Better, But Not Good: Wii U’s February 2013 Sales

Published 2 years ago by

Wii U February 2013 Sales

February, 2013, marks the twenty-sixth straight month that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has led the pack in North American hardware sales, moving a cool 302,000 systems. It’s an especially impressive feat considering that Xbox 360, first released November 22, 2005, is the single oldest console on the market.

For the newest hardware available, Nintendo’s Wii U, February’s numbers are decidedly less encouraging.

No question about it – Nintendo has had to weather a tough couple of weeks. On March 6th, Ubisoft publicly endorsed the idea of a Wii U price cut. On March 9th, Michael Pachter decreed that Nintendo should exit the hardware business, and just yesterday, March 14th, Nintendo lost a 3DS patent infringement case that will cost the company $30.2 million in damages.

Estimates place Wii U’s February, 2013, sales near 64,000 units, a mere fraction of what competitors Microsoft and Sony (263,000 PlayStation 3s sold for the month) managed to achieve. The NPD Group claims that Wii U sales were up over January’s dire figures – reported to be roughly 57,000 units sold – by a weekly average of 40% (keeping in mind that January’s NPD report covered five weeks, February’s only four). Still, as Gamasutra reports, that 64,000 units, averaged out by week, is drastically lower than any single week of Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 sales in history. Overall hardware sales for the month declined by 36% versus February 2012.

Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2 Wii U

Nintendo’s sales results for February may be disappointing, but they can hardly be considered surprising. In a month that saw Dead Space 3, Crysis 3 and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance release for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Wii U received just one new full length game, Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2, and it was only available from Nintendo’s eShop.

Granted, the first Wii U game worth getting excited about since the system launched, LEGO City: Undercover, is due next week (on March 18th – look for Game Rant’s review soon), followed a day later by Need for Speed Most Wanted (which is said to be based on the visually superior PC version of the game, as opposed to its PS3 or Xbox 360 counterparts) and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, though it’s tough to imagine any of those games doing much to sell Wii U systems. After that, things dry up again until the April 16th release of NetherRealm Studios‘ DC Comics fighter, Injustice: Gods Among Us.

Yes, there are other games on the horizon. The Wonderful 101, Game & Wario, Wii Fit U and Pikmin 3 (along with a series of Pikmin animated shorts for 3DS) are all slated to arrive during the first half of 2013, and Nintendo claims to have other, unannounced games that could yet release this year. That said, only Pikmin 3 appears at all likely to drive hardware sales, and even that can hardly be considered a sure thing. Perhaps Nintendo’s recently revealed Skylanders clone NFC game, Pokemon Rumble U, along with its attendant (and small) line of compatible toys, can help move some systems – if, in fact, it’s released in North America at all.

Pikmin 3 Wii U

In the short term, prospective Wii U owners really have nothing to play but the waiting game, at least until Nintendo finally reveals some genuine heavy hitters. Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart and a new, 3D Mario game for Wii U are all set to be revealed at E3 2013 this June, though whether any of those games will make it to store shelves this year is an open question.

Neither time nor momentum are on Nintendo’s side. PlayStation 4 is coming this holiday season; probably Xbox 720, too. This is Nintendo’s chance to have the new hardware spotlight all to itself, and the company is squandering that chance by the day. Whatever it is – a surprise game, a price drop, a new feature – Nintendo needs to do something to get Wii U sales back on track, and it needs to do it soon.

Ranters, what do you think Nintendo should do to boost Wii U’s sales? Do you expect much of an increase in next month’s numbers? What game would make you buy a Wii U? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter @HakenGaken.

Source: Gamasutra, GamesIndustry International


TAGS: Microsoft, Nintendo, PS3, Sony, Wii U, Xbox 360

  • Poncho

    The thing that frustrates me the most is their utter lack of marketing. This is seriously the WORST marketing job I’ve seen recently. Not a single commercial for the Wii U. What the hell is the matter with them? All I can say is they better have announcements out the rear at E3, or things are going to be looking pretty grim for the Wii U. That being said, the other next gen consoles aren’t going to have the tremendous sales that everyone’s expecting. For one, they’ll be more expensive, and games are still coming out for the PS360. Also, if you thought the Wii U had a poor launch line up, I have some bad news for you.

    • Varteras

      We don’t know what the launch line-ups are going to be for the other consoles right now so it’s quite premature to imply that their titles on launch day will be really bad. Just looking at the cross-platform titles launching around that time means that the next consoles will have some solid titles out of the gate, assuming said games are good. Yes, the Wii U had some cross-platform titles at launch but practically none of them were new. That will be the difference. Early adopters of the new Sony and Microsoft consoles will be playing superior looking versions of brand new games instead of essentially being forced to buy games they’ve already played from as far back as a year ago so that another Super Mario side scroller isn’t the only game they have for awhile.

      Also, while price is a factor it is not THE factor. A more expensive piece of hardware does not mean its sales will be low. The PS3 was quite expensive and yet it never experienced sales as low us the Wii U has so far which is only half the pricetag at launch. I don’t think most people are expecting tremendous sales outside of the holidays. What most of them are likely expecting are healthy sales. Something the Wii U has now gone two months without when it was expected by many to soar like its predecessor and that’s causing an uncomfortable feeling with many in the industry.

  • Varteras

    Nintendo is in a pinch right now but there are some things that will definitely make a difference. For one, market the console. I am not seeing enough advertisements for this thing. Then, they need to make an announcement of something prior to the summer conventions. A game no one saw coming. A deal with a third-party developer to make games for the console over the next few years. A coupon for a free night at participating strip clubs with every Wii U purchase. Anything to hold people over until E3 and get people talking about something other than rough sales and the console simply having potential.

    Then at E3 and Gamescom, Nintendo really needs to put on a show. However, it can’t be the same song and dance. The next Smash Bros or a new Zelda will be great and all but I have a feeling that simply falling back on old franchises won’t cut it this time. Nintendo is going to have to bring something fresh to the table if it wants more people to buy. A new Nintendo franchise would be fantastic. Even better would be an announcement for very promising third-party titles.

    All that being said, Nintendo’s true position won’t be able to be determined until we have a lot more information on the PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s next console. If both companies show off nice functions, potentially great games, and the prices are agreeable to the consumers then Nintendo is going to have quite a tough road ahead.

  • Wally

    Oh it’s out already? Cool, I’ll just wait for the new Zelda game.

  • Rob Keyes

    It’s unacceptable that there’s no first party or third party software support. The Wii U cannot succeed as it currently stands, especially with infinitely superior competitor hardware coming THIS YEAR and the “old gen” consoles having all the major releases until then.

  • Erik

    Thank you! Someone understands that there is no better console. Its only about the games and how they imerse you into its world.

    • Erik

      might I still add that I love nintendo. And i will always support them no matter what, and i really hope to see them get back peoples praise once more.
      Yet as much as i am a nintendo fan boy
      I still have an xbox and a ps3. Why? Because of the games thet each console offers

  • melanie

    I used to love nintendo, still do when i comes down to the mario bros game. But im done buying a new system just to get a new mario game. If u look back at all the new system releases it comes w a brand new mario game to push it. Ive been loyal for a long time but i really cant keep justifying purchasing a new system over and over and only using it for 1 or 2 games. I will miss mario and zelda, oh but wait ive got the original nintendo, the super nintendo, the n64, A ds, a gamecube, a 3ds, and a wii. Think ive gotten roped into purchasing enough of their game systems, im not going to dish out any more money for the wii u. Wish theyd go back to the basics and more mario games for the systems they already have.

    • Erik

      i dont think you should give up on nintendo… Can you really say you havent had fun with every nintendo system? I can say for one that the fun i get from nintendo is something no one else has ever delievered not microsoft or sony.

  • DarthMalnu

    Nice, a pre-emptive anti console war statement with a high potential to bait a console war.

    I’ve been playing Nintendo games since the 80’s and the reason I’m disappointed in them is because I WANT to like them. I’m not a fan of the Wii or Wii U’s hardware, I don’t like motion controls, and I despise touch screen interface so all I’m left with to keep me interested are the games… and there are none. The only games worth my time are the same ones I’ve been playing since the 80’s and that’s not enough for me to support a console. There should be a ludicrous amount of different game types and characters to choose from after all these years, but it’s just the same guy every time with a new gimmick thrown in. Nintendo always talks innovation but they’ve been playing it so safe it makes my head spin.

    This isn’t a console war thing, It’s Nintendo killing itself with bad marketing decisions, failing to come up with new IPs, and assuming they’re too big to fail.

  • Pkj1980

    While you’re quoting the NPDs numbers don’t pick and choose. It’s week 19 for Microsoft not 26. It’s funny how any worst case negative news about Nintendo gets put out but you’ll take Microsofts claims and use them as facts while going against the claims of the company who’s info you’re also using to bash nintendo.
    Nintendo isn’t going to die. Deal with it. They’re struggling right now and who knows it might get worse but they will end up ok.

  • Dude

    It’s great to see Metal Gear Rising and Deadspace 3 on Wii U…but sadly, the Wii U’s 360 level graphics will mean the end of multiplatform releases the second sony and microsoft’s next consoles drop. Much like the old Wii, inferior hardware will leave us stuck waiting for the occasional Nintendo IP.

    • Varteras

      Ummm those games did not launch for the Wii U. I think you read the article wrong. It said that those games came out for PS3 and 360 but the Wii U, in the meantime, only received one game that is barely worth mentioning.

  • Kablambo

    Clearly N’s relationship with EA has gone south. They should reach out to 2K sports and team up to create some new sports series like a Nintendo All Star VS the Pros. Take the top spin engine to make a tennis game that features a selection of the cartoony likenesses of professional tennis players competing alongside Miis and Nintendo’s cast of characters. Allow for both local and online multiplayer. Also allow games to be played both simulation competitive with proper rules and arcade style with power ups. Could take that formula and apply it to other sports genres.

  • Boosh

    I’m really not surprised at the terrible sales for this system. For me personally, I have no loyalty or preference to any gaming console, it’s as simple as “make fun games I want to play and I will buy your system.” I own a PS3, 360 and Wii, but I won’t buy the Wii U. Why would I? A huge chunk of the gaming line-up are ports of other games. And why would I buy those when I either have already bought or played them on another one of the systems I own or just don’t have interest in playing that game (and I’m sure countless people fall into the same boat as me on that one). And the exclusive titles really aren’t very interesting at all, at least to me, so chalk me up as one who will likely never add that system to my lineup.