John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Wii U Sales Still Lousy

WiiU_thumbsdownNintendo’s Wii U isn’t proving to be much of a successor to the 100-million-selling Wii. New metrics from NPD suggest that sales of the console continue to disappoint.

The market researcher said Friday that Wii U shipments rose over 40 percent month over month in February — encouraging news were it not for the poor shipment number from which they rose. Wii U shipments are believed to be as low as 57,000 units during January. In other words, Nintendo’s Wii U shipments for the month of February were somewhere in the mid-60,000s. For a console that debuted just a few months ago, that’s just plain lousy. Consider this: Microsoft shipped 302,000 Xbox consoles during the same period.

Suffice to say, Wii U is vastly underperforming expectations. So much so that you’ve got to wonder if Nintendo will meet its already lowered projections for the console. Back in January, the company slashed its sales forecast for the Wii U to four million consoles by the end of March from a prelaunch estimate of 5.5 million. If NPD’s latest numbers are a reasonable indication, even that number may be too high for the company to reach.

Ugly news for Nintendo. If the company’s brand-new Wii U can’t hold its own against Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 — both of which are more than five years old — how will it fare against the forthcoming PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox?

Time for a price cut? Maybe, but the company has previously ruled that out.

“With Wii U, we have taken a rather resolute stance in pricing it below its manufacturing cost, so we are not planning to perform a markdown,” Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said in January. “I would like to make this point absolutely clear. We are putting our lessons from Nintendo 3DS to good use, as I have already publicly stated. However, given that it has now become clear that we have not yet fully communicated the value of our product, we will try to do so before the software lineup is enhanced and at the same time work to enrich the software lineup which could make consumers understand the appeal of Wii U.”

Looks like Nintendo still has a lot of work to do communicating that value.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik