News Article

January's NPD Results Show Improved Software Sales for Nintendo, With Hardware Figures Elusive

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Pokémon, Mario and Zelda lead the charge

The NPD results, which reflect physical retails sales in the U.S., have been revealed for January. And by revealed, we mean a rather minimal amount of data from all parties concerned. Some information has emerged, however, and what's not said is as indicative as the figures actually provided.

In terms of hardware, no firm numbers have been provided for either 3DS or Wii U. Browsing NeoGaf for long enough will likely bring up speculative numbers, but neither Nintendo nor NPD have announced anything formal. Microsoft and Sony have also held back from giving firm numbers, though the PS4 did — according to Sony — sell nearly double the numbers of Xbox One. No firm numbers are given by any of the three major players, as they all opt for statistics and hints.

The software top 10 represents the rather typical fare, and Nintendo versions of multi-platform games are the worst selling of home console versions, though still come above Vita and PC versions where applicable. Nintendo, while quiet on hardware numbers, did highlight some ongoing software successes, with overall sales for its games up 16% over January last year. The following numbers were given; all are for U.S. only:

Some relatively pleasing numbers for key software titles, at least, with a number of titles passing one million sales through 2013, too.

The absence of hardware numbers is perhaps no surprise, with major releases still to come on both systems; January sure was quiet on the games front.


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User Comments (52)



Kaze_Memaryu said:

Who would've thought... this could be much worse than it is.
Glad to see Nintendo is holding on. Let's hope that the upcoming releases will boost sales some more - especially for WiiU's sake.



Spoony_Tech said:

Well it's nice to see those games continue to sell well into the new year! Word of mouth and some awards have given these games longevity!



Nintenjoe64 said:

With all the doom and gloom, it's not so bad to see decent software sales but I always get the feeling that EU sales are much worse!



XCWarrior said:

I still need to buy Mario and Link, but my backlog is full at the moment. So unless they go on sale, they can wait a bit longer. But will get both eventually.



Doctor_Pancakes said:

If you look at it this way the Wii U is the only console made for the hard core gamer, casuals that prefer the all in one media hubs and a box that plays fancy first and third person shooters that have yearly updates look elsewhere when they want a gaming experence. Knowing this these sales are expected, the figures look very late 90's/early 00's, these are the core gamers that have always been there and the new generation of gamers that prefer game play over point and shoot death match nonsense.



Lebon14 said:

The rumors say that the WiiU sold ~60k and it's based on a graphic showing on how much it dropped from December. The graphic showed WiiU with a ~87% drop (from ~486k).
Here's the graph:

Source was not mentionned. Also, again ->RUMOR<-. Take that with a grain of salt.



MrGawain said:

I'm amused all three companies are being so vague about sales. Although it's pretty obvious a lot of 'core' gamers are going to buy a PS4, and diehard Xbox fans will buy a One, I think the belief both systems selling 10m in the first year by some fans is vastly deluded. Fanatics will want the consoles no matter how few games there are to play, but the larger gaming community that has gaming as a part time hobby or just likes to dip their toe in with certain titles may be harder to snare. High attachment rates suggest those who have a console are more extreme fans- I myself own 25 games for the Wii U, which makes you wonder to balance this how many people own a Wii U with just one game?

The Wii U's problems may just be a precursor to an industry wide slump.



HandheldGuru97 said:

Seems a bit odd that Microsoft and Sony aren't prancing around the sales of the PS4 and XBone. The only reason is that the sales probably dropped off a ton which shouldn't and isn't surprising. Still this generation is gonna be interesting to watch....



Peach64 said:

NPD never announce numbers to the public, but NeoGAF has enough people with access to those numbers to get the right figures within a few hours of the NPD release. These will all be pretty close:

PS4: 271K
XB1: 141K
3DS: ~97K
PS3: ~53.5K
WIU: 49K
360: ~48.5K

As always, Cube is the barometer by which Wii U is judged. It did 90k in it's second January which means Wii U has been behind it every month so far. Not sure why people continue to talk of Cube numbers as worst case scenario.

Hopefully Mario Kart provides a boost but it looks like Xbone will surpass Wii U in North America next month. People moan about the UK market and how the Wii U has slipped to third already, but it's happening everywhere.



rjejr said:

What reasons are there to buy a Wii U before May 30th? I know DK is out next Fridsy, but it doesn't seem like a system seller by itself, and the diehard Nintendo fans already own a Wii U. W/ the liklihood of an MK8 bundle, a price drop, or both, why would anyone purchase a Wii U in March or April?

I say this as someone who bought a Wii U a couple of weeks before the price drop and Zelda bundle was announced. So its less of a troll than a warning.



mostro328 said:

J think nintendo should announce a mk8 bundle and a super Mario 3d world bundle for spring pre E3



rjejr said:

@Peach64 - Thanks for the numbers, they popped up after I finished my last post. I hate when that happens.



MikeLove said:


"I think the belief both systems selling 10m in the first year by some fans is vastly deluded"

They will be a hell of a lot closer to that number than the Wii-U achieved when people predicted a similar number for it.



Gerbwmu said:

Increases are matter what they are but until we have a steady stream of content.....February 22nd - May 30th is kind of a long time between game releases, we won't see a big increase over last years numbers

However Newegg managed to sell well over 1600 Wii U's and 4800 games in less then 6 hours in February so hopefully the upward trend continues until we can get to May. I think, based on what is kind of announced, we will have a major game release from Nintendo every month through the rest of the year starting with Mario Kart.

Seems as though Nintendo has punted on this fiscal year and is with holding everything other then DKTF until after April. I wonder if we will get another large Direct end of March and a sort of re-launch for the Wii U



Gerbwmu said:

@MrGawain — I thought the same thing going into the launches about the drop off in sales this generation. I think XB1 will follow Wii U number sales pretty closely.....however PS4 is doing incredible thus far and still has a Japan launch to go which should help propel it that much farther away from the other two.



MAN1AC said:

Wii U still flopping as expected but I did not think the 3DS would be that low.



Action51 said:

There is a general "drought" on all three of the "New Gen" systems, with one or two big triple A titles dribbling out between now and the summer.

That being said, of course the gaming media will pounce on Nintendo only and stir up uncertainty for the Wii U while giving PS4 and XB1 a pass.

On a related issue:

I think we're starting to see not so much a video game industry "crash", but a triple A model bubble bursting. It seems each year we have fewer and fewer triple A titles being released as third party games, and almost all the mid-level publishers are going broke(Neverland, THQ), getting bought up by the giants(Atlus), or switching to streamlined kickstarter type business models(WayForward).

As this happens, the few publishing titans that remain will continue to produce fewer, and much safer titles that will please the casual market, but disappoint the core and classic gamer. The big blockbuster studio model works well for films where you drop $7-$12 on a ticket and maybe $15-$25 later for the DVD/BluRay later for a few choice titles, but it probably won't work too well on the $60+DLC+$400 console investment model.

While Nintendo struggles to find a broader market for the Wii U, it is somewhat inoculated from this bloated business model and was wise to appeal to smaller developers who don't "need" 8GB of ram to run clunky licensed engines.

We'll see how it plays out.



Wolfgabe said:

Those of you getting worked up over 3DS sales remember this is January which comes right after the Christmas rush and is typically a dead zone in terms of new releases. PS4 and X1 look like they had a pretty significant drop off as well. As for Wii U I want to see world wide sales



MysticX said:

@Action51 Times like this i worry about gaming in general, Nintendo are at least trying to do something creative (Though not all ideas pan out as well), and they're selling the least ATM, though with the current merger/buyout frenzy i see a lot of other companies having trouble too.

I'm tired of the "Paint by numbers"-sequels to all those shooters/racers/football games in the stores here (Burnt myself on a PS3, most expensive paperweight i ever bought >_< ), tried games on my iPad but the freemium-plague is slowly killing the gaming-scene there, yet ironically enough Nintendo seem to be the ones floundering, which makes me leery to spend money on a WiiU ATM, i want to know that the console i'm buying has good prospects before i spend a lot on it, oh well, maybe later in the year things will look up a bit...



Action51 said:


I hear you, but I have to all my years of gaming I have never felt a Nintendo system that I bought was a bad idea or bad investment.

I do have a pretty beefy PC and I also use Steam service, but for gaming with friends and for something that is just fun I go to the Wii U and 3DS.

My advice for getting a Wii U: Get the Windwaker bundle, then Pick up Wonderful 101, Super Mario 3D World, and Lego City Undercover.

You'll be in awesome and fun gaming heaven for a long time!



sadsack777 said:

to any one out there go and bye a wii u if u need to play true games that have lots of fun playing them (peace) to all gamers



DarkKirby said:

If you released a more powerful 3DS with a 2nd Circle Pad for camera control for 3D environment games I'd buy it, just saying.



LoveSugoi said:

Wait... there isn't 500 comments of NINTENDOOOOOMMMMMM yet?

Nice to see those numbers for 3DW and ALttP, X&Y's numbers of are no surprise.



unrandomsam said:

@MrGawain If the consoles are still selling at a loss then surely it is better to seller fewer (With lots of games per system).

It is different with the PS4/Xbone as they are not sold at a loss. (Like the DS wasn't).

If someone buys a Wii U when it is cheap and just buys Just Dance 4 for £11 and nothing else I cannot see how those type of sales are desirable.



dumedum said:

Very impressive sales number. Super Mario 3D world on the "doomed" Wii U is selling better than most PS3/xbox games. But that's always the case with the serious Nintendo games.



Airola said:

@Lebon14 That graph has info from the first January of each console. So the WiiU part is from January 2013 and the X1 and PS4 infos are from January 2014.

Yeah, the drop after two first months of WiiU was really huge, and it's actually quite a shock to see the sales Xbox One dropping nearly as much, and PS4 dropping a lot too. I'd imagine the consoles that have the biggest launches ever in video game history (both sold around a million at lauch which is absolutely amazing) would had way more stable post-holiday month, but now it seems all of these new consoles are seeing much bigger drop in people's interest than anyone dared to expect.

PS4 was the biggest seller in January, but it sold only about 270k, which is only decent at best. There is a reason Sony says only "our platform was the #1 seller in January." If they would give hard numbers, it wouldn't be impressive in the slightest.

Well, surely both Sony and Microsoft are doing way better than Nintendo, but the percentage of the drop, especially on xbox, is horrible conserning the hype and amazing sales the systems got at launch.

The indies will be the winners this generation. If the systems are getting good sales only during holidays, the big studios can't afford making big titles that have at least five times as big budgets than what they had 10 years ago.



cyrus_zuo said:

For comparison, last gen, first Jan ('06 for Xbox, '07 for wii and ps3) after launch #s
X360 - 249k
Ps3 - 244k
Wii - 436k



Peach64 said:

January is always a big drop by default, because in December, sales figures always shoot up by ridiculous levels (ten times the sales of a 'regular' month is pretty normal for a December). I don't think the percentage drop will concern MS, but what will concern them is PS4 sold almost twice as many units with severely limited in stock. PS4, just like the Wii could have easily sold more, but that's all all they could ship since they're sending stock to Europe and Japan now, and most of the units that were supposed to be for January got air shipped to make December instead.



JaxonH said:


Very good insight.

I can't speak for everyone else, but the reason I personally gauge the Wii U as on course to match Gamecube is due to long term averages. Wii U may have had a slower 2nd January, and certainly worse sales for most of its' first year, but, that is offset by the 3+ million launch sales and the 2 million consoles it sold in the 4th quarter of 2013. It's lows are lower, but its' highs are higher. It's sitting at about 6 million sold in 1 year 4 months. It only needs to sell 15 million consoles in the next 5 years to surpass the Gamecube. That's about 3 mil a year. Considering it was able to manage that in 2013, I'm more than confident it can manage it from here on out as well, if not better.

And that's the real kicker. Statistically, odds are it will only improve from here on out. So even if let's say, for the sake of argument, it's on course to sell 5 million less than the Cube- that's assuming that every year for the next five years is going to be just as bad as 2013. Fact is, consoles improve in sales as more games are released and word of mouth travels, and as interest is raised. But even at the very worst case scenario, it matches 2013 for the next 5 years, which basically means it sells 3 million/year x 5 years + 6 million current owners = 21 million sold by Jan 2019 = Gamecube numbers



JaxonH said:


I'm not sure about Xbox One, but I know for a fact PS4 is being sold at a loss. First, there's the manufacturing costs of about $381, which only leaves $19 to account for packaging, shipping, cutting retailers in, marketing, and R&D. Even if you dismiss recouping costs for R&D, there is still a net loss on each system sold. How much? It's hard to say. Could only be a small margin, could be a significant margin...



8bitforever said:

@Doctor_Pancakes Not sure I follow you but it seems you are saying that every game on the "Other" systems are FPS. That us not true and the FPS games make up a very small percentage of games available too. I own a PS3 and don't own even one of those but have easily 30 games. Double check your facts. I know it isn't easy seeing Nintendo heading down this path but it is their own fault.



element187 said:

@Neo-GeoFan no, it's not odd, sales collapsed from Christmas for all three.... The idea that the PS4/xBone will sell 10 million by Xmas '14 is some serious fanboy wishful thinking.

If sales keep dropping for all three systems I think it paints a broader picture of the industry. The Sony/xBone fanboys were bragging the new systems will sell a million per month. I'm going to predict February OS going to look worse, Wii U will hold its ghastly 50k, maybe a slight improvement



unrandomsam said:

@JaxonH Everything is significantly cheaper if you buy millions. It is basically all off the shelf stuff and it is why the quality is so poor compared to last time.



JaxonH said:


You are correct. I can also attest to that fact by the warped USB port and uneven paint coating on my PS4. But I believe that $381 manufacturing cost is their actual cost, after buying in millions. That's what they are actually paying per unit, not what it would cost us at retail.



rjejr said:

@element187 - I dont follow the Xbox but 10mil PS4 by Xmas 2014 sounds about right to me. It has 5mil already and it hasnt even launched in Japan. And Sony will have something at E3 to get some holiday sales. Maybe even a price drop if MS forces their hand. In Nov after 1 year maybe not, but by Dec 31 10mil seems like as realistic a guess as any.



Funny_Moblin said:

@XCWarrior Why do people buy so many games when they didn't finish the last one? It's no use really. Just a bit of a money burner for the time being.



8bitforever said:

@Action51 I want Lego City but it is still $49.99. I guess since Nintendo is involved it will never go down. I wish Nintendo would use the greatest hits model more. Skyward Sword is still full price! But Lego City does look amazing and is one of the games I bought a WiiU for, although my kids did play a role in that dedication too. I have brought my kids up on solely Nintendo even though I have a PS3 and Vita. It is why I am so nervous and frustrated with Nintendo at the moment. I am a gamer from the Atari days and have been through every console launch since Pong. Hopefully my kids and I will see Nintendo recover but I have a feeling it will won't be the recover we are hoping for and wanting. Time will tell I guess.



8bitforever said:

@element187 Not sure about US sales but the WiiU has been only selling about 8,000 units per week since Jan. in Japan. Even the 3DS XL sales are just a few thousand above Vita. It will be interesting to see how things shift after the PS4 launches on 2/22, or if they change at all. Either way WiiU Japan sales are terrible and need help.



8bitforever said:

@dumedum Funny you say better than Xbox 360/PS3 games because those are now considered last generation. If you compare the sales to most PS4/Xbox One it wouldn't be close. Amazing fact is even games like Marvel Lego sold better on the newer systems than on past ones. Super Mario 3D World is amazing but it's sales were not as high as they should've been, I personally got tired of it and never beat it. A lot of people are tired of the same Mario formula every year. Go play The Last of Us, a game I did beat, and you will see what I mean. It is time for Nintendo to start making deep and engaging games, not everyone is okay with more Mario. I won't even play Super Mario Bros U unless it is with my kids. Worst game they have made to date. It is exactly like the Wii version but with some new graphics and powers. Back in the day Mario Bros games innovated with each version, but not since Mario Galaxy or Sunshine has that happened.



unrandomsam said:

@8bitforever I disliked more than 3/4's of the time I was playing the last of us. The very first part was really good the rest was a let down because they didn't keep the quality throughout. I didn't think the story was that good either. (Preferred say The Walking Dead one).

I want to play games where every second I am playing them I don't want to be doing anything else. And I like games that are games. (That you start of not being able to play them at all then get the most fun once you get it a bit. Like other types of games like Pool or Snooker or Darts you need a bit of skill before you can play them properly.)



Alucard83 said:

Like i said before. Nintendo need more A++ games! How about a true RPG game for hardcore fans who are dying for a new exclusive old school RPG???????????????? SOLD!



Doctor_Pancakes said:

@8bitforever any good examples?
What games are making the other console money that aren't first and third person shooters? Btw I count Skyrim amongst those types of games, instead of modern weapons you have bows and magic lol
Same point and kill gameplay.



8bitforever said:

My list of great games that aren't FPS or third person shooter are as follows: Journey, ICO, Shadow of the Collosus, Any Lego Game, Nino No Kuni, Sly Cooper series, Terraria, Minecraft, Guacamelee, and Little Big Planet just to name a few. I am just tired of jumping on turtles to get my kicks these days.



JimLad said:

While there has most definitely been a drop in interest in the Xbone/PS4, this year they're going to get games such as Titanfall, The Order, Destiny, and Elder Scrolls Online. The hype for these games will be massive, and it's hype that sells systems. Before it dies down, there'll undoubtedly be more announcements at E3 ready for the second half of the year. While not forgetting that all this time 360s and PS3s continue to sell as well.

Nintendo don't need any of this to sell their hardware, but they do need to get their software droughts under control pronto.

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