• Sales figures are in for the month of January and it doesn’t look good for Nintendo and the Wii U. According to Gamasutra Wii U sales for the month of January were “well under” 100,000 units and CNET is reporting that the actual figure is close to 57,000 units.  The NPD Group won’t provide specific numbers but they have said that Wii U sales for its first three months are down 38% from the original Wii during the same point in time.  That is kind of odd since the Wii U hasn’t even been out for three months yet but the fact remains that Nintendo and their new console did not have a good month in January.

    What does this mean for the Wii U?  Well, it is too early to say.  There will be some outlets with doom and gloom predictions that pronounce the Wii U is already a failure.  It is far too early to say that however as the Wii U has reportedly sold three million hardware units worldwide with 11 million pieces of software.  While that won’t set the world on fire it is a solid performance for a console that has only been out a little over two months by the time the end of January rolled around.  The poor performance by the Wii U in January can most likely be attributed to the lack of new titles rather than anything else.  It is the same problem that every console has where two months after release you have gone through the launch lineup and you have to wait a little while before new games start showing up.  The new Xbox and new PlayStation will go through a similar drought this time next year.

    The 3DS had a similarly slow start at the beginning which had naysayers calling it a failure and claiming Nintendo didn’t know what they were doing anymore.  Of course what happened next is that Nintendo slashed the 3DS price and the 3DS has gone on to sell exceptionally well dominating the dedicated handheld gaming market and outselling some consoles from time to time.  Will we see a similar price cut with the Wii U?  Only time will tell obviously but it is certainly a possibility.  The precedent has been set with the 3DS and contrary to what some people think Nintendo isn’t stupid.

    The lead up to E3 (as well as E3 itself) should be very interesting to see how Nintendo handles the Wii U.  As we all know software sells hardware.  Over the past month or so Nintendo has revealed quite a few titles that will be coming to the Wii U.  Not only is a new Mario 3D adventure on the way but it will be in playable form at E3.  Nintendo has also revealed that a new Mario Kart for the Wii U will also be playable at E3.  Smash Bros will also most likely make an appearance.  The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker HD remake will be hitting the Wii U this fall.  In just a few weeks Capcom will be releasing Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the Wii U.  While Monster Hunter has never had big success in North America it is a huge franchise in Japan that will sell Wii U units (as well as 3DS units for the 3DS version).

    The month of March will finally see some new Wii U titles hit the sytem.  On March 5 Wii U gamers will get The Amazing Spider-Man Ultimate Edition.  On March 18th Wii U gamers will finally be able to get their hands on Lego City: Undercover.  March 19th sees the release of both Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and Need for Speed Most Wanted on the Wii U.  March 26th will see The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct hit the Wii U and Pandora’s Tower will hit the Wii (which can be played on the Wii U).  There are other titles as well that “hardcore” gamers don’t necessarily care about but party games such as “The Croods: Prehistoric Party!” and “Kids Learn Pets and Vets Bundle”.  While we might scoff at these games the fact of the matter is that they tend to sell decently.

    The Wii U had a bad month in January.  There is no way around that.  The factors I have outlined above were a chief contributor to that.  The Wii U currently doesn’t have that “killer app” for people but once the new Mario 3D adventure comes out or the next Mario Kart then I can almost guarantee you that Wii U sales pick up.  A price drop wouldn’t either and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was an E3 announcement. Nobody truly knows what is going to happen but it should be interesting to see how it all plays out over the course of the next few months, throughout 2013 and beyond.

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