The old racing crew in the Mushroom Kingdom can still go pretty fast when they want to.
Nintendo revealed that it has sold 2 million copies of Mario Kart 8 since debuting the racer in late May. With just a month on the market, the game is already one of the Wii U’s best-selling releases. It is a bright spot for a system that has struggled at retail.
The company announced the results at its gathering of investors in Japan yesterday. We reached out to Nintendo, and the company confirmed the worldwide sales figures include both physical and digital copies.
Nintendo has long had a lot of success with its Mario Kart franchise, but it was easy to doubt that this game would perform as well as some past entries because of the Wii U’s weak sales. Consumers have not had the same amount of excitement for Nintendo’s console as they have for the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. In fact, Sony has already sold more PS4s than Nintendo has sold Wii U systems despite Nintendo having a 12-month head start.
But Mario Kart is one of Nintendo’s games that has wide appeal, and gamers are once again showing up for it — although it may not surpass its original Wii predecessor. That game reached 30 million in sales thanks to the Wii’s huge owner base.
Nintendo is hoping that Mario Kart will carry it for a bit while it prepares another sequel: the four-player fighter Super Smash Brothers for Wii U. That game will hit the system in winter of this year, which isn’t until late December — but fans of the franchise are ready for the brawler. Super Smash Bros. was one of the most popular games on showfloor at the Electronic Entertainment Expo tradeshow in Los Angeles earlier this month. In fact, over 2,000 fans showed up for a Smash Bros. tournament the company held at the Nokia Theater in L.A.
It’s possible that Super Smash Bros. will have the same effect as Mario Kart, and Nintendo will need that because it doesn’t have much else coming out for its home console before the end of 2014.