Nintendo’s Wii console passed a big milestone this past quarter (April-June) and has now sold over 100 million units. To be exact, Nintendo has sold 100.04 million units of their Wii console, making it the third Nintendo-developed console to achieve such a feat. The other two are the DS and the original Game Boy.
What makes this particular report so interesting is not that the Wii crossed 100 million units this past June, however, but the fact that the nearly 7 year old console is outselling the Wii U. Nintendo had high hopes for the Wii U coming out of E3 2012, and while new and exciting titles (Pikmin 3, Wind Waker HD) are starting to roll in, things are not looking good.
By comparison, the Wii U sold about 500,000 less units during the April-June quarter. Obviously the price of the Wii U is much higher than the Wii ($250 compared to around $99), but we’d suspect Nintendo expected the Wii U to pass the Wii in terms of sales units by now.
Yet, here we are — the Wii continues to outsell its successor even though new and exciting titles are in development for the Wii U. At the same time, many publishers have been rapidly pulling support for the Wii U. Electronic Arts, for example, revealed they have no titles in active development for the Wii U, which meant high profile releases like Battlefield 4 are skipping the console. They have since changed their message – saying they have titles in development for Wii U – but that doesn’t change the fact some publishers are overlooking the Wii U.
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: Nintendo needs a strong surge in sales, and they need it fast. The fastest way to get it, aside from a price cut of course, is by putting out games that the general public are interested in. However, many of the games on tap for the Wii U have some sort of caveat to them. By that we mean, they are franchise entries, but ones that might not be exactly what gamers want.
For example, gamers are excited that a new Zelda is on the horizon, but it’s an HD remake of a GameCube release. Which makes titles like Pikmin 3, Super Mario 3D World, and Super Smash Bros. (still a ways off) the must-have titles at this point. When those titles hit store shelves, hopefully things will pick up.
This fall will be the big test for Nintendo as their biggest competitors, Microsoft and Sony, prepare to roll out their next consoles. If the Wii U can’t establish itself by then, we fear the console might struggle to stay relevant.
Do you think Nintendo should be concerned about Wii U sales? When do you think sales units might start trending upward?