The Wii U is a major gamble for Nintendo, and as such many don't expect it to perform that well at retail. Lightning never strikes twice as they say, and Nintendo can't possibly replicate the Wii's success all over again, right? Well, it's safe to say that Nintendo is at least off to a good start.
Speaking to CNET, the company said that it sold 400,000 Wii U units in its first week on store shelves. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said the sales might be a bit lower than expected due to the console being sold out at retail. The company is working to get more consoles to retailers over the coming weeks, but he says that the console is "selling out immediately" when it gets restocked.
Besides the relative success of the Wii U, last week was pretty stellar for Nintendo. The company sold 300,000 Wii units, 250,000 3DS units, and 275,000 DS units. Overall, Nintendo sold 1.2 million hardware units in total over the last week. That's not bad at all for the first major holiday shopping week of the year.
Of course, there may be some concern over the DS outselling the 3DS, but Fils-Aime has an explanation for that. He says that Black Friday discounts pushed DS sales beyond that of its more expensive successor. Even then, the 3DS is still comparatively outselling the original DS over the same time period. In its first 21 months at retail, the DS only sold five million units compared to the 3DS' current six million units.
Getting back to the Wii U, Nintendo has told investors that it expects to sell 5.5 million hardware units by the end of March. The console is launching in Europe and Australia this week, and it hits Japan on December 8. Both territories are getting Premium Editions with popular games packed in that will help drive sales among core gamers. Now we just have to wait and see if casual consumers pick up on the Wii U hype.