Ok so we all know the Wii U has been doing really poorly in the marketplace since a month or so post launch, but I don’t think any of us realized just how badly the poor little system has been doing as of late. Put it this way, it is now 200,000 units below where the GameCube was at this point in its lifespan. That makes the Wii U the absolute slowest-selling home console Nintendo has ever released, after coming off of their most successful home console ever. We all knew this deep down inside, and like Ahmed says, we’re beating a dead horse here, but let’s look at the whole picture and see what’s really going on.
Nintendo as a whole made $88.1 million for the quarter beginning April 2013 and ending the end of June 2013. That’s the good news. They’re making money, and their war-chest has billions in it. Based on their financials they now have over $5 billion dollars in cash and about that much in short-term assets (think bonds, shares of other companies and other liquid assets). That means they’re not going away anytime soon, no matter what some might say. They also made a killing off the 3DS, which sold 1.4 million units in the three-month time-span and sold an incredible 11.4 million pieces of software. That’s just crazy. So for all those who think they should give up and become a third party publisher, put things into perspective. Whatever they sell, they retain complete control over the money. They don’t have to pay anyone licensing fees, for example. So why would they not want to keep making hardware and software?
When it comes time to look at the Wii U hardware numbers, things are pretty bad right now, and Nintendo knows it. What’s interesting to note though is that the company still plans to sell around 9 million units this year, which means they’ve either completely lost their mind, or they know something we don’t. While their holiday line-up is better than anyone else, the truth is that it’s not enough to convince 9 million people to jump on-board. Could we potentially be looking at a price cut in the coming months? Who knows, but what we do know is that the Wii U sold 160,000 units worldwide from April to June. That breaks down to 90,000 in Japan, 60,000 in North America, and a meager 10,000 across all of Europe. The European numbers in particular are exceedingly bad. The PS3 and Xbox 360 sell through more than 10,000 units a week there, and Nintendo not being able to move more than that in three months time is extremely scary.
So is that it for the Wii U, clearly Nintendo doesn’t think so. We know there are solid games just around the corner starting with Pikmin 3 in just a few weeks time. The ultimate question is how Nintendo will be able to convince the gaming populace their system is worth investing in. Right now we just don’t have the answer, but the next few months are going to be very interesting to see play out. Do you think Nintendo has some master strategy at work here, or do you think this is the beginning of the end for the latest Nintendo platform?