It’s no secret that many are disappointed with the rate at which the Wii U is selling, but hardware sales aren’t the big issue here. Overall, the system is actually selling faster than the PS3 and Xbox 360 did at launch, but it’s still living in the shadow of the immensely successful Wii. The real area where the Wii U is struggling is in terms of games sold. The system is selling at a loss, and it reportedly takes more than one game purchase to rectify that.
So how bad is the Wii U struggling in terms of software sales? Hit the jump for the breakdown.
Early reports pegged the Wii U as having a humble 1.2 attach rate for games per system. This was before Christmas, so it’s not entirely fair to judge based on that, but more recent reports aren’t especially promising either. Totals for all of November and December, the two most critical months of the year for sales, indicate that the Wii U is selling software at a rate of 43% lower than the Wii and 50% lower than the GameCube did at their launches.
This has to be particularly frustrating to Nintendo because, unlike the Wii and the GameCube, Nintendo is entirely dependent on software sales for profit with the Wii U. As hardware costs go down the Wii U will eventually become profitable, but for now software sales are more important than ever.
Two big factors in the struggling software sales are likely the price of the system and the price of the games themselves. The Wii launched at $250, bundled with Wii Sports. For the comparable Wii U and Nintendo Land bundle, the price is $350, with additional games being $60 each, while Wii games were $50. Another contributing factor may be the large number of ports available at launch. Anyone who already owns an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 and buys a Wii U is less likely to be interested in titles like Assassin’s Creed III or Black Ops 2, as they likely already own them.
It’s probably going to take some more exclusive content to jumpstart Wii U sales, but the news isn’t all bad for Nintendo. Despite the fact that Nintendo stock has been steadily declining for some time, following the revelation of the sales numbers the company actually saw a 5.6 increase in Osaka trading, marking the biggest increase since September 18. Not too bad for a system that’s supposed to be disappointing with its sales.