Let’s Talk About Dem Nintendo Numbers.

stuff horse

OHAI GUYS! See that dead animal on the ground? That’s called a horse, and today we are going to kick it.

Today’s hot topic of conversation is in regards to Nintendo’s numerical forecast of hardware and software selling-ness. AKA their sales forecasts. (Although I personally think the boiling topic of the day should be about this amazing Alistair portrait, but per the norm, I digress.)

So, in a nutshell:

  • Nintendo forecasted 18 million 3DS handhelds would be sold worldwide this financial year. That number has been reduced to 13.5 million.
  • Nintendo predicted it would sell 9 million Wii U units worldwide during this financial year. That number has been reduced to 2.8 million.
  • Instead of expecting to sell 38 million software units this financial year, Nintendo now expects to sell 19 million.
  • Nintendo will post a 240 million dollar loss, but they are sitting on a 14 billion dollar war chest.

link crying

Ouch, right? Those numbers aren’t that hot (in fact I’d say their Frieza-cold) especially when you look at these numbers: As of September 2013 the Wii U had sold 3.91 millions globally since its launch in November 2012. The PlayStation 4 has been on the market for a little over two months and has already sold 4.2 million units. The Xbox One, which launched a week after the PlayStation 4, has sold over 3 million units.

Sadly, this isn’t surprising anyone. I think the majority of folks saw this coming miles and miles away. Shoot, I (and many others) saw it coming before the Wii U even launched. The marketing, well, left much to be desired, the name needed to, like, not happen and the software lineup needed to be strong and fierce going into launch. Sure, New Super Mario Bros. U was a…a thing, but I specifically remember sitting in the audience during the Wii U’s unveil and thinking to myself, “Damn, Nintendo. I don’t know WTF this thing is you just showed everyone but now’s your chance. Show everyone who has doubted that you’re still a player in this how wrong they are. Launch your killer next-gen system with a 3D Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Pikmin, Donkey Kong —  pull out ALL of the big guns AND BLAST YOUR AWESOMENESS IN OUR FACE HOLES.”

wii u
I was so confused.

I’m not saying my logic was perfect, but whatever Nintendo did, it sure didn’t blast its awesomeness in our face holes and now we find ourselves staring at these ugly, ugly numbers. And it makes me sad because there really are some fun games on the Wii U. In fact, I am a fan of my Wii U. Suuuure I’ve only played one, maybe two games on it but I still proudly wave my “I LURVE NINTENDO!” fangirl flag around because dammit I DO LURVE NINTENDO and those few games I’ve played have been wonderful. But with such a small install base, software sales are bound to be limited.

Check this out:

“Pokémon X & Y sold 4 million units in the first two days against an install base of about 35 million. That represents just over 10 percent of 3DS owners. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will release on February 13 in Japan and February 21 everywhere else. For it to sell a similar number of copies worldwide by the close of the fiscal year, it would represent an attachment of nearly two-thirds of Wii U owners. That’s simply unreasonable.” – Mike Futter, Game Informer

Truth syrup, Mike. Truth syrup.

keep calm and love nintendo

So now what? Instead of lamenting over the numbers and the sadness, it’s time to innovate. President Satoru Iwata has broken the silence and admitted they’ve screwed up.  ‘We failed to reach our target for hardware sales during the year-end, when revenues are the highest.”

“Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business. It’s not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone.”

Er….while I don’t know about taking that route, I’m happy to see there is finally some admittance of fault. THE FIRST STEP TO SOLVING A PROBLEM IS ADMITTING THERE IS A PROBLEM. Now, I want to start seeing some awesomeness in our face holes.

What do you think Nintendo should do to grow their install base? I don’t think it’s as simple as launching specific games. Sure, Smash, Bayonetta and the next Zelda will definitely boost sales, but do you think those games are going to convert the “average” gamer (I HATE THAT TERM) into a Nintendo fan for life? If not, what needs to happen? Better online support? Better e-shops? Perhaps a subscription service for unlimited classic downloads?

Let me know what you think below!


  1. I too love Nintendo. Hope they can turn it around this year. Also I share your hatred of the “average” gamer tag.

  2. I believe Nintendo should listen to it’s fans.. They have the potential to make a better console than the PS4 and the Xbox one. But it’s their fault for making the wii into a family console, rather than a multiplayer console which is what people demand now a days..gaming companies to bring games to the US and worldwide that is only exclusive to japan. Such as the dragon quest series, Some megaman games, the revival of Chrono trigger to be brought back to life, and much more, if Nintendo is always focusing on Mario and Mario only, then they are just spinning in circles in their little Mario kart after making that wrong move and riding over that banana..

  3. In happier news, I think these numbers show that for the moment PS4 is winning by a large margin in the Console wars. Suck it, XB1

  4. I think I you said in once here on your site or in a video, ” I grew up with Nintendo I just wish they grew up with us.” They desperately need to get with the times and leave behind there old ideology.

    And you hit the nail right on the head, the saddest thing is that you could see the failure of the Wii U coming from a mile away starting with the very first reveal. When it elicits a response of WTF did we just watch, you know you messed up in a big way.

    • Yeah pretty much. I’ll always love Nintendo, but it makes me a sad panda that they waited too long to hop on the “now” wagon.

  5. I still think they need to just chalk the Wii U up as a failure and come out with a new console more in line with the PS4/XB1. At this point it’s like they have a giant gaping wound in their leg, but instead of just cutting it off and replacing with a cool new prosthetic they’re trying their damnedest to patch it up with band-aids.

    • I’m sure there are already talks of the next console — but man, how mind blowing would that be if Nintendo announced a new console in the near future? Damn, that would be crazy!

      • That would be crazy for sure.. And I’m sure they are already discussing a new console and what they could’ve done different in hindsight with the Wii U.. Since this console will probably be considered a dud then it seems that now is the best time to try some new IPs and other ideas on the current console to test the waters for the next one..

        • And if they manage to release it by Holiday 2014 or 2015 they’ll have all the hype to themselves and make some mad cash by putting out a new hot item in an otherwise “off” year.

  6. Those numbers make baby Mario cry, yet I am still having a hell of a time getting my hands on a Link Between Worlds 3DSXL Bundle. And I go in for major surgery soon! I needs some portable Nintendo soon!

  7. Well not to mention they made that Wii Mini which is useless… so more money nintendo threw down the drain.

  8. I would personally be down to play more Nintendo titles (and invest in a Nintendo console again) if they started doing more serious versions of their classic titles. Yeah, Nintendo is kind of the console of whimsey and fun, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go all 9th Doctor on it and give us feels and consequences. A lot of their best work has been when they allowed some of their titles to get a bit darker, like Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time. Metroid was also very well received when it came to the Wii as I understand. I’d kinda like to see a Mario title that maybe had….narrative? Mario has been an awesome vehicle for very interesting gameplay concepts and mechanics, but beyond some very vague rules we really don’t know why a plumber is running around and how these hats turn him in to a raccoon or why flowers give him fire magic. I’m sure you’ve seen Mario Warfare and I thought the coolest thing they did was give all the Nintendo Characters a very straightforward conflict and story arc. I would really like to see some nintendo titles bring a little bit of story sophistication to their games, though I realize a good part of their appeal is that their games make us feel like we’re 7 again. (At least, I was about that age when I got my Nintendo.)

  9. I think Nintendo needs to see what they’re doing RIGHT with their handheld strategy and focus on that. Put more investment into marketing for their major titles like Pokemon and such. As much as I know what those games are, I doubt that the general public knows much of anything if they’re not looking into things, themselves.

    Also, create console versions of certain successful 3DS franchises, like Phoenix Wright or Prof. Layton. Get the kids who have handheld experience indoctrinated into the consoles by giving them something familiar to play.

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