Why Nintendo Had To Kill The Wii

Why Nintendo Had To Kill The Wii

Strange that Nintendo killed the Wii, huh? It just stopped making the console. So sudden! Odder when you consider that the Famicom, released in 1983, was on sale in Japan until 2003.

But the Famicom (NES, in the West) was followed by the Super Nintendo. And the SNES was a smash hit. The Wii, however, is succeeded by the Wii U. The Wii U is not a smash hit.

Nintendo just released its financial earnings for the past six months (April to September). And while I think these statements are usually boring as hell (they are!), this one does have an interesting factoid. And boy, I do like factoids.

From April to September of this year, Nintendo sold 40,000 Wiis in Japan and 280,000 in the Americas. Elsewhere or what Nintendo calls “Other”, the company sold 150,000 Wii consoles. During that same period, Nintendo sold 230,000 Wii U consoles in Japan and 230,000 Wii U consoles in the Americas. Elsewhere, Nintendo sold under 10,000 Wii U consoles. Those numbers are all rounded by Nintendo.

Add all that up — as Nintendo did — and during this six month period, Nintendo sold 470,000 Wii consoles worldwide and 460,000 Wii U consoles. Yes, you read that correctly: the Nintendo Wii outsold the Wii U. And these sales numbers for the Wii aren’t so great! Which means they are truly disappointing for the Wii U. What’s more alarming is that the Wii U is only outselling the Wii in Japan.

These underwhelming numbers are understandable. The past six months haven’t been so great for Wii U owners. There are a bunch of exciting Wii U games around the corner, but these sales numbers either indicate that players are still hesitant about the Wii U, or, heck, maybe they’re confused by the Wii U’s naming.

Whatever the reason is, the Wii had to go. It was just getting in the way. It needed to be killed.

Sorry, Nintendo Wii. It was fun. But your tour number was up.


Photo: mjaud / Shutterstock


  • Elsewhere, Nintendo sold under 10,000 Wii U consoles. Those numbers are all rounded by Nintendo.

    Hang on… am I correct in believing that “elsewhere” includes the entire continent of Europe, as well as the rest of Asia (i.e. other than Japan)? And it sold about 10,000 units in 6 months across ALL of that? Is that a typo, i.e. should that have read 100,000 instead of 10,000? Or is Wii U doing even worse than I thought?

    • No, it’s right. I read that in a report a month or two ago, 10,000 units across Europe and Asia. It’s failing miserably to shift anywhere outside the two big markets. I would guess that they’re putting all their marketing into Japan and America.

      • For Europe, I guess one thing that they are struggling with is the exchange rate. The Yen is doing terribly against the Euro (1 Euro equals 135.25 Yen or approximately 100 Yen equals 0.74 Euro) so their trade/marketing would get hammered in a similar situation how the US dollar was screwing them around a while ago.

    • Nope. I was just checking out the financial report and they sold less than 10,000 WiiU units in the rest of the world excluding Japan and the Americas which is strange considering they sold software units totalling 1.77 million for the rest of the world in the same period of time (April to September 2013). This figure is just over double the units sold in Japan.

      Nintendo’s report is a bit weird. They are being hugely optimistic for the WiiU figures (9 million units sold from April 2013 to March 2014 year sounds absurd). They are being hugely optimistic in general too. I hope they don’t pull a Squeenix and get all uppity when their sales projections aren’t met. Although those projections might be from their report last year so it kinda makes sense that they’re out of whack with reality.

    • The linked PDF shows the following on the last page for Wii U hardware during the April-September 2013 period:

      Japan: 23
      The Americas: 23
      Other: (1)
      Total: 46

      (numbers are stated to be tens of thousands of units). If this is following the book-keeping convention of using parentheses to represent negative numbers, this may indicate that Nintendo Japan bought back 10,000 consoles from its distributors in the “Other” region.

      If that is the case then then it either means that sales have completely dried up, or the local distributors grossly overestimated demand earlier and haven’t needed to restock the channel in six months.

  • I’ve said it a lot but they shot themselves in the foot naming this thing the Wii U. It’s not just confusing to the people who don’t know the difference between a NES and a SNES. It lumps it in with the Wii, which a lot of the core Nintendo fans don’t like, even though it’s got nothing to do with the Wii. There are a lot of people who tune out the Wii name under the assumption that it’s just more waggle junk.
    It’s not a Wii. Not even close. It’s a giant NDS. If they had of called it the Super NDS or the NDS XXXXL they’d wouldn’t be struggling so hard to bring in the people who will slap down $500 for a Nintendo console just to play Zelda. They’d have that safety net back.

    They need to release a Super GameBoy like 3DS accessory for the Wii U and then put everything they’ve got into hammering home the point that this console doesn’t use motion controls. Maybe take some of that Wii money down to Blizzard and get them to release Starcraft II for the Wii U.

  • I actually wouldn’t mind a Wii U now… but I don’t have the cash spare to buy one. I bought a wii 6 months ago for $80 or something… but that could be the issue.. a lot of places charge ~$100 for a Wii versus ~$180+ for a WiiU.. they of course are going to shift more units…

  • People are still buying the Wii when Nintendo are trying to push the Wii U. Get rid of the first one and you force people’s hand. Makes sense.

  • Half-price drop needs to become the new RRP. There’s no way around it – WiiU is a current-gen console priced over current-gen and very close to next-gen.

    • Yeah. It’s tricky though because it does actually come with a tablet. I’m loving the Wii U game pad but I can’t help but feel like they backed themselves into a corner on pricing with it.

  • Just a slight correction Nintendo hasn’t 10,000 Wii U’s in Other this fiscal year – they have sold NEGATIVE 10,000 Consoles. This means retailers are returning the Wii U’s to Nintendo and if Nintendo doesn’t fix the situation soon it could mean the Wii U will become all but discontinued in many parts of Other.

  • I am really not surprised by the numbers. Nintendo needs better, new IPs and english localisation. Plenty of good games in japan and yet as “the rest” we get crappy multi platform games. Could not bring myself to pick up wii U just because i like zelda. i want good Rpg games like dragon quest 10, damnit!

  • Most people arent interested in Nintendo. That the answer to this article. Nostalgia doesnt sell games. I dont want to play mario or zelda anymore. Did that 15 years ago.

  • THANKS NINTENDO FOR BEING TIGHT-ASSES. They got rid of the Wii to get more people to buy Wii U – the more expensive option. Let’s face it, Wii U isn’t really any better than the Wii. Sure it has Miiverse, better graphics and a game pad but there’s not much a of a difference considering the CONTENT of the games. Mario is the same game it’s always been for 30 years running. The population prefers cheaper consoles that have diversity. The Wii had that with the Gamecube games on it. Nintendo, you just lost a whole lotta money.

    • Let’s face it, Wii U isn’t really any better than the Wii.

      Have you played one? The Wii U is a games console, the Wii is a platform for simplistic motion control games. Playing Mario on the Wii is nothing like Mario on GameCube or Wii U. See Battalion Wars (NGC) vs Battalion Wars II (Wii). Both insanely good games, but one is almost unplayable.
      I’m not saying that automatically makes the games winners or the Wii U worth owning, but there’s a massive gap between the two consoles. Nintendo are just awful at explaining that.

  • Er, Nintendo wasn’t selling the Family Computer up until 2003, they were supporting the Family Computer until 2003. That is, they were performing repairs and services on the console, until they ran out of replacement parts and were forced to discontinue support.

  • The sadistic part of me enjoys watching this happen to Nintendo.

    They have no idea what they’re doing and the only thing that is working well for them at the moment is the 3DS but you can thank third party developers like Gamefreak with games like Pokemon X & Y for generating these sales.

    They have so much potential to be a great company again but they absolutely don’t know or are too ignorant to do so.

    Their eStore is absolute garbage as well. Why would I pay full RRP for a game when I can get a physical copy cheaper in store half the time?

    And why the heck wouldn’t you release digital SNES collections on the 3DS? GBA too? Instead, they release a couple of games that nobody gives a damn about. Why half do it?

    I just don’t understand why Nintendo do the things they do.

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