Hardcore gamers have become accustomed to casually mocking Nintendo systems since the GameCube hit the market in 2001. But, even if you're not entirely sold on Nintendo's vision of console gaming, you have to admit that they have a pretty good handle on their market. This week, Nintendo announced a collection of numbers that showed off their systems' surprising longevity and effectively backhanded the competition.
Nintendo's biggest seller, unsurprisingly, was the Wii U. Their latest console sold about 400,000 units in North America, which falls short of the 600,000 that the Wii shipped in 2006. But we can't really blame Nintendo for this; aside from their handhelds, the Wii was Nintendo's biggest launch, a particularly hard act to follow.
Also, it's important to note that the Xbox 360 only sold 326,000 units within its first two weeks, and the PlayStation 3 sold a scant 197,000 systems within fourteen days of its launch. So, by comparison, the Wii U is doing quite well. Not as well as the Wii, but it's definitely a major contender.
However, the most interesting part about Nintendo's sales last week actually involved their other consoles. About 300,000 Wiis were purchased over Thanksgiving weekend. 275,000 DS units were shipped, and 250,000 3DSes landed into consumer laps. When combined, over 1.2 million units of Nintendo hardware were shipped over the holiday week, which is incredible by anyone's metric.
In fact, even hardcore gamers have to tip their hats to Nintendo for this kind of market mastery. There's no denying that Nintendo understands what they're doing, and they've got the video game market in the palm of their hands. And, even though the Wii U probably won't be my go-to system, it definitely has people in its corner.
In a recent interview with CNET, Nintendo of America's President Reggie Fils-Aime bragged a little about Nintendo's control of the video game market: "In the end," Fils-Aime said "our competitors need to react to what we're doing in the marketplace and need to figure out what their innovation will be. It's likely that faster processors and pretty pictures won't be enough to motivate consumers. They need to react to what we've done and we need to continue innovating with the Wii U, and we will."
And, at the end of the day, he might be right. Impressive graphics don't make good games, and the market is finally starting to understand this. Unfortunately for them, Nintendo figured it out a long time ago.
But, even though Nintendo posted some incredible numbers, Microsoft also racked up 750,000 Xbox 360 sales in the same time that Nintendo sold 400k Wii Us. It's a strange little dichotomy when a six-year-old system nearly doubles the sale of the industry's newest toy. And, even though some of those sales are due to the scarcity of the Wii U, Microsoft obviously owns a gigantic chunk of the market.
As much as Reggie Fils-Aime would like us to think that Nintendo dominates the gaming market, the numbers aren't entirely in his favor.
Date: November 30, 2012