Hey Nintendo, nobody wants a Wii U under their Christmas tree this year

December 14, 2013

The buzz today is that the PS4 sold 12’000 units in 27 minutes on Amazon last week, and Sony claimed the trophy of the most sales for the month of November (although they haven’t disclosed any numbers), while Microsoft bragged as the Xbox One was the fastest selling console in the US last month with 909k units sold. In parallel, Nintendo have been pretty quiet about their sales…

Well, not entirely quiet. According to Market Research company NPD (and as reported by gamespot), Wii U sales have seen a 340% increase between October and November. Awesome numbers, but it is not surprising to see a huge increase for holiday season, and as ArsTechnica’s Kyle Orland puts it, that sounds impressive until you look at the October Data and realize the Wii U only sold 55’000 units in October. Which means about 250’000 were sold in November.

Fanboys will tell you that obviously new consoles will sell more than the Wii U because the Wii U was released last year. But November being the biggest month of the year for sales, the numbers for the Wii U should be concerning to Nintendo. Moreover, the Ars Technica article goes in depth to explain how most consoles tend to sell more on their second year than on the first. Which the Wii U is not doing. Another bad data point for Nintendo’s system.


If we set aside the raw power and performances of the device (that’s not what most players really care about), the Wii U is not a bad system. But it is somehow managing to miss its target. The second screen experience, which seems to be Nintendo’s only real selling point, is nothing more than a gimmick (just like the back touchpad on the Vita). The game library is not great, and will probably not improve with time, as developers are staying away from the device.

Laptopmag’s Avram Plitch made the Wii U one of its 5 “lumps of coal” gadgets nobody wants for Christmas, along with “Kid’s Tablets”, “iPhone 5C”, “Microsoft Surface 2″, and “Chromebooks”:

Unfortunately, the $300 Wii U is a waste of metal and plastic, with a lame touch-screen controller, mediocre graphics capability and almost none of the games people actually want to play.

the laptopmag article points a very essential thing: people will want the same console that their friends and family have. Having a huge community, and momentum, is essential for a console to survive, but for now the Wii U looks like it’s going to follow the same path as the Dreamcast.

Of course, Nintendo haven’t said their last word, and are still heavily promoting the device for Christmas (at least they do it here in Japan).


Fear my drunken photo taking skills!

Will that be enough to save the Wii U? I personally think Nintendo’s doomed to focus on its national market for the time being.

What’s your bet, and what is your next gen console of choice?

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