Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told Yahoo Games that the kart racer has resulted in a significant bump in hardware sales since it hit store shelves in May, and the company has high hopes for that trend to continue.
The company posted a $228 million net loss for its fiscal 2014 year (which ended on March 31). That reverses 2013’s profit of $71 million.
Stung by a rough holiday season and consumer apathy towards its latest console, Nintendo has slashed its financial forecast for the fiscal year ending March 2014 and cut its Wii U sales estimate by over two-thirds.
Nintendo said early Friday that it no longer expects to earn 55 billion yen this quarter. Instead, the company says, it will lose 25 billion yen. To put that into context, it’s a shift from a $527 million gain to a $240 million loss. Ouch.
Released last November, life-to-date sales of the Wii U stand at 3.91 million units, according to the company. That makes the Wii U one of the worst performing game systems of the past decade.
A bold claim? Yes, but take a look at first four fiscal quarters for other notable video game systems:
As part of a quarterly earnings announcement Wednesday, Nintendo said that in the three-month period ending June 30, consumers worldwide bought just 160,000 units of its next-generation console.
After revolutionizing the video game industry with the Wii, the company’s follow-up console has consistently failed to connect with core gamers, casual gamers and, perhaps most worrying of all, game creators themselves.
Nintendo’s new console system had a decent start, selling 463,000 systems in December of last year, but that paled compared to the 890,000 Wiis that were sold during that console’s debut. Worse yet, the Wii U sales drop since then has been dizzying. In January and February combined, only 112,000 Wii Us were sold, according to The NPD Group. To put that in perspective, the Wii sold 683,000 in that time frame. Both the Xbox 360 and PS3 have thoroughly outsold the Wii U in 2013.
The Wii U, in its second full month of availability, sold a paltry 57,000 units in the U.S. according to data from The NPD Group. That’s substantially fewer than its predecessor and well under half the number analysts were expecting for the month. And it props opens the door — and perhaps issues a warning — for Sony and Microsoft, which are both expected to roll out new consoles this year.
The Wii U sold just 46,000 hardware units in January at brick and mortar locations — a shockingly low number for a console that was just released in late November. To put it in perspective, the Wii sold 348,000 units during that system’s comparable period in 2007.
The Wii U didn’t exactly light the world on fire when it made its grand debut at 2011’s E3 gaming expo. A year later, it still didn’t have the gaming faithful quivering in their fanboy boots. But now that the system is widely available, that old Nintendo magic could be brewing once again.
In the system’s first six days, Nintendo sold 400,000 units to eager consumers, who lined up early to grab a system – and eBay sellers were commanding a 40 percent premium for a Wii U. If all of this sounds familiar, it should: It’s reminiscent of the madness we saw when the original Wii went on sale in 2006.