (so to speak) money is new product development only to progressively see that return on investment upon selling the product. Here it makes sense on the long run, though...

Peach64

#32

Peach64 said:

NPD doesn't really stand for anything anymore. The company used to be called National Purchase Diary, but now they are just called NPD Group.

Peach64

#33

Peach64 said:

The hardware numbers are:

360 = 1.4M
3DS = 1.25M
PS3 > 600K, < 650K
Wii = 475K
DS = 470K
Wii U = 460K
PSV > 200K, < 250K

Great sales for the DS. I just hope Europe picks up too. There were some great price cuts and great offers on during December so hopefully a lot of new people came on board.

Xbox 360 is now 2.7m units behind the Wii's overall sales. I wouldn't have thought that was possible 2 years ago.

Gamer83

#34

Gamer83 said:

The two systems that released this year are struggling, that doesn't bode well for MS and Sony with the next Xbox and PS4 if they don't price these systems right and have some serious heavy hitters on day one and for the months that make up the 'launch window.' I think these sales say a lot about where the market is right now and the economy is certainly playing a major factor. Unless that situation improves dramatically, Sony and MS have their work cut out for them. Factoring that in, even with a slower than expected start for Wii U, Nintendo is still in a decent position because the 3DS is selling well and they could always drop the price on Wii U just as the new competition is set to arrive. We know there will be a big first party game for next fall as well. My guess is either Metroid or a 3D Mario that will be revealed at E3.

JuanitoShet

#35

JuanitoShet said:

I'm just blown away that the Wii and DS lines are still selling by the hundreds of thousands, even during the holiday seasons! And people say that these consoles are dead! Haha!

I'm sure the Wii U will sell a lot better a year from now. More games, and nothing more, will make the system sell well.

And the 3DS... Pokémon. X & Y. That is all that is needed. THEY'LL BE FLYIN' OFF SHELVES!

PinkSpider

#38

PinkSpider said:

I'm curious to see the UK figures as I get the feeling its not doing to well, don't know anyone who has one The initial sales were 40,000 I believe which seems quite small I still think the ridiculous price of games is not helping it

cornishlee

#40

cornishlee said:

@PinkSpider
I have one but no games yet! I'm interested in NBA 2K and Gaiden (maybe Sonic and Darksiders too) but would like to play them first before spending so much money and there are still no demos available for those games.

Interestingly though, when I went into various shops in town (York) a couple of days ago I was surprised to notice that there were no Wii U's for sale. I got mine online so I don't now what stocking levels were like to begin with but it would seem that they've sold out.

MAXIMUS

#42

MAXIMUS said:

With the lack of advertising and confusing branding, is it possible that there were people who bought Wiis as gifts intending to buy the "new Wii" during the holiday season?

duskao

#44

duskao said:

@HOUSE because it is just that, it was just released. this is very normal for a new console. when the ps3 and 360 were first released they actually sold less then the wii u their first christmas.

duskao

#45

duskao said:

@HOUSE good point! in the last 5 years graphic improvements havent been all that awe inspiring imo, they are at a bit of a stand still. if pc games graphics arent blowing anyones minds then consoles are going to have a hard time with it. tbh, i have found games that spend too much time on graphics seem to lack in other areas like control, playability and fun. there are exceptions of course.

duskao

#46

duskao said:

@DePapier lol, the 360 was $600-650 and the ps3 was $900 here in canada, and the ps3 was everywhere, not sold out at all, the 360 was harder to get, but still available.

Ducutzu

#47

Ducutzu said:

These are excellent figures, considering that:

  • the Wii U is expensive (compared to other available consoles)
  • doesn't have a lot of games just yet
  • new games for it are quite expensive (compared to games for other consoles)
  • the GamePad, while cool, doesn't scream "new" from the top of its lungs (not like the Wii remote did).

It's mostly the enthusiasts like us that picked up one at launch. The moms around the world will get one later this year, when there are more hot games and their kids will get to play the Wii U at a friend's place and start crying for one.

WanderingPB

#48

WanderingPB said:

This is chess not checkers…the first move has been played…the game is still going…and for the record when has nintendo simply told u all there future plans? I personally believe the best is yet to come

rjejr

#49

rjejr said:

Time for Nintendo (Wii U, 3DS has X+Y, 'nuff said) to start focusing on the here and now and move past Christmas.

Here's a sampling of what PS3 has coming out the next few months - Tomb Raider, GOW:Ascension, Last of Us, Sly Cooper, MGR: Revengeance, Beyond, Ni No Kuni.
Here's Wii U - Rayman Legends, Game and Wario, and at some undefined point Pikmin 3.

Why should people spend $300 on a Wii U before Pikmin 3 releases?

And Xbox360 is catching up to Wii b/c of Kinect. If you have kids you buy an Xbox Kinect so they can play Fruit Ninja. MS revived Xbox sales by releasing that peripheral midway thru it's life, when Nintendo should have released a WiiHD. EVERY Xbox720 (KinectBox) will probably come w/ Kinect and Skype and WebTV as selling points b/c there is really isn't much farther to go w/ graphical improvements alone.
I don't know what Sony will do (Vita in every box?), but they won't sell the PS4 at $600.

Nintendo needs to look forward, not back.

gojiguy

#50

gojiguy said:

I hope the wii U struggles.

Because that will light a fire under Nintendo's ass and force them to

A) cut prices

B) make more/better games

C) try to rally support by working with 3rd parties

D) make more attempts to appeal to the core gamer

this happened in the wii's lifetime. And because of it, 2010 was THE year to own a Wii.

Mahe

#51

Mahe said:

3DS selling really well. Also New SMB 2 9th in multiplatform charts, that's a big selling point for 3DS.

Rapadash6

#52

Rapadash6 said:

I wonder what Wii U ambassadors will be getting this year. :p

This is one of the most glossed over PR statements I've ever seen. Sure, the Wii U did decently, but is it decent enough? I believe the goal was to sell 5.5 million units worldwide by the end of March, and with these numbers, that's quite a daunting task that's laid before Nintendo.

I'd also like to add that when 3rd parties look at which hardware to develope for, revenue made isn't nearly as important as units sold. They want more potential customers and this may end up being a worse situation than we've seen on Wii because of these figures.

It's clear that Wii U isn't as popular as Nintendo had hoped, and it's clearer that the only one to blame for it is the company itself. Nintendo needs to slip back into panic mode, give us early adopters free stuff, lower the price, and announce some new damn games already. STOP WASTING TIME NINTENDO!

cornishlee

#53

cornishlee said:

@gojiguy
If the Wii U struggles Nintendo have no hope of "rally[ing] support by working with 3rd parties". As Rapadah6 pointed out, the only thing they'll be interested in is the install base.

CanisWolfred

#54

CanisWolfred said:

Not bad I guess, but the Wii's launch numbers were more due to supply issues, IIRC, so topping the Wii's early revenue ain't that big of an accomplishment...

JJtheTexan

#56

JJtheTexan said:

Agreed with @HOUSE and @Rapadash6 . Revenue is a completely irrelevant figure. Shareholders care about profit / loss only, and third-party devs care about units only. Everything here is troubling. 3DS is selling 20% more units in Japan than the U.S. and Japan's population is roughly 1/3 that of America's, while the aging DS is nearly at the same pace. The essentially obsolete Wii sold nearly half as many units as the so-called next-gen Wii U.

And yes, you should be VERY concerned when the 360 and PS3 are EACH selling more units in their FINAL Christmas than the Wii U in its FIRST. Every one of those Xbox and PlayStation buyers was someone who probably at least considered Wii U, and said "Its graphics are no better than these older systems, which are cheaper, have more memory and much bigger libraries."

I love my 3DS and I'm happy with my Wii U, but I am increasingly concerned. Nintendo needs to make some drastic changes to avoid following in Sega's footsteps.

Sun

#57

Sun said:

Peach64: 'The hardware numbers are:
360 = 1.4M
3DS = 1.25M
PS3 > 600K, < 650K
Wii = 475K
DS = 470K
Wii U = 460K
PSV > 200K, < 250K
Great sales for the DS. I just hope Europe picks up too. There were some great price cuts and great offers on during December so hopefully a lot of new people came on board.
Xbox 360 is now 2.7m units behind the Wii's overall sales. I wouldn't have thought that was possible 2 years ago'.

This means Wii U is not starting good in USA, only selling more than the crumbling Vita.

RotYN7

#61

RotYN7 said:

@Sun Count how many of those listed Are Nintendo products though, thats what blows me away. i mean 4 out of 7 products are from the same Company. why isnt this ever brought up?

brooks83

#63

brooks83 said:

I sound like a broken record here, but had they just ANNOUNCED what they were gonna do with the VC (I don't mean say it's coming, I mean tell us if we have to re-buy our games again for Gamepad use, etc.) I would have bought one at launch. They also should just TEASE some games they are working on. This silent treatment does nothing to build excitement for their new console. I think Nintendo has lost their mind.

Amigaengine

#66

Amigaengine said:

Tax return time is coming :) Can see that helping video console sales. Will at my house anyway

Tri-Heart

#67

Tri-Heart said:

Maybe we shouldn't compare with the Wii so much. It's a different system with, a different target group. WiiU an awesome system, but it doesn't scream novelty (and gimmick) like the Wii did, man, that was surely a revolution that we still feel today. I'm amazed that the Wii still sells like crazy. There are people who like the system, but still didn't buy it. The WiiU does what the Wii does, does what PS and Xbox do and on most importantly; it gives new unique, non-gimmicky ways to experience games. It feels more pro.

billychaos

#70

billychaos said:

So are people on this site actually Nintendo fans or just people who despise them? It really appears like the latter. For what it's worth, the Nintendo Wii U is doing quite well. I'm not sure why people are in denial of that, let alone anyone on a Nintendo dedicated site. Here is an article from Bloomberg, if you dont know they are a very renowned financial investment information site, not fanboy banter or praise. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-11/nintendo-gains-as-new-wii-u-sales-beat-predecessor.html

ljinkakidd

#71

ljinkakidd said:

I don't see why people bicker over Nintendo so. It's worthless! The company will die when need be. And I don't see that for at least another 100 years. Nintendo is a generational thing. Kids will enjoy pokemon and mario for years to come. When Nintendo runs out of money and their top creators are gone then we should expect some slow down from the company. welp until then let's just sit back and wait for what Nintendo has for us, shall we?

brooks83

#72

brooks83 said:

@billychaos - I read all these comments and have not found anything that would lead me to believe Nintendo is "despised". Myself, I am a big Nintendo fan and have been underwhelmed with the Wii U thus far. I just don't think it's worth the price point it's at right now, and I have been dissapointed in Nintendo's handling of the system. This doesn't mean I "despise" Nintendo or won't eventually buy a Wii U. I'm just calling Nintendo out on their mistakes. Call it tough love.

As for how well the Wii U is doing. 468k in the US in December is simply ok. Not great. The system launched and it was around Christmas, so it could have been much better. They will have a hard time making their goal of 5 million worldwide at this rate. I also read that Bloomberg article. The Wii U is at $300 million in sales while the Wii was at $270 at this point in it's life. That sounds ok, but does that number factor in inflation? And, considering Wii U's were seen on shelves everywhere, that $300 million should have been much higher. The Wii was sold out everywhere for months. And, sales does not mean profits. How profitable is the Wii U so far? We don't know yet.

Lopezdm

#73

Lopezdm said:

Well they are doing a sunflowery job of not getting every game that comes out this year for the system. It's simply lazy.

X-Conor-X

#75

X-Conor-X said:

This is bad for nintendo. Think about what happens when the Wii U must drop in price. They'll most likely have to take out the Wii U game pad and replace it with a classic controller pro, as the game pad was said to be about 160 of the cost. If they're already losing money on each console at such a high price, the future looks very grim. Although, instead of putting extra space in each one, give the hard drive just enough capacity for future updates and operating system requirements, and used a cloud based storage tied to an account.

atariman

#76

atariman said:

@X-Conor-X

hmm. :I interesting statement you just said. KEEP IN MIND! I've heard good things and bad things about the Wii U. I have a feeling that the Wii U might get an average amount of sales. about 30,000,000 sale perhaps. :P

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