The numbers are in and Nintendo has unabashedly let loose the figures for the Nintendo Wii U over the last three months and it isn't pretty. The new generation console from the Big 'N' managed to move only 160,000 SKUs over the course of three months in Japan, North America and Europe.
According to a breakdown of financial numbers from GameIndustry.biz, the Wii U moved 90,000 SKUs in Japan, 60,000 SKUs in the U.S., and a paltry 10,000 SKUs in both Europe and Australia. Ouch.
GI.biz also wrote...
In the previous three months Wii U sales were 390,000 hardware units and 13.42 million games, which left the company short of it's projected 4 million sales in the financial year.
The quarter before the last one was definitely better for Nintendo than the most recent one. Mainly because things looked even worse for the Wii U when comparing it to the Nintendo Wii sales, which saw the Wii moving 210,000 units over the last quarter with more than 3.67 million software units being moved for the console. That's not too bad.
Ultimately, the company's biggest problem with the Wii U is software, and sadly that's a problem that isn't going to be fixed overnight. Technically, Nintendo would have been in a much better position had they gone on ahead and initiated their developer-friendly policies last year as opposed to this year.
Leading up to the launch of the Wii U with a ton of indie-support would have been a perfect way to bolster third-party software support and maintain a steady stream of low and mid-budget releases to keep positive talk amongst core gamers high and a nice, steady stream of software titles leading up to their big AAA first-party releases for this fall.
However, many of the interesting indie titles now being supported by the Nintendo Wii U won't be released until 2014 or 2015, such as Teslagrad and Monochroma. This means that Nintendo's 2013 offerings of Donkey Kong Country Tropical, The Wonderful 101 and Pikmin 3 are going to have to cover for the Wii U up until a new Mario drops and both Super Smash Bros. U and Mario Kart 8 are ready for release.
I still have a ton of faith in the Big 'N' bringing it in tight and hunkering down the bunkers of success with some solid releases and strong sales, I just don't think that it's going to be an easy hill climb the way it was with the NES and Wii. This looks like it might be more of a battle of attrition like the age of the N64 or the 16-bit wars between the Sega and SNES.
On the upside, Nintendo still has plenty of profit to lean back on with the success of the Nintendo 3DS, which managed to move 1.4 million units in the last quarter, bringing the total install base to 11 million shipped SKUs, and this was further acclimated by Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which managed to move more than 1.54 million units recently, bringing the total to 3 million SKUs shipped, along with Tomodachi Collection which moved 3.91 million SKUs.
So far, Nintendo has a handle on their handhelds, but they need to reel it in and smack it down good when it comes to their home console division. They're certainly on the right track in terms of reaching out to third-party developers and getting a ton of indie support.