Wondering why Nintendo suddenly went all out and dropped some megaton announcements earlier this week? Well, they probably wanted to get people excited about the Wii U again, because according to the sales data that Nintendo released today, their latest console isn’t performing quite as well as they had hoped it would.
In a statement released to the company’s shareholders, Nintendo says that they’ve sold about 3.06 million Wii U’s (broken down by region, that’s 1.3 million in North America, 830k in Japan, and 900k in other markets,) since the console’s launch three months ago. To put that in perspective, the original Wii sold slightly better in its first three months with 3.19 million units sold. Due to the Wii U’s slower than expected adoption rate, Nintendo lowered their sales forecasts, saying they now expect to sell 4 million Wii U’s by March, rather than their original goal of 5.5 million. The change is expected to cost Nintendo 5.8 billion yen in lost profits.
On the plus side, while the Wii U may have stumbled through its launch period, it appears that the 3DS is finally hitting its stride: in the last nine months Nintendo’s latest handheld managed to sell an impressive 12.7 million units, an improvement over the 11.4 million units it sold in the year previous. The 3DS infamously floundered in its first few months on the market, but thanks to an aggressive price drop and the acquisition of some big third party exclusives, it seems like the 3DS is here to stay.
While the Wii U sales numbers aren’t completely terrible — 3.06 million in three months is a reasonably respectable figure by most standards, so it’s not an outright flop — it’s starting to look highly unlikely that the Wii U will reproduce the runaway mainstream success of the original Wii. This week’s big announcements will certainly get some buzz going in the Wii U’s favor again, but Nintendo is going to definitely need to pull out all the stops at this year’s E3 and during the holiday season if they want the Wii U to stand a chance against the PS4 and the New Xbox. They’ve managed to pull the 3DS out of its problematic launch period, and it’ll be interesting to see if Nintendo can achieve a similar turn around with the Wii U.