News Article

Wii U Finally Hits One Million Sales in Japan

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

It's a marathon, not a sprint

The Wii U has had a tough opening eight months on the market, which doesn't rule out the system's prospects but, nevertheless, has been a source of disappointment for Nintendo as it's missed various sales targets. While it may not be moving the number of units that the company would hope, it's nevertheless reached a landmark in Japan, with one million systems sold since launch.

That's according to a tally of the latest Media Create figures, while the next Famitsu figures are likely to show the same result. Apparently the landmark has taken 33 weeks to hit, which is substantially longer than Wii (six weeks) and 3DS (13 weeks) but less that the PlayStation 3, with Sony's system's early days held back by a limited library and a restrictively high retail price that struggled worldwide. As the PS3 example does show, as well as that of the 3DS, early struggles don't doom a system to failure, even if they're undesirable.

According to data produced by the NeoGaf community, the Wii U's sales (hardware and software) are tracking ahead of the PS3 and Vita launch equivalents, albeit well behind the 3DS and the runaway success of the Wii.

Not necessarily one to prompt raucous celebrations in Nintendo HQ, but a landmark nevertheless ahead of a vitally important 12 months for the system.


From the web

User Comments (62)



stefenjc said:

Well this is a good news for Wii U for at least making 1 Million at one country. Most likely Wii U sales will boost up more with this upcoming holiday line-up.



tudsworth said:

@Assassinated I think it did, but it took them a ridiculously long time. The only source I can find says that they hit 1.5 million sales in June 2011. I can't find the month where the 360's Japanese sales hit 1 million, but I highly doubt it was within the first year of the system's release.



dumedum said:

Unbelievable that this is better than PS3 yet everyone talked of doom and gloom while everyone also knew that most of the big games will take a year this time.



Big_L91 said:

i know, wtf? why all the doomed talk when its not even the slightest bit bad if its done better than the ps3 at launch.



Hunter-D said:

Well congratulations, Nintendo. Onwards and upwards from here.

A long and hard journey is in front of us, but as long as we have the games then your message will spread!



Samurai_Goroh said:

@Big_L91 Because the "Internets" don't like Nintendo. I'm also under the impression that the Xbox 360 first year of sales was mightily under-performing as well. Can anyone confirm if the Wii U has sold more than it in the same timespan?



Yoshis_VGM said:

"As the PS3 example does show, as well as that of the 3DS, early struggles don't doom a system to failure, even if they're undesirable."

People need to get that message through to their heads. Well said, Nintendo Life, well said. I honestly couldn't agree more with that statement.



Reverandjames said:

Nintendo need to buy rare back. That will sell them systems.Microsoft are hoarding Rare and making them churn out casual games when they could be making a sequel to conker's bad fur dayor Diddy kong racing. They're not even involved with Killer Instinct.



DePapier said:

"As the PS3 example does show, as well as that of the 3DS, early struggles don't doom a system to failure, even if they're undesirable."



banacheck said:

"As the PS3 example does show, as well as that of the 3DS, early struggles don't doom a system to failure, even if they're undesirable."

The PS3 was 20 GB model US$499 (€499), 60 GB model US$599 (€599), a high price tag also with no games back in Nov 2006. Could be the same problem as the Wii U if people see the Wii U price tag high also $349, especially towards the PS4 $399. But saying that here in the UK the Wii U is 8GB HDD £149.00, 32GB £289.99 Sainsbury's so it cannot be a price problem in the UK. But yes its hard to say, Xmas will be a telling time and especially 2014 with Super Smash Bros etc out.



GiftedGimp said:

@banacheck March 2014 onwards will be telling time. Xbone/Ps4 will have inreased system sales till January (all systems have the launch frenzy).
March onwards things should of settled into the status quo, barring any system selling releases that crop up for all 3 system which will cause system sales spikes from time to time.



Shworange said:

"It's a marathon not a sprint"

Yea, but so far the marathon has been run by a one legged, obese runner. Hopefully we can strap a running blade to that guy and get him some slim fast post haste.



GiftedGimp said:

@Samurai_Goroh In Japan the 360 has always had very poor sales. Worldwide the overall sales figures for the same time after launch puts WiiU nestled inbetween 360 and Ps3, with the 360 selling the most.
Nintendoomers often don't think about the launches of past systems, but it was so long ago if they were now 20yrs old they would of been 12 back then, probably getting thier chosen system as a Xmas/Birthday present.



Reverandjames said:

@DePapier I wonder what happened to the 2 brothers (their name escapes me) that left around 2007? Anyway, it's good that veteran game designers have interest in Nintendo still, lets just hope that they're willing to take a gamble with the struggling console.



MajorBritten said:

The biggest problem Nintendo face is the lack of games. Japanese devs have pretty much given up completely on the system and even the strongest supporting western devs are dropping out as well. With the PS3 that was never a problem, no matter how badly the system was selling, third parties still blindly put all of their big games on there.

What Nintendo needs to do is either buy up some developers or carry on arranging partnerships similar to Platinum Games as its pretty clear at this point that third parties have no interest in supporting Wii U, no matter if Nintendo do manage to turn things around.



rjejr said:

I think it's very possible the Xbox One will never sell 1 million consoles in Japan. (I don't know why MS even bothers releasing it there, if they even are, I don't follow them all that much.)

Oh, and the doom and gloom on the interwebs covers how the WiiU is selling in the rest of the world as well, not just Japan. On a per capita basis I'm sure the WiiU is selling better in Japan than any other country in the world. Same goes for 3DS. Between MH, Pokemon and Animal Crossing it must be weird to be in Japan and NOT own a 3DS.



Peach64 said:

The reason the Wii U got the doom and gloom is the weekly sales. Wii U had a great launch weekend, but since that its been selling pitiful amounts each week. The PS3 never had weekly sales anywhere near as low as the Wii U had. The Wii U sold 300k in Japan in it's first two days, so while its overall sales didn't look terrible, it's weekly sales were in virtual boy and sega Saturn territory.

It's not bias or fanboyism. The Wii U genuinely has been in a VERY bad place.



triforcepower73 said:

@Samurai_Goroh The wii u has sold more than the ps3 and 360 in the same timespan. And don't forget the market back in 2005/2006 when those consoles released was much different. The world economy was much better; more people had money that they could actually spend on things like game consoles. Also the iPhone crowd of "casuals" didn't even exist yet. But now the wii u is actually doing quite well for a new system in a worse economy with really no blockbuster first party titles out yet. And also it's competing against the giant iPhone crowd, the ps3, and the 360. I'd say it's doing very well for the current situation.



CrazyOtto said:

The PS4 will probably also pass the 360's lifetime sales in it's first year in Japan.



Peek-a-boo said:

@Peach64 As true as your words are, most folks who shall read them will immediately put there fingers into their ears, shouting 'LA LA LA LA LA I-AM-NOT-LISTENING-TO-YOU!'.



Ren said:

the video game market in 2005-2006 was a fraction of what it is now, the comparison is ridiculous. The start of that generation (and ironically the Wii) is what started much of the larger game crowd, as well as the iphone/ipad. what was a big launch then is a blip by todays standards. At this point the market is getting saturated to take advantage of the massive market that is currently bigger money than film (in the US), but someone is going to fall off. Looks like It's going to be the Ouya and maybe WiiU.



GamerJunkie said:

@Assassinated IDK but I know the 360 sold 78 million units worldwide which beats every console nintendo has ever made except the wii 99 million.

Japanese buy pillows as girlfriends and about 25% of men age 30-34 are virgins, so I could care less what they like, means nothing to people on my side of the world.

PS3 struggled some to start out because within the same year, Xbox 360 and Wii came out and PS3 was most expensive(it was a very high price for those days).

Wii-U is out this year alone and at a cheap price, a full year alone and can't beat the past generation in sales. Not even close to a comparison of the PS3 situation.



triforcepower73 said:

@Ren The Ouya is kind of irrelevant when talking about game consoles, anyway. I think it's more likely to be the xbox one that will fall off judging from all the people who aren't getting it. But then again, what people say before a console releases is almost never a good indicator of how a console will do in the long run.

At this point it's really hard, almost pointless to predict how the console war will go. After all, in the past consoles that were supposed to beat the living daylights out of the competition bombed and the console that was supposed to bomb beat the living daylights out of the competition.

Remember how much hype was behind the vita and everybody thought the 3DS was dead before it launched. Look how that turned out. The setup between the Wii U and PS4 is almost identical to the setup between the 3DS and Vita. 3DS released about a year before Vita(so did Wii U). 3DS "had no games"(so does Wii u). Everybody thought that 3DS would bomb and Vita would win(same scenario with the Wii U and PS4). The only difference is that it seems like Sony actually cares about releasing games for it, unlike Vita.



XFsWorld said:

Nice, now the Wii U sold over 1 million in Japan, UK, and North America:)......i think



Monkeyofthefunk said:

Sounds like good news but the console only sold 7,500 ish console last week, about a 3rd of the PS3's sales in Japan. We are yet to see what impact the PS4 launch will have on sales.



Monkeyofthefunk said:

I really want the Wii U to succeed but with the PS4 and Xbone launches coming up, it's going to struggle. Mario 3D won't be enough to save it and if people plough their hard earned cash into the M$ or Sony consoles and all of their launch games, they won't have the money for a Wii U and SSB or MK.
If the Wii U has bad holiday sales, I can't see it recovering because people just don't buy consoles in spring.



Owlynator said:

Nice, this is actually a really good accomplishment! Hopefully the Wii U will continue to sell here in the West too.



Peek-a-boo said:

@X-Factor Only 600,000-ish has been sold in the whole of EUROPE so, I very much doubt the UK market is anywhere near one million.

... that is about 80,000 units per month in Europe.

Very poor!



AVahne said:

Doing better than Vita did at this point in time, huh? In the portable nation of Japan as well.



mercurio2054 said:

copy paste
@Samurai_Goroh The wii u has sold more than the ps3 and 360 in the same timespan. And don't forget the market back in 2005/2006 when those consoles released was much different. The world economy was much better; more people had money that they could actually spend on things like game consoles. Also the iPhone crowd of "casuals" didn't even exist yet. But now the wii u is actually doing quite well for a new system in a worse economy with really no blockbuster first party titles out yet. And also it's competing against the giant iPhone crowd, the ps3, and the 360. I'd say it's doing very well for the current situation.



yuwarite said:

I really hope Yakuza 1 and 2 HD does well over there. Maybe it'll prompt Sega to make the series a Wii U exclusive.



Meaty-cheeky said:

I remember back in 2005 when the Nintendo DS launched, Nintendo planned the DS to be the third pillar, a system the would sell along side with the GameBoy Advance and Nintendo GameCube. Nintendo also had a backup plan if the DS was a failure.

My point is, does Nintendo have a backup plan if Wii U fails? Also if Nintendo did scrap the Wii U, it would be best for them to do it sooner than later, so they only piss off a smaller base of Wii U owners than a larger base of Wii U owners.

I have a Wii U and I wouldn't mind if Nintendo dropped total support in the system, and just start over with a new and better system than the Wii U.
(I adore Nintendo but they have made so many mistakes with the Wii U its unbelievable)



Goginho said:

I think now is the time to put the well-earned, Wii-days money into good use, and start taking risks and making games that have that 'all or nothing' value to them. The upcoming games all seem too safe for my liking, not that I'm complaining though, I can't wait to get my hands on 3D World and Tropical Freeze, but eventually I would like more experimenting with the system's capabilties.



Goginho said:

@Meaty-cheeky Eh? What mistakes?? I would like to know, since I don't have a Wii U yet, and I'm saving up and waiting for the Zeldas and the Marios. I know of the horrid load times between the menus and some minor interface errors that people have complained about and shown on the net, but I thought they were gradually working toward fixing and patching all these minor inconveniences.



banacheck said:

@Meaty-cheeky I spent a good $350 on mine. Maybe you would be fine them dropping support but I and many others would not be!

I think how i feel if i would of waited an extra few months, i would have paid a lot less, which to be fair isn't Nintendo fault.



Relias said:

The Load times are not that bad anymore... no more than the 3DS honestly... actually the only complaint that I would have is the memory they give you.. but honestly to make up for that.. they made it to where you can hook up almost anything and it would work with the system... so I can't complain.. maybe the library of games could be better... but I don't hold that against Nintendo either.. because just like the PS3 before it.. the PS4 and the XBOX ONE are both going to get games.. rather they struggle or not... only Nintendo gets truly dropped.. for instance.. even if PS4 and One.. suffer a drop in sales after launch.. EA will still make Maddens Football and just about everything else for them.. and that makes a huge difference.. You will never be able to take the sales globally and compare them and say it's fair if not for that one fact... that being said.. well done Nintendo... you need to do better... but this is a huge achievement..



Meaty-cheeky said:

@banacheck @Goginho

Nintendo had a complete marketing failure in advertising the Wii U, here are my many examples why.

1. The Wii U name is terrible, Nintendo gambled that the Wii name would still appeal to casuals, but it didn't. The Wii was an ok system but the only reason it sold well was because everyone was interested in motion controls.

2. Wii U TV advertisements here in United States are awful (people dancing in colored blocks lol)

3. The Wii U design looks too similar to the Wii, any non-gamer or casual gamer would easily not see the difference between the two systems, or think that the Wii U game pad is just an add on to the Wii. One more thing, The Wii U should be Blue or Silver in color. I can't believe they would sell the Wii U the same White/black colors of the original Wii.

Now here are my complaints about the Wii U personally.

1. The incredible lack of support from third party developers

2. Nintendo launched the Wii U too early, there is no real reason to buy one just yet ( I understand Nintendo wanting to have the first next generation system in the market but not without some real solid games to go with the systems release)

3. The Wii virtual console games should have been instantaneously moved over to the Wii U eShop, and with game pad support updates coming as time goes on.

4. Lastly, Nintendo should have added a little more horse power under the hood for Wii U, so it could better compete with the PS4 & Xbox One. With a big gap in processing power between Wii U and PS4/XBone, this will only further hurt third party support for Wii U.

I am excited for Donkey kong Country Tropical Freeze, The Wonderful 101, and Pikmin 3
But that's because I'm a Nintendo gamer for the most part, I just don't think it's going to be enough to really sell the Wii U.



Goginho said:

@Meaty-cheeky Oh okay. Yea, I kinda see where you're going there, I agree with most of the points made ..the name is kind of confusing to 'non-gamers' I can imagine (ppl like you and me had no problems in knowing it was a new system I assume), it's just an extra letter added to the name lol. The ads at the beginning were pretty poor, but I think they're slowly picking up and the creativity is timidly emerging (at least for the 3DS ads I think). As for the design, again, pretty nonpractical for those 'casual' gamers (or w/e the label is nowadays) who would probably assume it would be the Wii.

Third party support has been pretty weak, but I don't really think that's Nintendo's wrongdoing. I think they tried (maybe not hard enough) to get companies interested, but the 3rd party companies kind of gave them the cold shoulder to begin with. I agree that the Wii U was launched a bit too early, I mean, I get that they wanna be the pacemaker and innovator, since the other systems are gonna come out later with some of the same ideas and concepts, therefore making them not so unique and inventive as Nintendo (cough motion control cough tablet), but I feel they should have first secured a healthy amount of launch titles, done some more testing and what not before releasing it, since every once in a while I read about long and annoying updates. Wouldn't it be stellar to have a system launch, with all the games available that are going to be available by the end of 2013 ..just imagine, NSMBU with optional Luigi U DLC, Pikmin, Zombie U, Rayman, NintendoLand, WarioWare, 101, 3D World, WW HD, Tropical Freeze...etc. + the VC games already available to us now aw man, there would be so much to choose from, not to mention the games that would be around the corner then ..MK8 and possibly (hopefully) Yarn Yoshi

The lack of horsepower doesn't really bother me, I mean, it sounds like it's sufficient I dunno, I guess I can always hook up an ext hard drive when needed. But that, hurting the 3rd party support, I can see. I guess they wanted to keep the cost as low as possible, which is plausible in my book.



Samurai_Goroh said:

@Meaty-cheeky No, Nintendo should not abandon the Wii U for another console, or would be their undoing. Regardless of how it performs, they must stoically hold the fort like they did with GameCube. Worst case scenario, have the Wii U successor released in 2017 and no earlier. Knowing that Nintendo never gives up, gives people more confidence in the brand, it strengthens it. I can go buy a Wii U tomorrow, knowing whatever may come, Nintendo will deliver the goods to me, even if no one else does. When SEGA started too early talking about how the Saturn was not their future and no so subtly hinting at Dreamcast (back in 1997) they dug themselves a grave. Who would buy a Saturn knowing even them didn't believe in the platform?
Plus, the Wii U is a fantastic console, there's absolutely nothing in it needing replacement. The horsepower packed inside is capable of much more people give it credit for and it can compete with Xbox One/ PS4. It's fairly balanced and easy to develop for, of course we won't get the best graphics this generation, but if 3rd parties want, we can get the games. The gamepad is fantastic, it has so much untapped potential, it just need some good ideas. And Miiverse is the cherry on top of the cake, I just love it.
What is wrong is the lack of games, both 1st and 3rd party, and the marketing efforts so far. Nothing more.



Meaty-cheeky said:

@Goginho Yes I agree with you that it would have been nice if the Wii U would have been released the end of 2013, with game like Pikmin, W101, MK8, Zombie U, Rayman, DK Country Tropical freeze and....etc.

I think I'm just annoyed from the drought and slow releases of games that the Wii U has been going through since launch.



th3r3ds0x said:

I don't know the numbers but I've read many times that the xbox is a total flop in Japan. It's so bad that they don't even plan to launch the Xbox One there until an unspecified later date.



unrandomsam said:

@Samurai_Goroh The Saturn has loads of Jap only games that are better than anything that came before or after when it comes to 2D, only problem is they are all in Japanese and that they tried to do 3D with it at all. (And dev's are lazy so it wasn't used to its full potential at all). The Saturn version of Dungeon's and Dragons is loads better than the new one.

I think they should make a new one based on IBM's top of the line mainframe chip. (maybe with 4 cores instead of 6 so they can get the ones that IBM cannot use). It runs at 5.5ghz / 6 cores / 4 threads per core 384MB on chip cache. Use 64GB cartridges. (That can have custom chips in them if necessary).



unrandomsam said:

@mercurio2054 You missed out that Microsoft lost 6 billion and Sony 3 billion. I think USD. Neither made a profit at all during that period on doing the games console business.

Dunno how any sane metric could call what either of those two did a success. Sony managed to steamroller in Bluray that is what it wanted. Microsoft wants to enter other markets and has 100 biilion cash so it can do loads of stuff incredibly badly before it has any real consequences.

(Microsoft is expecting Xbox as a whole to be profitable by 2020 / Sony cannot afford another failure because the rest of the company is falling apart so it is going against its nature to rip off the customer quite so much).



MrCharles77 said:

I was hopping when I bought the WiiU for better 3rd party support, did not happen. I'll problably buy a PS4 (late 2014)for 3rd party titles that are not available on WiiU, and even if they are available they will be better in PS4 due to the console tech. But I am sure that the WiiU is a good investement it's the only console that has nintendo titles



Gamer83 said:

Even with the lack of software I'm surprised it took this long to get to 1 mil in Japan considering how well Nintendo does there. Good sign none the less.



Reverandjames said:

Lazy, half assed, churned out versions of games that already exist on other consoles has always been something that I've never been interested in on Nintendo consoles ever. It's the first party support and the exclusives that have my attention. What Platinum are doing is pretty great, and if the sales are strong enough, it will hopefully encourage developers to make exclusive original games for Wii U



Samurai_Goroh said:

@unrandomsam Yes, I know Saturn has some awesome Japan-only games. And Saturn was built with making the perfect 2D arcade ports in mind, so it was horribly complicated to develop in 3D for it. That was one mistake of SEGA. The other is that SEGA of America and SEGA Japan were acting like two different competing companies. About the same time the Saturn released in Japan, SEGA America release the 32X for Mega Drive, which got only a handful of bad games and disappeared in a mater of months. So SEGA made several times the mistake of releasing hardware, only to drop it out of the market without proper support. Nintendo so far only dropped Virtual Boy, and let's face that was the only sane decision to make regarding VB.
But the Wii U is not flawed like Virtual Boy, with more games it is a good console.
I think the next Nintendo console should have IBM POWER 8 technology. IBM is releasing this whole new generation of PowerPC chips in 2014 and it seems to be cutting-edge stuff, but it will be prohibitively expensive at the beginning. So the Wii U should make it's due course of five to six years, and by 2017 or 2018 we should have Nintendo Next with POWER 8 at a reasonable price.
And I still believe the Wii U can start picking up this holiday season, and end up selling between 40 to 60 million consoles by 2018.



Mahe said:

@dumedum The PS3's first year was HORRIBLE. Compare that to the original Wii, which had a steady flow of great games and sold one million in just 6 weeks, and you'll see that Wii U's start has been just slightly less horrible than PS3's.



LuigiTheGreenFire said:

Well, some good news. The Wii U will take off in 2014 because of Super Smash Bros. 4 and Mario Kart 8.

Many people might buy it this holiday season to prepare for those games and enjoy some of the games already available by the end of 2013 (Nintendo Land, Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3, Donkey Kong Country : Tropical Freeze).



unrandomsam said:

I will want to play Tropical Freeze eventually that is the only Wii U game I have any interest in so far. I want new characters and stories primarily. Or ones that haven't been done to death. Rodea the Sky Soldier looks better to me than 3d world. (3D Land having such awful control put me off anything that looks like it).

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