Wii U launch window is over – How well did the Wii U Go?

By Michael On 26 Mar, 2013 At 10:07 AM | Categorized As Discussion of the Week, Features | With 14 Comments

Topic of the Week: Wii U launch window is over – How well did the Wii U Go?

(note: the vgchartz data is severely undertracked – New super mario bros u and Nintendo land have surpassed 2 million. Wii U also has surpassed 3 million. Source: http://www.computerandvideogames.com/388652/nintendo-land-and-new-super-mario-bros-u-both-surpass-2m-sales/)

Before the launch of the Wii U, Nintendo was confident of a successful launch. Boasting a Mario game and in addition to many high quality titles, you can see where that confidence was coming from.  March is almost over, marking the end of the Wii U launch window – so how well did the Wii U go?

Wii U debut with very good numbers. Nintendo was able to shift 425 000 Wii U’s in the first week of sales, falling 50 00 short of the Wii’s first week numbers. Not too shabby if you ask me, considering the commercial phenomenon the Wii was.

chart 1

From the chart above, you can clearly see the Wii U performing better than the   PS3, 360 and the PS Vita at their respective launch. The Wii U is matching  the 3DS launch and it comes to no surprise that the Wii outperforms all of the consoles. Outselling the PS3, 360 and Vita is a good achievement, but calling the Wii U’s launch a success – would not be telling the full story.

chart 2

It is no secret that the Wii U is not selling well. On a sales perspective, the Wii U must have performed below Nintendo’s expectation. Currently, on average Nintendo is selling 30 000 Wii U consoles wordwide. The critical problem for Nintendo is that they were unable to maintain momentum after the holiday season. From figure 2, there is a huge drop in sales after December 31st – no doubt caused by the holiday season dying down.

The Wii U’s woes can be attributed to two factors. Perhaps the most obvious reason for the poor sales is the games drought. Between January and the middle of March, there were no major releases for the Wii U. It was a complete drought for the console, besides a couple of e-shop releases, there was nothing new to play for Wii U owners. Really there was nothing new to play for two and a half months. I think the worst thing that happen to the Wii U was losing Rayman Legends. Scheduled to be released at the end of February, Rayman Legend was delayed to September and is no longer a Wii U exclusive. Legend’s delay caused a huge gap between software releases, only now do we have something new to play – with Lego City: Undercover and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate just recently out.

One thing that we can gather from the Wii U launch period, is that software sells consoles and not the premise of a revolutionary idea. I think Nintendo was banking on another Wii phenomenon, but like we all know, lightning rarely strikes twice.  Nintendo would be naïve to think that the features of the gamepad alone will be enough to the sell the Wii U – it is just not going to happen without compelling software to entice people to invest in the console.

At this moment of time, Nintendo is struggling to market the Wii U message. Just like the Wii U’s E3 2011 debut, it is clear that Nintendo is having trouble in differentiating the Wii U from the Wii. I’m just using anecdotal evidence, but the Wii U’s gamepad is often perceived as an add-on peripheral.

Furthermore Nintendo is marketing the Wii U Poorly. The commercial for the North American market just suck. It isn’t catchy nor does it get the message across. Just watch the commercial, it is truly cringe worth. Nintendo needs to hire a different marketing agent for the future.

[youtube id=”7dbGJieRaH0″ width=”600″ height=”350″]

I like Nintendo Australia’s approach in marketing the Wii U. It shows real applications and experiences of the gamepad. It is simple and it gets the message across well. You can check out the video below. Right now Nintendo needs to refocus and change their current marketing strategy.

[youtube id=”nuGhFplPBeI” width=”600″ height=”350″]

chart 3

On a software perspective, situations are a little more alarming. It comes to no surprise that the best-selling software are 1St party titles. Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U are sitting comfortable at the top of the charts. Nintendo Land superb sales can be attributed to the fact it is bundled with the premium Wii U. Approximately 3 million have been sold, so over half of the Wii U owners of the bought New Super Mario Bros. U.  The real issue is that the majority of 3rd party games are selling poorly.  ZombiU is selling decently, but I can’t say that for the rest of the software line-up. 3rd party games need to pick up in sales or in the future publishers will refuse to develop for the Wii U.

Bottom Line

I think the Wii U is in a bad place right now. The Wii U isn’t selling well and the 3rd party games are performing awfully. Nintendo has its work cut out to make the Wii U a success. Having said this there is still plenty of time to get things in order and I have full confidence Nintendo can do so. It is still early days and everything can change with the right games.

data from vgchartz

 (Sorry, I had to edit the article. A reader kindly pointed out the poor grammar in the article. I have tried to correct the mistakes – if you see anything that I missed please kindly point them out :P)


About - Michael is the proud owner and Editor-in-Chief of Mii-gamer.com! He has a Bachelors Degree with First Class Honors ( try to guess his Degree), and has been writing about video games for many years. His favorite Nintendo franchises include the Legend of Zelda, Super Smash Bros. and Pokemon. When Michael is not playing video games – he is usually outdoors riding kangaroo’s, playing cricket or sleeping (or doing all three at the same time).

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.ryckewaert Gary Ryckewaert

    I like the article but there are so many errors in grammar it is difficult to follow. I had to re-read several sentences to understand them.

    • http://twitter.com/miigamer Mike

      whoops emberassing. i’ll check it now

    • http://twitter.com/miigamer Mike

      could you point them out. sometimes when you proof read it is hard to find them :P. Much appreciated. I’ll be sure in the future to be extra care.

  • disqus_sobsQIeds8


    • http://twitter.com/miigamer Mike

      it is from vgchartz, so they are no entirely accurate but they are usually close to the true figures.

  • Holyfire

    Its funny, I’m Australian. It’s the first time I’ve seen that commercial…..
    Anyways, I got my WiiU, will buy every exclusive on it

    • http://twitter.com/miigamer Mike

      I’m Australian as well. I have not seen a Wii U commercial in months :(

      • heavenshitman1

        e-mail me on peebow1000@hotmail.com Add you on WiiU if you got one. Game anytime

        • http://twitter.com/miigamer Mike

          of course i have a Wii U. Do u have Black ops 2- i have been looking for someone to play with. If you have a twitter account or facebook you can contact me via these methods. I’ll give you my Nintendo id as well

  • http://twitter.com/Juhis815 Juhis815

    I haven’t seen any commercials of Wii U here in Finland, which is very strange considering that I got Wii U Premium Pack for Christmas.

    • http://twitter.com/miigamer Mike

      Nintendo is usually fairly good with marketing. But with the Wii U, they are failing.

  • stealth

    “data from vgchartz”

    HAHAHAHAHAH what a crappy article

  • http://www.facebook.com/DjKing1994 King Daniel

    vgChartz Sales are wrong for Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U
    both of those games exceeds 2 million reported the same time as Wii U sold 3.06m

    • http://twitter.com/miigamer Mike

      looks like you are right. not going to use vgchartz as a sole source in the future. thanks