Nintendo hasn’t had anywhere near the success this console generation when compared to the last. A lot of the blame for that can be placed at the feet of marketing and the fact that the casual game market is very different from what it was just a few years ago. However that doesn’t mean the Japanese game maker is struggling across the board. In-fact despite hardware sales still not blowing anyone’s minds, software sales are on the up and the Amiibo line of figurines is selling like hotcakes.
New numbers released by Bloomberg don’t paint the best picture of for Nintendo’s current state or that of its near future, pointing out that just three million Wii U’s were sold between April and December last year. That is however up from the 2.4 million it sold the year before and brings it over nine million units sold in total. It looks likely to have slipped behind the Xbox One at this point, but Microsoft hasn’t released concrete details on that, instead often bundling them with Xbox 360 sales numbers, presumably to make them sound more impressive.
However, despite this gloomy outlook for Nintendo, it managed to create two multi-million copy selling games last year in Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros, which sold almost five million and 3.4 million copies for the Wii U respectively. Smash Bros on the 3Ds did even better, shifting some six million units. These aren’t a patch on traditional Mario Kart figures, with the game selling over 30 million copies on the Wii, but this time last year Nintendo had almost no big sellers on its current home console, so it’s at least heading in the right direction.
It is Amiibos however that are proving the company’s biggest success as of late. Released just a few short months ago, Nintendo has already sold over 5.7 million of the little NFC enabled figures. Thanks to this and still pretty strong – although slowing – 3DS numbers, Nintendo has predicted a profit for the year of some 20 billion yen (£112 million) when all the numbers are tallied. That’s half of what it predicted a short while ago, but still represents a big turn around for the company which has made a loss the last two years in a row.
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KitGuru Says: I still think the biggest marketing gaff was calling this console the Wii U. I still know a lot of people who don’t even know it exists and think the gamepad is an unneeded Wii accessory.