News Article

3DS Stays on Top in Japan, but Wii U Falls Behind Vita

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Like two bald men fighting over a comb...

Some things seem to be ever-lasting in the Japanese video game charts, one of which is continued dominance for the 3DS. It goes like this — the two models outsell every other platform combined, and rivals or those not inclined to like the system curse the skies and wonder how it came to such a position of dominance in Nintendo's homeland. The answer's rather simple — must-have games — which may explain why Wii U has had a week bad enough to see it drop behind the regularly struggling Sony handheld, the Vita.

The hardware sales below show that all Nintendo platforms had a dip, with Sony's latest both enjoying a small increase. The Vita's improvement saw it overtake Nintendo's home console, reinforcing the fact that the big N is reliant on upcoming releases such as Dragon Quest X, The Wonderful 101 and Pikmin 3 to change its fortunes. As we saw with the 3DS in Japan — and elsewhere — games really do sell systems. The figures for 18th-24th February are below, with the previous week's sales in parenthesis.

3DS LL – 49,317 (66,139)
3DS – 25,412 (31,832)
PlayStation 3 – 18,529 (16,934)
PlayStation Vita – 11,456 (8,044)
Wii U – 9,633 (10,744)
PSP – 8,981 (10,501)
Wii – 1,317 (1,655)
Xbox 360 – 473 (506)

On the software side it was another good week for games on Nintendo systems, with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance jumping in at top spot on PS3; lifetime sales are in parenthesis.

1. [PS3] Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – 308,681 (New)
2. [3DS] Dragon Quest VII: Warriors of Eden – 75,427 (1,088,341)
3. [3DS] Animal Crossing: New Leaf – 74,438 (2,666,040)
4. [3DS] Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic – 29,402 (New)
5. [PSP] Toaru Majutsu no Kagaku no Gun Sou Katsugeki – 13,894 (New)
6. [Wii] Taiko Drum Master Wii Super Wonderful Edition – 9,825 (406,050)
7. [3DS] New Super Mario Bros. 2 – 9,664 (1,932,156)
8. [3DS] Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Best Price! edition – 8,230 (235,465)
9. [3DS] Fantasy Life – 5,870 (236,341)
10. [3DS] Taiko Drum Master: Chibi Dragon and the Mysterious Orb – 5,799 (429,163)

Until big releases arrive on Wii U, meanwhile, we may see more grisly sales results in Japan and elsewhere. That said, from March onwards there are some notable games coming, so it'll be interesting to see how that's reflected in hardware sales.


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User Comments (73)



TysonOfTime said:

...So does that mean that Nintendo is just as likely to stop making hardware as Sony is?

(If you need clarification, I'm reffering to the fact that Nintendo's in rough waters because the Wii U isn't doing well, yet when you compare the similar performing Vita, people will say that Sony has nothing to worry about.)



Wolfgabe said:

@TysonOfTime I am getting tired of all this doom and gloom bull crap Wii U has nearly sold has much as what Vita has sold in a year. One month of bad sales does not kill a system



drunkenmaster76 said:

You can't really compare the handheld market to the home market! wii u will be dominating the charts by this time next year.



DePapier said:

Now this is bad news.

I'm pretty sure it's due to how the Vita will be used with the PS4. The Japanese are starting to see some use in that device now. Hopefully future Wii U games can stir up the momentum, but judging by those third-party ports I think it'll take a long time unless Nintendo acknowledge they'll have to sell Wii U's by their own Nintendo games — as the Wii U Direct seems has shown.

But then there are no games right now, and yes you can't compare handheld and home consoles for that matter.



WaveGhoul said:

What a suprise, XBOX is dead last. Even if Nintendo ditched the 'Wii' brand name and went with something entirely new(like they have been with every bloody previous generation) it wouldn't have altered sales in the slightest. The casuals who recognize the 'Wii' name have moved onto their shnazzy I-pads.



iiSaviour said:

@Gigagator Actually I think the price cut is not supposed to happen until the 28th. If so then I wonder what the numbers will be like post-price cut.



rjejr said:

@TysonOfTime - Sony is probably just as likely to drop out of portable consoles as Nintendo is out of home consoles. (Sony also has it's mobile phone software platform and Xperia tablets so it doesn't really need to build a handheld anyway.) Neither the 3DS nor the PS4 and their successors are going away though.

@drunkenmaster76 The Vita price cut doesn't kick in until 28th February.

Translation - don't expect the Wii U to sell better than the Vita next week either.

Do either Pikmin 3 or The Wondeful 101 have release dates in Japan? I didn't think they did but this sentence - "... the big N is reliant on upcoming releases such as Dragon Quest X, The Wonderful 101 and Pikmin 3 to change its fortunes." - made me think otherwise. Especially the "upcoming releases" part. Or is "upcoming releases" here used like Nintendo used "launch window" for Pikmin 3 in March? I personally can't see listing something as "upcoming" if it doesn't even have a date yet.



C7_ said:

Well that's what happens when all your exciting titles get delayed and you have a several month drought of games for your console.

Sales will probably pick up once more games come out for the thing, but in the meantime it's gonna sell terribly because there's no reason to buy it if you haven't bought it at launch.



ThomasBW84 said:

@rjejr Dragon Quest X is due 30th March, the others in the next few months. Others such as the new Wario game and Wii Fit U don't have exact dates either, but are still expected in Q1 or Q2. LEGO City: Undercover, I don't think, is that big a deal in Japan, and they've had Monster Hunter 3 G HD, as it's called, since the system's launch.



TysonOfTime said:

I understand that, but remember that whenever a Nintendo system is underpreforming, constant claims of the company as a while's demise appear. Anaylysts are envisoning a world without Nintendo, but there's no way Sony's going down.

The same things were said about the 3DS. I know it's a different ballgame comparing the lackluster preformence of consoles to handhelds, but this is Japan we're talking about. Handhelds are more successful there than consoles.

The point I was trying to make was that when all the people well versed in the industry won't whisper Vita and doomed in the same sentence, the Wii U shares a faltering launch period and is the "end of Nintendo".



Peach64 said:

People predict the end of Sony all the time! They don't say Sony will go 3rd party, because Sony isn't really about the games. They're focused on the hardware and just leave it up to others to make games, with a small number of studios to make exclusives, but if they pulled out of the hardware, then there's no chance they'd keep making games. People probably say it about Nintendo because making games is a bigger part of their business, probably more so than making the consoles themselves. I don't think Nintendo OR Sony will pull out of hardware, but if either did, Nintendo are the only ones that would keep making games.

Also... when did Sony announce a price drop for Vita? I don't get why anyone would buy a console when it's been announced it will be cheaper next week?



Bucbanzai said:

Just because the official price cut doen't take effect until tomorrow, doesn't mean retailers haven't already started selling at the new price to beat the competion to the punch.



WhiteTrashGuy said:

Come E3 Nintendo will show off F-ZERO, MARIO, MARIO KART, STAR FOX and probably close the show with a new METROID. They know what they have to do. Heck, let Sega do F-ZERO again. (Sorry Namco/Bandai, but stay away from STAR FOX). Oh, and are we forgetting the new XENOBLADE? Wii U will be just fine. I bought one on launch day and use it every day, barely play my 360 anymore (Revengeance/Tomb Raider). I will be getting the new XBOX or PS4, but not for at least a year after launch. The Wii U will be around until 2017, when hopefully Nintendo can release a new console that will undercut the PS4 and XBOX. Do not underestimate tge SeamBox, though which looks to finally merge console and PC gaming.



rjejr said:

@ThomasBW84 - After the delay with Pikmin 3 and Rayman Legends I can't see any sane person buying a Wii U console based on "expected" release Q1. There's only a month left, how many big games get release dates announced less than a month before release? And even if a game is "expected" in Q2, why buy a console based on that expectation without a firm release date?

Nobody should expect Wii U console sales to increase in Japan based on "upcoming" games if the games don't even have dates yet. My view of "upcoming" is about a month. Without a date people should wait for either a price drop, sale or a bundle.

BTW - I'm not a doomsayer, the system will sell, eventually, just not today.



Freelance said:

Hey Thomas, it's 'grisly', not 'grizzly.' Grizzlies are bears...

It's in the last paragraph.



Jukilum said:

@rjejr " I personally can't see listing something as "upcoming" if it doesn't even have a date yet."

Unless the game gets cancelled I don't see what else you'd call it. If it isn't already out then by definition the only other option is "upcoming."

Also, "Super Wonderful Edition." LOL



Hejiru said:

Wii U has new Dragon Quest, Zelda, Smash Bros, Mario Kart, and 3D Mario games coming. All of those sell like hotcakes. It'll be fine.



ThomasBW84 said:

@Donjwolf So it is, oops

@rjejr - Yeah, Nintendo can only look medium term, though I included DQX first as, at the very least, that has a fixed date. We can expect similarly bad figures for the next month at least, as a few people have said, and Nintendo will know it's coming.

It stings a little, I imagine, to fall down to 5th in the list, (4th if you combine 3DS models) and the Vita price drop is likely to make it stay that way too.



Peach64 said:

The Gamecube also had Zelda, Smash Bros, Mario Kart, 3D Mario, Metroid, F-Zero, the lot, and it didn't do so well. I sure hope Nintendo aren't sitting back like you guys and thinking the same thing. Fortunately I think they'll be hard at work to make the Wii U a success, but it's not going to happen overnight.



XCWarrior said:

Based on those charts, outside of the 3DS, pretty much everything else in Japan is borderline irreleveant right now.

Why are people buying PS3s knowing now that the PS4 is coming? This goes for all regions.



Captain_Balko said:

I'm quite sure that although the price doesn't officially drop for the Vita 'til tomorrow, many stores have slashed the Vita prices early in order to attract customers, so it makes sense that the sales are momentarily improving. This momentary improvement, however, certainly won't last for long.



SpaceApe said:

I know this is hard for some to swallow but facts are facts. I got burned when I bought a Wii U thinking it bring more good quality mature games to players but never again will I listen to Nintendo. Lesson learned.



Eien1239 said:

@SpaceApe Yea that's your opinion and I respect it. But you are going to get them just not now. Also I don't remember being told that, you didn't assume did you?



AbeVigoda said:


People are buying PS3's since you can't play those games on the PS4. If the PS4 was backwards compatible, they would sell far less PS3's for the next nine months



LordessMeep said:

Well... seeing how the console has been out for just over three months now, I'd say there is very little reason for a panic. Come Q3 2013 when there WILL be system sellers and if the Wii U doesn't sell then, that's when we have a problem. Also, what @AbeVigoda said.

Off-topic - DQVII's sales look pretty good. Fantasy Life's, not so much. Still hoping for both titles to be localized.



NintyMan said:

Handhelds and home consoles are two different beasts, of course, but I see some similarity between the launches of 3DS and Wii U. Wii U was fortunate to have Mario release with it and Nintendo Land, but now there's a small drought of first-party games. 3DS didn't have any except for the little submarine game and it had to wait for Zelda OOT 3D in the summer and had a longer drought. We saw how it quickly recovered when a 3D Mario and a Mario Kart came out for the 3DS in Fall 2011, and the same thing will happen again with Wii U if the new 3D Mario and Mario Kart both come out this Fall.



Farmboy74 said:

@LordessMeep, You pretty much summed things up. If its not selling by christmas then I think, there will be a problem.
But looking on the bright side there are big games due for release, hopefully this will entice people to buy a Wii U. The 3DS turned the corner I think the Wii U will do the same when it has a lot more games in its library. But Nintendo need to get the games out, especially with PS4 and the new Xbox fast approaching



New_3DaSh_XL said:

@Peach64 If I had a penny for each time someone(even if I didn't include myself) said that Sony, Nintendo, Xbox, or even the entire video gaming industry was going to die, I'd be the richest person in the world by now.



idork99 said:

I wonder how the numbers are in the US? Honestly, besides the Miiverse, I don't have a reason to want to purchase the Wii U. Even when the new Mario Kart arrives (my personal favorite franchise) to the Wii U later this year, I still won't be tempted to purchase one. Ironically, the reason being is because I am completely happy with my 3DS .



DreamOn said:

@Peach64 That's a scary thought especially considering some those GameCube title rank among my all time favorite. As much as I'm looking forward to Wind Waker Returns I'm hoping it's no bad portent for the poor console, yikes!



Rapadash6 said:

I sense a price drop and ambassador program announcement around the corner. Nintendo messed up, and these sales prove it. The "lack of compelling software" argument doesn't fly because this isn't the first time a console has had a post launch drought. Sales of hardware do often slow in these periods, yes, but never to the levels we are seeing with Wii U. Nintendo will have to take drastic measures to insure the longevity of the system, because they've invested too much into it already to simply start over, which would be a foolish move anyway considering the current economic climate. Nintendo needs to accept that they've mismanaged the launch of this console, cut the price, and eat the losses involved in doing so. It's the only way they can save face and continue generating revenue from software sales, which should be their focus from here on out.



KAHN said:

Too. Many. Variables.
The U has only been three months, so we can't start complaining about sales! Vita's been out in JP longer than the U anyway, so it isn't fair to compare sales! There is very little reason to panic.



ktribal said:

Nintendo is doomed! Every pro-Nintendo argument is not factual and is therefore false.

Loljk. I'm waiting to buy a WiiU myself, currently I don't see myself playing any games that are out for it RN.

I wonder what a WiiU Animal Crossing might do to push hardware sales, tbh.



hamispink said:

I'm curious to see what kind of sales jump the vita will get with both the price drop and the Japanese titles coming out over the next month and a half. I'm sure it will do quite well for awhile (maybe even 3DS numbers. . .) but I doubt will keep up.



hamispink said:

@0LD_SK0OL_PUNK I don't think the length of time that they have been out changes the weekly sales. As far as I can tell, they are both currently overpriced with too few appealing games, and that is why they aren't selling well. As my post above states, the vita is trying to fix these issues next month, and the Wii U will pick up sales once Nintendo Supports it better.



Pichuka97 said:

It's probably like that because of the Vita price drop, it's selling more. Though it could be that Nintendo is focusing to much on the 3DS right now.



AVahne said:

Vita's finally getting more interesting games for certain audiences and Wii U still needs better and more interesting games to sell.



WhiteTrashGuy said:

The only mature titles I remember Nintendo talking about were BLACK OPS 2, ZOMBIU, AC 3, MASS EFFECT 3, DARKSIDERS 2, ARKHAM CITY, TEKKEN, and ALIENS: CM. And to my knowledge they are all there or on the way.



Void said:

@Rapadash6 There actually have been times the PS3 sold less than that, and the Xbox 360 hasn't sold that many units in Japan for a long time, the PS3 is doing just fine and I don't remember the anyone thinking the Xbox 360 was in a pickle either.



Neram said:

Ooow.. ouch. That's pretty bad it's struggling between PSP and PSVita. If things are doing that bad in Japan, correct me if I'm wrong, but that is not a good sign.



stealth said:

who cares?

Systems in there first 3 months are always dead last place. 3DS was last place in japan.

See how it is in a year



DaveC said:


The Xbox 360 is discontinued in Japan from what I heard. Microsoft basically gave up and pulled out. The Japanese are very racist when it comes to foreign products. They simply won't buy them if there is a Japanese alternative.



Senate_Guard said:

Kid in Japan make enough moolah to buy their own systems then? What's their minimum wage from child labor?



pntjr said:

Well this is embarrassing.... I guess I can't make Vita jokes anymore...




Omarsonic9 said:

That's because Japanese people don't have time to play home consoles.
They buy handhelds to play them on the go.
Japanese (Asian) people are known as smart. But they aren't born smart.
They eat books, so they want to play while they're studying. Or something like that..



banacheck said:

A handheld that is not doing that well itself is outselling a console Wii U, wow i might just sell my Wii U before it drops in price.



gundam00 said:

I'm excited to see Magi sold so well in it's first week. I really enjoy the anime series and I'm hoping the game will be localized with subtitles or at least put in the eShop.



SuperTre320 said:

Nintendo needs to make Wii u Portable and add the console if needed than it will make a fortune

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