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A lot of people are telling you that the Wii U isn’t selling well, but it’s a lot easier to see just how much Nintendo’s newest console is struggling when we compare it to the past.

During Nintendo’s financial report for the last fiscal year (which ended March 31), it announced that it has only sold 6.17 million Wii U systems since the console’s launch in November 2012. To give that number some context, let’s look at the previous generation of consoles.

Total worldwide sales for last-generation systems after their second March on the market (based on official financial reports from Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony):

  • Xbox 360: 8.3 million
  • PlayStation 3: 12.85 million
  • Wii: 24.45 million

Again, the Wii U has sold 6.17 million units as of March 31. Not only is that way behind the original Wii, but the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 also easily beat the Wii U’s sales performance.


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Things become even more bleak when you compare the Wii U to its current competition. Sony has sold 7 million PlayStation 4 consoles worldwide since November, and Microsoft has sent more than 5 million Xbox Ones to stores in the same time frame. Both of those systems came out a year after the Wii U, but the PlayStation 4 has already surpassed Wii U sales. The Xbox One isn’t far behind.

PlayStation 4

Above: Sony’s PlayStation 4 console has already outsold the Wii U.

Image Credit: Sony

Now, let’s look at things during Nintendo’s most recent financial quarter, which also ended on March 31. During that time, Nintendo sold 310,000 Wii U systems worldwide. That was the sixth financial quarter for Nintendo that included Wii U sales. Again, let’s compare that to the last generation of consoles.

Worldwide sales for last-generation systems during their sixth quarter on the market (based on official financial reports from Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony):

  • Xbox 360: 500,000
  • PlayStation 3: 2.33 million
  • Wii: 4.31 million

Once again, the Wii U performed notably worse with 310,000 systems sold during its sixth quarter on the market. Comparing the system to the Wii might be a bit unfair, since that console was a rare phenomenon that reached a more casual market than most gaming systems. Still, the more fair comparison to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is also unfavorable for Nintendo.

It’s hard to say what Nintendo can do to boost Wii U sales at this point. Usually, the company’s best bet was playing the Mario card, but the Wii U already has multiple games from the franchise (including 2D and 3D platformers). A new Mario Kart launches for the Wii U later this month, but it doesn’t seem likely that one game can shift the system’s fortunes.

Nintendo needs a game changer for the Wii U. Next month’s Electronic Entertainment Expo could give the House of Mario the stage it needs to bring attention to its struggling system. It’ll certainly be an interesting event to watch.


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