U.S. Sales for January: Game Sales Overall Down 19%, Wii U Only Sold About 55,000 Systems

2012 firmly cemented that the games market was in a steep decline with sharply plummeting sales across the board, and it looks like the trend is continuing in 2013. Though NPD’s January 2013 numbers may have seemed positive, with $834.7 million in total sales (largely thanks to increased accessory sales courtesy of Skylanders: Giants), it turns out that last month was chosen for the “Leap Month,” which NPD uses every few years to put its “monthly” tracking back in alignment with the established market seasons.

So, as it turns out, sales seem great – but only because last month included five weeks instead of the usual four. In fact, looking at a more normal four-week sales period, things appear to be down instead of up, with a 19% decline in sales. DMC: Devil May Cry was the only new game to break a software top 10 dominated by holiday best-sellers such as Black Ops II and Far Cry 3, though both DMC and the recently-released Ni no Kuni performed better than other January titles from recent years.

Though NPD no longer tracks hardware sales, some initial estimates for Wii U also popped up, and they don’t look pretty: a little over 55,000 systems were sold during the January period, lower than the worst months for virtually every other platform.

This implies a weekly sales rate of about 11,000 systems sold – a lower rate than any Nintendo system in recent memory ever saw at this point in its life. Gamasutra put together a nice chart graphic to illustrate things:


On the bright side, for both Sony and Microsoft platforms, the weakest weekly sales during their life-spans were near the beginning, so it’s not as though no system has ever had growing pains.

The three-month outlook for the system’s launch also ranks fairly low on the historical scale, though Wii U is still ahead of the PS3 and Xbox 360 and not too far behind PS2:


Nintendo’s going to need to correct the poor weekly rates if it’s going to keep ahead of its last-gen competitors, however.

On the bright side for Nintendo, none of the other systems it’s being compared to ever debuted in the middle of a slow economy. So, in that respect, it could be said that Wii U is doing fairly admirably – it’s still at its premium launch price, has only a few unique, top-quality titles, with only a vague roadmap for the future. That it’s performing as well as it is shows that it has the potential to be a strong brand once it’s backed by more favorable conditions and better marketing from Nintendo – and that includes a robust lineup for the second half of this year.

Source: Gamasutra, NPD via Games Industry International

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.lefebvre.161 Aaron Lefebvre

    The Wii will pass up the Xbox by the end of the year..

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.lefebvre.161 Aaron Lefebvre

    This just proves that the Wii-U can easily make a comeback. If the Ps3, and 360 were that low, and ended up selling really well, then so can the Wii-U.

    • Terrak

      Bingo. The Wii U is selling on fumes (no flow of games currently), no console can do that, well except the Wii and Wiisports (but no console will ever match that combo IMO). Any console can make a comeback with some quality titles. It kind of pisses me off when some writers (im not talking about this website) just focus on how poorly the Wii U is selling compared to the Wii. Thats really not fair. The Wii U does not have the same hook that the Wii did. So its going to go the same way normal consoles go, and judging by how well its doing compared to the ps3 and 360 its doing ok.

      Remember Nintendo is probably the only console maker out there that can survive on First Party exclusives only (not that they would want to but they can).

      • http://www.facebook.com/blake.wigert Blake Wigert

        In my not so humble opinion, Ubisoft is the cause for Nintendo’s drought they fudged us all by pulling exclusivity for Rayman Legends which caused other developers to pull support or cancel projects entirely. Nintendo will release more epic games like always, in my opinion I don’t really give a flying squirrel about 3rd parties because the ones we get on Nintendo systems are usually watered down or inferior in some way and that just makes me angrier along with the “Nintendo is a kid’s system” theory. Well that’s all fine and dandy, I say if the other two “gaming giants” get a game like say for example, (This is an old game but it fits my parameters) Star Wars The Force Unleashed, on the Wii there was missing parts of the game that XBOX and PS3 players got. So I ask why do 3rd parties skimp on Nintendo fans, we are just as deserving to play their games without having to get more than one game system.

        • Ibi Salmon

          That’s a bit of a stretch, don’t you think? Saying that just because one company delayed a game(delayed, not cancel), that one, single action caused third-parties to shy away from developing games for the Wii U. That’s a bit much.

          • http://www.facebook.com/blake.wigert Blake Wigert

            Well it’s true search D.I.C.E on this site

            • Ibi Salmon

              What do they have to to with Ubisoft?

              • http://www.facebook.com/blake.wigert Blake Wigert

                In a way nothing, in another way the fact that Ubisoft pulled their game weeks before it was to release made Nintendo look bad to the other developers and so they pulled support and cancelled projects.

                • Ibi Salmon

                  They didn’t “pull” anything. They delayed the game. The game is still coming out for the Wii U, Not only that but they made an exclusive survival horror game, released Assassin’s Creed 3 for the console, and are releasing Assassin’s Creed 4 and Watch Dogs for the Wii U.

                  For a publisher that makes Nintendo look bad, they seem to be showing a lot of support for their new system.

                  • http://www.facebook.com/blake.wigert Blake Wigert

                    I wan’t talking about Ubisoft then, the other third parties who just bailed are the topics of my previous comment.

                    • Ibi Salmon

                      It certainly took you a while to reply, didn’t it?

                      Anyways, I would rather think that some 3rd-parties are shying away from the Wii U because of the controversy rather than anything else.

                      Let’s be honest, the Wii U a very controversial system. People are very divided upon it. Some think it’s a great console. Others think it’s an underpowered console that should have came out 7 years ago. With that kind of environment, is it any wonder that 3rd-parties don’t want to release games for it?