Nintendo’s horrifying Wii U sales collapse

“There are rumors about Wii U sales in North America slipping below 40,000 units in April. But it’s a fact that Wii U sales in its home market of Japan spiraled below 7,000 units during the week ending May 12,” Tero Kuittinen reports for BGR. “This is an atrocious level. The ancient PS3 sold 12,000 units and the portable console champ 3DS sold 46,000 units during the same week.”

“What makes the Wii U performance such a horror show is the fact that its sales tanked before the next Xbox has even debuted,” Kuittinen reports. “After Microsoft and Sony really start slugging it out in the media spotlight with hardware comparisons, game exclusives and pricing speculation, the Wii U is going to be starved of oxygen.”

Kuittinen reports, “Complicating matters for Nintendo is the rapid shift of consumer spending patterns. Combined spending on mobile game apps on iOS and Google Play platforms is now nearly three times higher than the consumer spending on Nintendo and Sony portable console games.”

Read more in the full article here.

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32 Comments

  1. Color me shocked. Not.

    Nintendo needs a massive change in strategy. They need to start adapting older games (NES, SNES, N64, GB, GBC, GBA, etc.) for release on mobile platforms such as iOS. It’s clear that casual console gaming (Wii and WiiU) are dead.

    If Nintendo maintains the DS lines as their “premium gaming hardware” and releases, or encourages others to release, older gaming software as mobile apps, they may survive. But the future is very bleak for Nintendo if you ask me.

    1. Casual gaming is dead? Then why are most of the games on iPhone that are popular are casual games? Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, and Temple Run are all fun games, but they are still “casual”. As long games are fun, people will buy them.

      1. Read what I said. Casual CONOLE gaming. As in, Nintendo consoles. Wii and WiiU. Which is exactly why Nintendo needs to refocus to get money FROM casual mobile gaming. Which was my entire POINT.

        1. And this is exactly why we will never, ever see an Apple gaming console or an AppleTV which touts gaming as a key feature. Apple doesn’t need a gaming console because console games are a very, very limited market.

          iOS games and such are the future of most gaming. Consoles will still be there for the large, multiplayer, hardcore gamers, but mobile gaming is the future.

          1. Agree wholeheartedly on both counts. Future Apple TV-related products will include gaming the same way that the iPod, iPhone, and iPad including gaming. But it will never be a key feature or major selling point.

            I would say that Nintendo is still safe with handheld gaming, at least for the near future. But other than that, casual mobile games are indeed the future. Sony and Microsoft will monopolize the hardcore gamer niche market with their high-end consoles, but that’s about it.

    2. I couldn’t agree more. Nintendo’s core competency isn’t hardware; it’s creating fun games. They would make a small fortune if they released the popular titles from their catalog along with a hard-button accessory for iOS devices. They’d make hundreds of millions of dollars.

      1. The emphasis should be on “small”. Nintendo made over $10 billion of profit from the Wii/DS, more than Apple has paid out to all iOS developers combined. Migrating to low-priced apps sounds like a last-resort strategy and one that Nintendo is desperate to avoid (whether or not they can is debatable).

        1. I get what you’re saying, but times have changed. A lot. We’ll see. I said it a year or two ago, and I’ll say it again: From where I’m sitting, Nintendo looks like it’s heading toward “Blackberryville” – at an increasingly fast pace.

  2. I have thought for years that Apple should buy Nintendo. The Nintendo flagship brands (Mario, Zelda, Sonic, etc) are worth billions. They also fit Apple’s family profile.

    1. Agreed. Wii was fit for a casual gamer, not the serious gamer. If you expect a casual gamer to keep getting a new console, then Nintendo is not understand what a casual gamer is. Also, add in that now mobile gaming exists for casual gaming. It’s a double hit! I love Nintendo, but I am afraid this next gen will probably be the end of it unless if they change something. If apple buys them, I can only expect good things from those titles I know and love

    2. I don’t think Nintendo wants to make games for iOS or other third party platforms. Like Apple, Nintendo’s innovations require tight software & hardware integration: such as the analog controller on N64, the rumble pack on N64, the light gun on the NES, and motion sensor controllers on the Wii – this type of innovation is Nintendo’s bread and butter – and its only possible for Nintendo when they control the whole gadget.

      1. And that “bread and butter” are really small hardware additions which are no longer innovations or exclusive to Nintendo. Unless Nintendo has something cooking which will turn console gaming on its head, it needs to release its games and characters for iOS.

        This could be a very effective revenue stream for Nintendo. All it would have to do is put a 2 year moratorium on any new games being released for iOS (i.e., exclusive for Wii or DS) and with the old favorites — Donkey Kong, Super Smash Bros., etc. etc. Sell them for $5, make lots of dough with minimal production costs.

        1. Smash Bros is a fun game, but accelerometer controls was a paradigm shift for gaming that even Apple is copying from Nintendo. Analog controls are no “small feature” either – it was crucial to the rise of 3d gaming. Without analog controls, moving a character in 3D space is too clunky and unrealistic.

          The fact that every other gaming company copies Nintendo’s innovations really just supports my point. The available of knockoffs from Sony & Microsoft doesn’t change the fact that Nintendo is the real deal – no more than the availability of Windows diminishes the value of Mac.

          If you take away Nintendo’s hardware, they would still have a few good franchises, but Nintendo would essentially just be another game developer. They would lose their defining ability to stand out from competitors by creating new and innovative and intuitive ways of gaming.

  3. Is anyone still buying the game consoles anymore (other than teenage boys)?

    The trend seems quite clear: casual gaming is rapidly displacing hard-core gaming as the primary market in the gaming industry.

    1. I wouldn’t worry the only thing hurting sales is a lack of software.

      We heard the same doom and gloom garbage stories about the 3DS, it was doomed and blah blah blah. Then Nintendo got the ball rolling with the software releases and turned it around seeing increases of 52% this year while the PS Vita has taken a 47% dive in the same time frame.

      Nintendo is a lot like Apple. I wouldn’t bet against them in the long run.

  4. Devastating. I loved Nintendo as a kid. I had the Nintendo 64, Nintendo GameCube, and the Game Boy Advance. I also was a fan of Sega back in the day. I hope Nintendo doesn’t falil as bad as Sega did with the Dreamcast. Nowadays, Sega makes AndyBot OS tablets. Hopefully Apple does buy them out. With Apple’s quality, and Nintendo’s game experience, Apple might make an awesome game console that will actually be successful, unlike the Pippin. (Which, in my opinion, was Apple’s only failure.)

  5. What’s hurting the Wii u is content. The landscape for software has been barren since launch.

    The indie titles are starting to show up but most of the big Nintendo franchise games and characters are not there yet.

    Who cares what sony and MS are doing. The day Nintendo needs to copy those two is the day they should close up shop!

  6. Yes, people still buy consoles. However, it’s the Windows PCs that get most of the games. Consoles need to change if they want to be relevant. The new Xbox will have the Windows Metro interface. Yuck! I hope Sony and Nintendo innovate gaming again and kick out M$ out of the arena. Hopefully, Sega comes back into the console business.

  7. Xbox and Playstation will survive, as they’re made for the hardcore gamer market, the Wii is iPad road kill. Wii makes blackberry look healthy in comparison.

  8. Nintendo needs to do what Sega did — get out of hardware.

    Imagine the sales of Super Mario Bros. on iOS and (eeeewwww, just threw up in my mouth a little bit) Android.

    Further, Nintendo could also launch titles for Sony and Microsoft.

    I realize it didn’t turn out that well for SEGA, but keep in mind Mario, Zelda and co. are worth a lot more than Sonic the Hedgehog ever was.

    I think Nintendo is leaving money on the table by selling break-even hardware (and now with so few sales of hardware, their market for their profitable software is nonexistent and will only get worse in the next few years).

    1. What good is Nintendo software without Nintendo hardware?

      These guys seem to be the only company capable of thinking up new ways to play video games and redefining themselves. What good would they be locked into hardware with run of the mill controls or in the case of tablets extremely poor game controls?

      83′ video game market collapse. Everyone said it was over. Nintendo redefined the market with the NES. They put the entire console industry back on the map.

      2003-2004 the GameCube was touted as roadkill and everyone said Nintendo should pack it in. get out of hardware. They responded with the Wii and changed everything again.

      When Nintendo starts listening to the pundits is the day they die imho.

      did you rail for Apple to give up on hardware and start licensing their software to anyone back in the mid 90s? Just curious

      1. Exactly! Nintendo is like the Apple of video games because they actually INNOVATE! I had their consoles when I was a kid, and I still have them. (They work!) So many Sony and Micro$loth fanboys just love to spread FUD about Nintendo. Funny, because doesn’t Xbox 360 have the “red ring of death” Micro$lut can’t even make a good console let alone a good operating system or web browser.

      2. It was never this bleak in the 1990s for Nintendo.
        If they can survive this hardware cycle somehow, good on them. But it doesn’t look good right now. Not at all.

        Personally, the best case scenario is to play Nintendo games on Nintendo hardware. But with such low hardware sales, that will be impossible if the company folds. The next best thing? Playing Nintendo games on iOS, etc.

        I realize controllers matter, but somehow I think the brilliant software engineers at Nintendo will make better games than anyone else on other platforms because they are the cream of the crop.

        I don’t WANT Nintendo to stop making hardware. I think they may NEED to in order to survive.

        I’d actually love to see Apple buy Nintendo (keep the name and workers) and make iOS exclusive games.

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