Nintendo Sold Less Than 70 Thousand Wii U Units in February – NPD [UPDATED]

Sales of Nintendo Wii U Continues to Trail Behind Previous-Gen Consoles

by Anton Shilov
03/14/2013 | 11:52 PM

UPDATE: Adding shipments number for Sony PlayStation 3 game console.


Nintendo Wii U continued to be among the worst selling video game consoles in the United States in February, according to estimates by NPD Group. Still, the demand for gaming systems in general and for Wii U in particular grew strongly compared to January, according to the market tracking firm, which rises hope for the latest platform from Nintendo.

“Looking at hardware sales on an average per week basis, all platforms showed an increase from January into February. Specifically, new platforms like the Wii U and PS Vita demonstrated some momentum from the typical January hardware lull with increases of over 40% and 30% respectively,” said Liam Callahan, an industry analyst with NPD Group.

Unfortunately, NPD no longer officially provides hardware unit sales numbers; however, we do know that NPD estimated that Nintendo shipped 57 thousand Wii U consoles in January, or around 11.4 thousand per week (NPD considers January a 5-week period). In case “over 40%” increase on average per week basis means something between 40% and 49%, then total sales of Wii U in February (a 4-week period) are from 63.84 thousand to 67.944 thousand, which points to mid-point of 66 thousand is listed in the graph below. In February, 2007, Nintendo sold 335 thousand of Wii consoles, which were launched in November, 2006, which indicates that the popularity of Wii was considerably higher than the popularity of Wii U early in the lifecycle.

Nintendo officially said it sold 455 thousand of hardware units in February, which includes portable 3DS and DS as well as home consoles Wii, Wii mini and Wii U. Nintendo has not provided a split between the consoles.

Microsoft officially said it sold 302 thousand Xbox 360 game consoles in February, citing NPD Group, which was the top result both among non-portable and portable systems.

Sony traditionally does not reveal U.S. sales numbers by NPD for its PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita game systems. Still, considering unofficial NPD sales number for PS Vita in January (~35 thousand units) and the “over 30%” (30% - 39%) per week gain in January, it can be estimated that shipments of the console were from 36.4 thousand to 38.92 thousand last month (mid-point of 37.6 thousand is listed in the graph below). Ben Schachter, an industry analyst with Macquarie Capital investment firm, revealed in a note to clients that based on NPD data Sony sold 263 thousand PlayStation 3 consoles in February.

“These sales figures represent new physical retail sales of hardware, software and accessories, which account for roughly 50% of the total consumer spend on games. When you consider our preliminary estimate for other physical format sales in February such as used and rentals at $90 million, and our estimate for digital format sales including full game and add-on content downloads including microtransactions, subscriptions, mobile apps and the consumer spend on social network games at $319 million, we would estimate the total consumer spend in February to be just under $1.2 billion,” said Mr. Callahan.