News Article

U.S. February Sales Figures Make Grim Reading for Wii U and Wider Industry

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

A marginal increase on January's poor results

NPD has released its figures for February video game sales in the U.S., and they're not results to give cheer to Nintendo, or even retailers and those invested in the overall traditional gaming market. Taken as an overall sales figure, hardware, software and accessories across the board dropped 25% in comparison to the equivalent period in 2012.

In terms of Wii U, meanwhile, Gamasutra reports that it did show some improvement over the January result — which incorporated five weeks — with an estimated sales total of 64,000. While that does represent a 40% increase per week over January, a healthy bump, analysis of the sales on a week-by-week basis does still suggest that these February results are worse than any recorded month for PS3 or Xbox 360 in their entire lifespans. However the statistics are sliced, Wii U is struggling to sell despite being a brand new system on the market, while the Xbox 360 reportedly shifted 302,000 units last month.

On the one hand the grim figures aren't that big a surprise, as a lack of high-profile titles in the first two months of the year will have impacted its ability to attract new consumers. Nintendo's stance, and one emphasized regularly, is that a number of upcoming exclusives and some notable multi-platform releases will substantially increase sales; next week brings LEGO City Undercover, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and Need for Speed: Most Wanted U, for example.

Nintendo will be hoping that similar results for February 2014 — after a number of major titles, bundles and initiatives have undoubtedly been released — will show these results to be a temporary, albeit grueling, early blip for the console.


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User Comments (53)



McHaggis said:

No surprises there. I'm not bothered, though, I still have to find time to complete Arkham Asylum, then I'm getting Lego City Undercover. Those should keep me going until some more good games appear.



neumaus said:

Release a Pokemon or Disney game and watch the units fly! Kids are the best way to sell consoles and games.



Whopper744 said:

I haven't seen a Wii U game I've really wanted since Mario came out in November. This is crazy. Lego City looks good but I'd rather get Luigi's Mansion for the 3DS I think. I like my first party Nintendo.



Gameday said:

When MH3U comes this will change some of that. Til then mario u will hold me over. Still looking for The Wonderful 101 , reminds me of Viewtiful Joe so much gotta love it.



BenAV said:

We'll see what happens when the games start kicking in.
There hasn't really been anything significant released since launch so it's no surprise that sales have been poor.
It all starts with Monster Hunter.



jgary1 said:

The state of the economy in the U.S. is a HUGE reason for the lower sales in the video game industry over the past few years, IMO. Most people simply do not have the disposable income they had a few years back.



rickastillo said:

What do u expect, there were no games, let's see after lego city U and MH3U sales get better.

@Gameday indeed, im looking forward for that game



nomeacuerdo said:

Soon we'll be seeing the news of "This Tuesday's sales weren't as good as Monday's". Please, start the analysis when the launch window comes.

Also, we'll have to wait and see how the PS4 performs on months following launch.



SpaceApe said:

Nothing really good at launch to play. Nintendo needs to come up big at E3 this year, really big.



OorWullie said:

I'm sure Nintendo must have secretly anticipated these low sales.They've been in the industry too long to know that their launch window titles wouldn't cut it,even if Rayman had been released as planned.I'm guessing that they weren't really ready for releasing it until the spring,which isn't an ideal time and knew it would be crazy to launch it around the same time as the others so got it out early in the hope of getting enough loyal fans to buy and some of the Xmas market.They kind of said as much themselves previously in that they will be pushing it much more aggressively into the year.As long as Mario Kart and 3D Mario look as awesome as I hope they will then its inevitable that sales will increase ten fold regardless of what the competition do.



MAB said:

I haven't really noticed any struggle because I use my WiiU everyday trying to get through my big heap of games I already have now and also watching movies streaming from either computer or youtube at the same time as surfing the net on the gamepad...The Monster Hunt starts next week so that will take a massive chunk of gaming time away from anything else that gets released anyway. The WiiU at my joint gets excessive abuse and cops a hiding on the daily tip.



SetupDisk said:

I still have games I have to play on Wii U thanks to FE. But soon....... MONSTER HUNTER!



antonvaltaz said:

@OorWullie I think you're right - the advertising has been pretty subdued from Nintendo, as if they know it's not really worth pushing it yet until some more big-hitting games arrive. I'm guessing we'll see a big marketing push, as well as price cuts, later in the year ready to take on Sony and Microsoft.



jpfan1989 said:

Put out a major Pokemon title for Wii U and it will sell.
Zelda will sell the WU too, those two are console sellers for me.



HaNks said:

the broader US (and UK) economy is not going anywhere in the next few years and probably the next decade. nintendo will be wise to focus on the wealthier european nations and other emerging markets.



Ryo_Hazuki-san said:

just relax world lol wait until monster hunter and mario kart u and smash bros U everything will be back to nintendo dominance



JSuede said:

40% increase in sales during a month where literally nothing changed? I'll take it.

It could have easily been a 40% decrease, especially after the Rayman screw up. Instead, sales increased in a month where not a single game was released.

What I don't all of the sensationalist headlines. Why not say "Wii U sales increase 40% over January" or "Despite no new releases, Wii U sees 40% increase in sales." ? A 40% dip in sales would make for a "grim reading" for the Wii U.

The headline could have also easily featured the 25% dip in overall sales YoY....



mostro328 said:

Nintendo really needs a new marketing campaign I remember with the wii they did a mall tour, they need to do that agin, it will peak interest, it cn tell people this is a new system HD, look how much fun it is with two screens, they need better martketing, overall if they can go back and chnge the name would have been better Nintendo Wii 2 (WII) with roman numeral I's lol, it would have come across easier, they need to drop the 8GB model



PapaJupe13 said:

Another way to look at 40%....roughly the amount of consoles sold in January and February compared to what the 360 sold in just February.
I love Nintendo. I love my 3DS and think it is one of the most amazing game machines I have ever owned (41 years old...owned almost every system since the 80's...skipped the Wii and the WiiU, but owned every other Nintendo machine available in America). So I am not trolling here, I am a huge Nintendo fan. When the first big game of the year for you comes out 2 and a half month into the year....and is a Lego game, you are in trouble. I have bought at least one serious contender for GOTY already on my PS3 (Ni No Kuni), my 360 (Tomb Raider) and my 3DS (FE:A).
But no need to fear....this is Nintendo after all. They will bounce back big time. Once some great first party games comes out, sales will skyrocket. I



Svengoolie said:

The only games I can think of that were released in Feb. were Fire Emblem Awakening and DmC. Nobody wanted DmC and it flopped. Conversely, Ninty shot themselves in the foot by not having enough copies of Fire Emblem available. I just don't know how anyone would expect it to be a big month when there's nothing out there.

March is a huge month for game releases this year though, and we'll see a large spike across all platforms.



aronatvw said:

am i the only person who feels that sony and microsoft has not jumped on the next gen bandwagon yet that the general public are not informed or excited yet. The fact that nintendo released their system so much earlier than competitors makes me feel like they were thinking " well we have this system ready for release but the competition wont release for another year, love it lets just do it, it's just extra money before real competition comes!". Idk thats the vibe I always get.
Watch the profanity — TBD



FineLerv said:

@MadAussieBloke I feel the same way, matey. I play my Wii U constantly.

Personally, I couldn't care less if the console fails miserably. That's Nintendo's problem, not mine. I'll just keep enjoying the games. By the end of the console's life I have no doubt that I'll have a massive library of Wii U games - unlike my X Box 360, which I only own a handful of games, I own dozens of Wii games.



PhoenixUltra said:

Wii u will be just fine, it's a new console, give it a few e3 is almost here. I'm happy with the launch games, i play wii u every day and the games are great.



neumaus said:

@FineLerv You do know that if the console "fails miserably" there won't BE any new games or a massive library for it. That would be a waste of an investment, no?



GiftedGimp said:

WiiU 40% increase posted as a Negative Headline
yet Many sites posting Vita 30% increase in sales during Feb as a positive..
Double Standards, WiiU sles could of increased by 140% and still would of been posted in a negative light.

I'm not bothered, I'm confident Nintendo and WiiU owners will have the last laugh when sales of nextbox and Ps4 don't reach their respective expected levels as people see you can get a higher spec gaming pc for not that much more money, the exclusive games are few and most games are just another yearly un-original update, with Buit in micro-transactions, sapping even more money from your wallet.

All the reasons that after spending more than a decade mainly playing non-nintendo systems, I'm staying with only WiiU this time round.



Smug43 said:

If I'm MS or Sony the only thing I would be happy about is the very late adopters will eventually become ps4/xbox next.. but not until 8 years later? I'm not sure this is good.. I will be flabbergasted if ps4/xbox next sales will be anything better than what Wii U is facing now.. these are shaky grounds for console manufacturers. It appears most people are going for VALUE. $70 games are NOT going to sell. AAA market is going to burst!



AtomicToaster said:

I get we're gonna have a draught for awhile! So throw us some VC titles, some gamecube titles in HD, and some great Eshop content Nintendo! Get the ball rolling!



edcomics said:

I'm not surprised by the dip. When you look at the WiiU section in any game store, it's... well, almost non-existent. I realize it takes time to build a game library, but the WiiU seems very light, very early on. We're at the tail end of the fourth month since the launch, and there's just not much to play. It's good that some new games are about to be released, but it bothers me that Monster Hunter 3 is essentially an upgraded Wii game... and that the first big Zelda game we're getting is an upgrade Gamecube game... and that Pikmin and Rayman have been pushed back...

I just need more games to play on my expensive piece of hardware.



Peach64 said:

40% sales increase headlines would be spin and nothing more. These numbers are awful. People are always say compare it to the PS3 launch, where it was $600 and had NO games. Well the worst month the PS3 EVER had was still twice as good as these numbers.

Eurogamer have a nice graphic showing the worst month of every console since the PS2. The only ones that come close to these are The Gamecube, a month before the Wii launched, and the Wii, a month before the Wii U launched. Both those consoles had gone a couple of years without any big games being released when they hit the lows that the Wii U is currently going through.

I really can't see Monster Hunter, Lego City or even Pikmin 3 turning it around in any big way either. When Mario Kart and the big guns come, then sure, things are going to improve, but people shouldn't dismiss these figures as meaningless. The Xbox, the 360, the PS2 and PS3 all did double in the worst ever months than what the Wii U has just sold. If you dismiss the very end of their lifecycle, then the Cube and Wii never came close to sales this low either.

There is no quick fix. The Wii U needs great games, and you can't snap your fingers and have them ready for sale, but I still don't understand why they're not here. It's well known that a lot of the dev team for Galaxy 2 was less experienced guys, as the engine was done and it was mostly just level creation at that point. So what about the experienced guys from the original team? What have they been doing all this time? It's been nearly two and half years since Donkey Kong Country Returns, and over five and a half since Metroid Prime 3, but Retro don't have anything that's ready to be shown yet? Nintendo hardly brought anything out for the Wii in the last few years, they really should have more to show us beside another 2D Mario, a mini game collection and Pikmin 3.

Look at Mario Galaxy, they showed that at E3 2006, so even though it took a year after the Wii's launch, it was still there to get people excited. Metroid Prime 3 had been shown off at E3 2005. If Nintendo don't feel that the next Mario and the next Retro game are ready to be shown until this E3, then should we expect them to actually come out this year? I'm not so sure. It feels like we could be waiting a long, long time for the big games.



Geonjaha said:

Why would they be? There have been no good Wii U releases since launch. At least until now. Sales will get better when the good games start to come out.



terdese said:

Can't sell a console without games... Look at the 3DS... Until Mario Kart and 3D land it was a tough sell to most. Nintendo should have learned from the 3DS launch that a console is not ready for release until its working properly(cough day 1 update cough) and it has games that appeal as must haves... Not the already haves that were released. A year head start Should have been great for Nintendo but there is little enticement to get a WiiU right now. If it continues to sell this bad, sales of the PS4 and NextBox will be very close in numbers and 3rd parties will have all but ditched Nintendo to go for higher volume consoles and it makes sense. Nintendo pretty much has 6-7 months to release games that will sell their console before interested buyers jump ship for a graphically superior system. The gamepad is awesome so I really hope Nintendo has some tricks up their sleeve to release before November.



ThomasBW84 said:

In terms of the headline, just to give my perspective. I didn't want to spin what are still poor sales, and I highlighted that there were poor figures for the broader industry. I still personally have long term confidence for Wii U, but to refer to the increase on such bad figures would be cynical; it's described in the article in proper context.

Bad news, it obviously is, but the game 'aint up by a long way!



moomoo said:

@jgary1 That argument doesn't make sense to me. The gaming industry was able to remain largely unaffected by the economic crash, as it was actually able to grow despite the crash in 2008.

This is simply the results of a generation transition. You see it every single time.



NESguy94 said:

They know how to sell consoles but they don't seem to use what they know. Release a GOOD Mario, Zelda, Metroid, or Smash bros game. Look at almost any Nintendo console and you'll see those are the game that boosted sales. A limited edtion console helps to. They might want to hunk about 10-15% price drop as well.



Aviator said:

lol people thinking that Monster Hunter will bring in lots of sales.

It won't.



Tender_Cutlet said:

Serves Nintendo right for rushing the system out before Christmas in order to monopolise the new market and help itself to some easy money from it's core support- this is now the cost. They could easily have waited until this summer and still released their new console way ahead of the competition as planned. And with a complete list of ready features [Wii U Virtual Console, Wii TV] and a selection of quality titles the would have blown the critics away / competition out of the water.

I worry that if this bad press persists, it will do significant damage to Wii U's mid to long term future with those developers and consumers currently sitting on the fence, being swayed to bypass the system and concentrate on the the PS4/Xbox720 instead. I don't think Monster Hunter and Pikmin 3 [of the highest profile Q2 releases] and a few remakes [Windwaker, Resi Revelations] can be expected to carry the can alone until much later in 2013. Going the best part of a year without building a modest library of decent titles [and of several exclusives] is not acceptable from Nintendo IMO.



MAB said:

It's hilarious reading posts from armchair critic/market gurus that think they know how to run business better than a 100 year old company that is still far from leaving the game.



grimbldoo said:

The Wii U just needs games. Hopefully they can release something exclusive and amazing soon.



FluttershyGuy said:

Economy/jobs are in a permanent state of suckage. Not much Nintendo can do about that, except possibly lower the price of Wii U (or give more incentive to purchase the Regular SKU... it's not worth it as is, may as well pay the extra for Deluxe).



XCWarrior said:

I'm kind of hoping gamers are revolting against all the DLC nonsense and extra micro transactions that are occurring. Hopefully the game industry puts an end to them before they kill themselves.



Rafie said:

@Peach64 I love reading your posts, Peach64. The are mostly informative and seen from an unbiased junction. I agree with pretty much everything you just stated. Facts are facts! I'm still a Nintendo supporter and do know that once Smash Bros. U, Mario Kart U, Zelda U, Metroid U, etc drops....Nintendo will see some positive numbers.



ajcismo said:

A working VC with added GCN, Dreamcast and Saturn content would boost sales.
Well, it would make me happy at least.



MAB said:

I thought everyone was sick to death of Mario, Zelda & Metroid so I don't see those games generating much interest... The last few Mario Karts were pretty weak compared to its roots and the same can be said for Metroid & Zelda



QuickSilver88 said:

Funny how only Nintendo gets this kind of bad press.......3DS was viewed as a total disaster....absolute failure but then price drop came, eShop and VC ramped up, and then a string of really good games....then XL model and suddenly itnisnon fire. Vita has sold miserable in all teritories gets a price drop in japan and a few big jap releases and supposedly it is on fire, yet it is still really strugglin in us and euro. Wii-U will be fine,,,,needs more good games and needs better marketing. It will come and there has also been a lot announced eShop support recently. When Wii-U VC takes off and gives us off screen play then thing will amp up. In general the market is soft because of bad economy. I think Sony and Microsoft are in for a bit of a shock later this year. People will hold on to older systems, people are buying more used games devs will continue to support these older systems thru 2014 because of the huge installed bases vs. small next gen bases. Its a new world in electronics and gaming...the company that can best figure this out will win this next generation!



Mike1 said:

I will get the WiiU eventually, but the only game I want now is New Super Mario Bros. WiiU. I'm going to wait for a price drop and more games I want to come out first.



JayMiller1988 said:

There isn't a single game I want on the system right now, so...

Get good quality Zelda and Metroid games on the system plus a price drop and I will buy it without thinking twice.



NintendoFanBoy8 said:

Are they this thing needs a freaking price drop the wii u 8 gb needs to be 199, and the wii u 32 gb needs to be 249 instead 349.



Metal_Slugger said:

They need to quit pissing around and just open up Virtual console store. NOW. There isn't any retail game I am willing to pay full retail for probably wont' be for ages.



ShadowSniper7 said:

Release a full fledged console Pokemon set in a beautiful 3D world with online co-op...


PS - it really doesn't need a price drop. For what you are getting hardware wise its fairly priced. There just ins't the software to back it up.

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