Buried within the details of Nintendo's recently announced second quarter earnings for 2015 it was revealed that the Wii U has now sold 10.73 million units. While this will be a small consolation to the bean counters at Nintendo (after all the original Wii has sold a whopping 101 million units to date), it is significant as we can finally say the humble Wii U has outsold Sega's ill-dated Dreamcast, which only managed to shift 10.6 million units before it was put out to pasture.
Of course, it's taken Nintendo a lot longer to get there - the Dreamcast achieved its sales total in only 18 months before the plug was pulled. Thankfully Nintendo saved for a rainy day during the prosperous Wii/DS era and has been able to keep the Wii U ticking over for just shy of 3 years, despite the stagnant sales.
The Dreamcast was Sega's final throw of the hardware dice and the reasons for its failure were many. A lack of third party support didn't help, and the company's over-reliance on arcade conversions also put off those who had grown up with the deeper, more involving games of the PlayStation and N64 era. Poor support of online services was another black mark, as was the lack of a DVD drive - something that the PlayStation 2 boasted, and helped Sony's machine get under millions of TV sets the world over. The combination of all these factors certainly pulled the console down, but like the Wii U, that's not to say that the system was a complete failure. It was blessed with many amazing games - just like Nintendo's console - and is undoubtedly a hardware classic.
With Nintendo's move into mobile gaming next year starting with Miitomo and the launch of the Nintendo NX platform, it's highly likely the Wii U will be sent off to bed in late 2016. If the projection of another 3.4 million unit sales is achieved during the next year we might well see the Wii U's lifespan end up being closer to 15 million units sold. Not amazing, but still better than the Dreamcast ever managed.