After some speculation over performance during the Black Friday period, the NPD sales results — which cover the U.S. market — have begun to emerge. Nintendo has issued its press release to give its version of events that paint a particularly positive picture for the 3DS, while Wii U figures are underwhelming — and arguably statistically worrying — in the face of major launch numbers for Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PS4.
To begin with Nintendo's most positive outcomes, the 3DS family of systems sold nearly 770,000 units, taking the lifetime sales of the handheld past ten million and close to 10.5 million systems in the U.S. Pokémon X & Y sold a further 225,000 physical and download copies in its second month, joining significant October sales to take the titles to more than 2.35 million units overall. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds sold 405,000 units — around 280,000 of these sales were eShop downloads and physical copies, while the remaining 125,000 units are attributed to the limited edition Zelda 3DS XL, which has the game included in the bundle. A host of other 3DS titles — such as Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon — saw sales increase, and NPD analyst Liam Callahan cited the 3DS as a major contributor in NPD hardware sales hitting a new high for November.
With the introduction of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, coupled with positive sales for the Nintendo 3DS, sales in November 2013 marked the best November for hardware sales on record.
Supported by strong content throughout the year, including this month's The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Nintendo 3DS hardware unit sales have increased by 15 percent year-to-date through November.
Nintendo has been less specific with sales numbers relating to the Wii U, though did state that Super Mario 3D World sold more than 215,000 copies (download and retail) in its first eight days on sale. In terms of the Wii U, it's stated that hardware sales increased by 340% compared to October. The unfortunate reality is that it's believed, though not supported with official figures, that October sales weren't particularly impressive, with a figure of 220,000 hardware sales for November being bounced around on sources such as NeoGaf. It's another month where the numbers aren't favouring Nintendo's bold end-of-financial-year Wii U sales projection of nine million units. There are clear improvements, but not necessarily on the scale required to meet those targets or silence doubts over the hardware's future fortunes. This was also a month, in terms of software, where the entire top ten is made up of big brand multi-platform games in franchises such as GTA, Call of Duty, Madden and Assassin's Creed, though some of these releases have benefited from four or five SKU's across generations of hardware.
Nintendo, in its press release, provided the following quite from Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, Soctt Moffitt.
This holiday season, Nintendo is offering an unparalleled combination of value and variety. In looking at these results, two things are indisputable: Our hardware is gaining momentum at the exact right time and our software catalog is stronger than ever.
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