Nintendo’s ¥8.6 Billion Q1 Turnover Can’t Mask Tepid Wii U Sales Figures


Q1 of 2013 may have marked a healthy financial turnover for Nintendo – a net income of ¥8.6 billion, no less – but their internal sales statistics have unveiled that their next-gen home console, the Wii U, only mustered 160,000 sales in the period between April and June. The company’s flagship console is experiencing a turbulent time on the worldwide market, and with lifetime sales beginning to stagnate at 3.6 million, the immediate outlook for the Wii U is undeniably dire.

Here’s a snippet from Nintendo’s Q1 article:

“Although the Wii U hardware sales still have a negative impact on Nintendo’s profits, gross profits were ¥36.4 billion mainly owing to the fact that the proportion of the software sales over net sales increased and the profitability of the Nintendo 3DS hardware improved.”

The industry giant’s return to profit can largely be attributed to the value of overseas earnings, which is a direct subsequence of the Yen’s recent lull in value. Still, considering that net sale figures were down 3.8% in comparison to last year’s same quarter, the Yen fall can only do so much for Nintendo. With 1.06 million Wii U games sold in Q1, the company will look to upcoming releases such as Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD in order to propel the lowly figures in the right direction.

Undoubtedly, Nintendo’s saving grace for the past quarter has been their thriving handheld. Having sold 1.4 million units and 11.4 million games in the same period, the 3DS witnessed a solid Q1 on the gaming market. Instrumental to this success was the release of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which accumulated 1.54 million sales rounding off its total life-time sales at 5.4 million – though the life-sim was released back in November of 2012 for Japan. To put things into perspective, no single Wii U title has surpassed three million worldwide sales.

The “software selling hardware” mantra was enough to revive the 3DS after a shaky first year, but can Nintendo apply the same medication to revive the ailing Wii U?

The pessimistic writing is on the wall, it seems, and while the first-party release of Pikmin 3 offered some leeway for Nintendo’s fledging console, the future of the Wii U grows more ominous with each passing month.