The Wii U Stumbles In Japan (But Don't Count Nintendo Out)

If Japan is anything to go by, the Wii U hasn't proven to be the smash hit Nintendo hoped it would be. Granted, hardware launches are tough. The 3DS had a difficult time getting off the ground. Now, it's doing gangbusters. In Japan, the Wii U, however, is having a hard time lately.

To put things into perspective, let's compare how the Wii U stacks up to the Wii's first six weeks on sale in Japan (data courtesy of 4Gamer and Media Create):

First Week • Wii: 371,936 units sold • Wii U: 308,570

Second Week • Wii: 109,068 • Wii U: 130,653

Third Week • Wii: 101,956 • Wii U: 122,356

Fourth Week • Wii: 284,648 • Wii U: 76,760

Fifth Week • Wii: 121,510 • Wii U: 70,662

Sixth Week • Wii: 146,553  • Wii U: 20,715

Online in Japan, people are pointing out that there's reason for being concerned — namely that the Wii U is now posting GameCube's sales numbers.

Nintendo will say that the Wii launched during the height of Nintendo DS mania. That's correct. It did. However, the Wii U started out strong, but it's been running out of gas. There are not enough games to lure people who might be sitting on the fence about the Wii U. If Nintendo did not make games, I'd say this is cause for concern. There isn't. Yet.

In case you missed it, here's Kotaku's review of the Wii U.

WiiUが発売から6週間で失速?はやくも販売台数でPS3以下に。ゲームキューブより売れゆきが悪いとの話も・・・ [へちま起稿]


    Now I may have read the chart on gamefaqs incorrectly, but it appears that over the next three months, there is a total of fucking 3 new games being released for the Wii U in Japan. FUCKING THREE! Ninty is getting closer and closer to being a legit zombie company.

    Being an early Wii U adopter myself, I must say I'm already straining to keep myself playing, I'm watching YouTube videos more than anything.
    The Virtual Console better get here quick, thats when I will be throwing my money at the screen.

    That's... Concerning. I usually buy Nintendo consoles day one, but I'm not really in a rush to get the Wii U, and there's not that much coming out any time soon.

    I just don't want another Mario side scroller. I've played so many of them, and the new one was their biggest launch title.

    Wii U's got no games. It's a Shakespearean Tragedy.

    Seriously speaking, this shouldn't be that much of a surprise. The Japanese home console market's been shrinking for years and the Wii U doesn't have that compelling a software lineup yet. Probably will get a big upswing when Dragon Quest X is out for Wii U for example.

    Release monster hunter 4 on Wii U and 3DS like they did with monster hunter tri G but, if you buy monster hunter on the Wii U, you get a code that allows you to have monster hunter 4 free on Nintendo 3DS. Like sonys cross platform stuff.
    That'd sell systems I believe.

    Monster hunter in general will move systems like mad in Japan. I myself am waiting for Monster Hunt Tri Ultimate before I get the WiiU.

      It moves units on handhelds. On home consoles in Japan it's nowhere near as strong a seller. MH3 Ultimate was a Wii U launch title there.

    Love how they are on top of Nintendo numbers if they are a little low. Dont remember this site being so thorough with Vita numbers even though they went to the crapper

    Last edited 18/01/13 4:03 pm

      Not sure if troll, or just dumb.

        If its you your dumb. I pointed evidence before that this site was all over the launch of the Vita when it was launched and how it sold big. But in the subsequent weeks the Vitas sales dropped to below 10000 units and guess what this site didnt mention its fall from grace. Cant hide it now. The 3DS is around 30million and the vita is maybe 4 million. But This site didnt post those numbers till one year later

        Fast forward to now. The Wii U is struggling a little i agree. But thats from lack of exclusives. This site made NO mention of the Wii U's strong first week in sales in Japan. NONE. (Remember they were all over the Vitas Japan launch) but now that the numbers are falling this site is quick to post Japanese Wii U sales? If you can see the bias in that YOUR DUMB.

        Sorry if you take arguments based on facts as evidence as dumb but thats not my problem

          There is a difference between the launch of the PS Vita and the launch of the Wii U. The handheld console market usually plays second fiddle to the home console market, that's where the main players are going to make the most of their profit, a failed handheld isn't going to be as catastrophic as a failed home console, that's why the history of this medium is practically littered with the corpses of failed handheld consoles, but Sega pulled out of developing consoles all together when it became apparent the Dreamcast was going to become a second Saturn.

          Secondly, the PSP, while big in Japan, wasn't a big a deal as the Wii was globally. Of course people are going to pay more attention to see how the Wii successor goes in Japan as it could have ramifications globally, while the PSP really only had a sizable niche in Japan, thus the increased interest in the console pre launch.

          Finally, it's because people like to see the mighty knocked off their perch. Nintendo appeared to be nigh untouchable during the heyday of the Wii and DS, when everyone was making comments about how their products practically print money. Now the circumstances have changed, people have a morbid interest in seeing just how far the mighty has fallen, or will continue to fall.

          Also FYI, it's you're

            Stop making excuses. The fact is they were more then happy to write news on the fantastic first week sales of the vita in Japan but when the sales drop to almost nothing they didnt make one mention of it. When the Wii U launched in Japan did they mention it. NO THEY DIDNT. Not ONE mention. I think you have completely overlooked this fact. I made sure i checked for a week after the Japanese launch to make sure. Yup NO mention of Wii U japanese launch sales numbers. ZERO ZILCH NADA.

            Now the Wii Usales are falling and what do you know? This site mentions Wii U Japanese console sales. AMAZING.

            Of course we know Aussies and there tall poppy syndrome. It doesnt excuse the it from manipulating information.

            Last edited 18/01/13 8:27 pm

              Another thing you need to remember is that the Vita came out in Japan first, therefore Kotaku covered it more because it was the new thing, they gave reviews of it they did all the usual stuff when a new console come out, The Wii U came out in Japan last, and it was a few days after we Australians had the console as well. What could of Kotaku said about the Japanese Wii U launch that wouldn't have resulted in them repeating themselves?

                Your trying hard to defend them but its a losing cause. Japan has always been recognized as important and independent region regardless of when a console was launched first or last

                Simple reason. Vita Japanese sales high Kotaku likes to mention it. Vita sales low Kotaku sweeps it under the carpet.

                Wii U Japanese sales relatively high Kotaku sweeps under the carpet. Wii U sales low Kotaku Likes to mention it.

                I have no problem with them showing sales numbers. But this picking and choosing what sales numbers they show shows massive bias.

                  Claim it bias as you will, I remember a time when Kotaku used to post weekly Japanese Video game sales charts, I also vaguely remember the comments to these articles being multiple different variations on the phrase, "we do not care." Kotaku apparently took this to heart and these articles ceased.

                  As for why they decided to emphasise the Vita's successful initial launch and de-emphasise the aftermath, while now emphasising the lacklustre sales of the Wii U while ingoring the intitial success it had, it's a combination of the aforementioned two reasons I said as well as what I stated above, the Vita was the new thing, first released in Japan all sites including Kotaku were putting alot of coverage into it. The Wii U came out in Japan last, so the only thing Kotaku really could have said in an article would be the sales figures, which would have most likely been met with a responce of almost everyone saying, "we do not care."

                  Wii U sales tank in Japan and tall poppy syndrome kicks in, we all has a morbid fascination in seeing the mighty fall.

              Dude, the Wii U is much bigger fish than the PS Vita. That's why there is so much more focus on it. I'm very comfortable claiming that the amount of Kotaku readers after a Wii U is far greater than those after the Vita - does it make more sense now? There is no conspiracy or bias here.

              Also, learn how to write/type properly - use punctuation marks and solid grammar. It's not that hard...

                Here we go with excuses. Sorry that doesn't cut it. They either use sales numbers ALL the time or they don't use them at all. No cherry picking. Use them or do not use them. Use them when the first come out and use them equally for all. That is what it means to be impartial and unbiased. Whether the vita was considered important or not makes absolutely no difference at all. I remembered the vita was considered the 3ds killer. The fact that its sales dropped of sharply after launch should have been grounds for this website to call it otherwise. But, like i pointed out it choose not to. If they wanted to use Wii U Japanese numbers for articles WHY then did they not post an article when the Wii U launched in Japan last year? I know Ruen is claiming its because it was last to launch in Japan but if that makes the Japanese Wii U Launch unimportant that it doesn't have to to post these numbers why is it important to post these numbers now that the numbers are low. I mean the Wii U first week Launch numbers were respectable. It didn't beat out the Wii's launch numbers, it was still solid. OK fine they don't want to talk about Japan now that fine. But wait. Wii U numbers are falling all of the sudden it becomes important news?

                Look if you can't see the picking and choosing of information to make sensationalist headlines your blind.

                I don't care too much about punctuation because i had to refute 20 or so arguments in about 30 minutes to an hour so i had little time to waste on ensuring all my arguments were properly proof read. However it in no way diminishes the argument i have made, and is probably the only strong argument you made against any of my claims.

    To write Nintendo off over this is a bit dramatic. I can remember all the way back to the N64 for and its reaease with Mario, PilottWings, and that Jetski game. Not many consoles have groundbreaking lineup in the launch. Admit that the Wii did have a Zelda game, but was lacking a Mario to. For me I would rather wait until the bugs and problems are first sorted out before I see a 3d Mario, Zelda or Metriod for that matter. TNMBU is a good game if not one of the best in the franchise. It is simple and usese the hardware, it is a good test run game. As for the future I can't see the PS4 or XBOX 720 being groundbreaking in graphics or gameplay, if much better at all. Remembering they both copied the Wii's motion in someway. So as time progresses along like the 7th gen Nintendo will dominate.

    Last edited 18/01/13 4:04 pm

    Have you read the reports on the specs of the PS4/XBOX720 devkits? By all accounts they should be able to pump out graphics like pretty good PCs can today. You'd have to admit a fairly big difference in quality and performance between PS3/XBOX360 graphics and those on a decent PC.

    EDIT: this was meant to be a response to mightyjosh's comment - oops!

    Last edited 18/01/13 4:34 pm

      Yes admit, but you have to think abot size. The size of a case to store the PSU, MOBO, GPU, and CPU for a top end PC is dramtically bigger then any of the current range console. If Sony and Microsoft just jam raw power into their new machine, heat will kill them. As it killed the first run 360. But I have said once before I don't want to play the same games the same way on slightly better graphics. Looking at the new XBOX for example they are putting in quite an old GPU I have read.

      But if you think your going to see x2 better graphics on the new PS/XBOX you will be massivly dissapionted. There is no new media storage that the PS3 brought with blu-ray.

    I already felt that the Wii U was a bit GameCubeish. But now it's posting Cube-like numbers too? All the pieces are falling into place.

    Now we just need the peripheral craziness of the Cube era and we'll be set. Though this time around I want more light gun games.

    In my mind, Wii U is 'that little box that makes the new mario kart appear on my tv and makes me happy'. Expect it doesn't yet, so I don't own one.

    Well, the console did just launched, you know. With console launches, there's always a waiting period. This will be true of Xbox 720 and PS4. It will take a while for quality games to start appearing on them.

    The Wii was a zeitgeist, a gaming Furby or Cabbage Patch Kid. People wanted one - the kind of people who don't give a toss about Zelda or Metroid but did like the idea of playing bowling when their friends came over. That's where the extra tens of millions of units went to.

    Anyone who thought the Wii U would sell anything like the Wii were really not thinking it through. Lightning seldom gets caught in the bottle twice...

      Very true. Many Wii buyers who were perhaps not interested in gaming prior to its purchase might call it a gimmick / impulse purchase thanks to hindsight.

    This exact article appears at every console launch. I don't think six weeks in, even maybe three months out could there be any reasonable debate to whether a system has a future. There will be games, wait til we see how it performs then.

    I love my GameCube and Dreamcast.
    PS2, GCN and DC are the best gen when it comes to consoles being about great games. I miss them days.
    I am sick of gimmick controls, timed exclusives and sales numbers graphs. This is not a hobby it is now a wank marketing game. Why would gamers care about CEO press releases from EA etc?

    Bring back the old days. Yeah I am jaded and yes I am being a little bit a troll just for fun. I'll blame nostalgia dudes :D

    Last edited 19/01/13 12:32 pm

    I'm noticing a pattern. Sony makes their best console ever in the PS3, it doesn't do well.

    Nintendo makes the WiiU, a vast improvement on the Wii, it doesn't do well.

    Sega makes the Dreamcast, it doesn't do well.

    Microsoft makes the Xbox, it only sells 24 million.

    Lesson to manufacturers, if you want to sell well, make a shitty console that's underpowered, and feature poor.

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