Nintendo came out today to exclaim their biggest hardware week in some time this week with 1.2 million units sold. Between three major platforms, it sounds like a big deal, but as a separate deal, especially as the launch week for Nintendo’s newest (and only sixth ever) new home console, the numbers weren’t quite so rosey.
Nintendo claims they sold 400,000 Wii U units within their first week, which generally means they’ve sold that many units to retail, not directly to customers. Last week, we confirmed that Nintendo’s Wii U was actually pretty easy to find despite the general furor around new hardware launches. Now let’s put some things in perspective: in its first 8 days on the market in 2005, retail watchgroup NPD reported that the Xbox 360 sold 326,000 units directly to customers. Not to retailers, but through checkout stands. That sounds like a very similar number, but you have to factor in several other elements: the Xbox 360 was supply-constrained for its first six months and cost $50 more per SKU. (The far more expensive PlayStation 3 sold 196,000 units during its first two weeks to consumers.)
And then there’s the issue that Nintendo sold 600,000 Wii units to retail in its first week and remained sold out for the next three years. So not only is the Wii U not the (initial) success that the Wii was, but it’s also losing money on each console sold. This is actually a standard practice, taking a platform years to recuperate, if they ever do, but the big news for Nintendo was that they were making money on each console sold which ballooned to some crazy profits as the hardware continued to sell out. Stockholders, with ever a clever memory, will probably not terribly happy about these numbers until Nintendo can push a lot more hardware through this critical holiday.
Source: Giant Bomb