At a minimum of $300 a pop, hitting sales of 400,000 units is nothing to sneeze at. That means that in the first week Nintendo was able to earn a MINIMUM of $120,000,000 in sales off the newly launched Wii U. Factor in that some percentage of these consoles sold were the $350 Deluxe Edition means they the number may be actually be closer to $130,000,000. But how does that compare to console launches in the past?
Back in 2006, the original Wii clocked in sales of 600,000 units in its first week on shelves. That’s a 200,000 unit differential. The Wii U’s launch was more in line with the PlayStation 3’s launch which was also in the 400,000 range that same year showing that the Wii U may be more of a core gamer system as opposed to the mass appeal that the Wii had to non-gamers.
Nintendo spokesman Reggie Fils-Aime said, “Wii U is essentially sold out of retail and we are doing our best to continually replenish stock… Retailers are also doing their best to get the product to store shelves. But as soon as product hits retail, they’re selling out immediately.” While this may be true in some areas, the Flickcast has spotted some Wii U’s still out in the wild and being advertised by stores as still being in stock, something incredibly surprising during the days following Black Friday. The original Wii was something that needed to be hunted for in the system’s first six months, if not longer.
Speaking of the Wii, the six year old system eclipsed 300,000 units. While obviously at a lower price point than the Wii U, it is still an impressive number of sales for a system that has been dealt all but its death knell at this point with no major exclusive titles being expected for the system in the future.
Also surprising were handheld sales with the Nintendo DS selling 275,000 units, which was more than its successor, the Nintendo 3DS with 250,000 units. In total, the resulting sales for Nintendo reaching over 1.2 million units of total hardware units sold.
There is a lot that can be taken from these numbers but it is amazing to see the steam that the Wii console still has in the years since its release, especially with the release of a new system happening the same week. Nintendo may have to take a PlayStation 2 approach and continue to release low res versions of current software if the install base continues to grow by such drastic numbers. While the Wii U is not as successful in its first week as the Wii was, it can hardly be called a failure. It may be an opportunity for Nintendo to have two customer bases to sell to at the same time with budget software going to the Wii and the HD and gamer driven software on the Wii U instead. It will be the sales of both the system and software in the next six month and either their growth or drop off that will be more telling of the system’s success. Keep in mind, the Nintendo 3DS was selling frightening low numbers in its first months and is now a top seller.