Well we’re getting some data on what effect the Wii U price cut last month had on hardware sales and while Nintendo still has a long way to go things are looking better. The Wii U not only saw a $50 price cut during the month but also notable releases like Rayman Legends, Scribblenauts Unmasked, Wind Waker HD (digital) and The Wonderful 101. In addition to that Batman Arkham Origins, Assassin’s Creed IV, Wii Party U, and Sonic Lost World are coming this month. November holds even more good Wii U software with Wii Sports Club, Wii Fit U, Super Mario 3D World, and Call of Duty Ghosts.
Japan didn’t seem to care about the Wii U price cut all that much. Wind Waker HD debuted to the worst first week sales in Zelda history in Japan and the Wii U is already back to selling a low amount of units per week. Europe is a bit harder to read but we do know that Wii U sales went up by about 685% since the price cut in the UK.
In America it appears that Wii U system sales rose by 200% during September, totaling around 90k units. This isn’t a great number but considering it was moving 30k units the month before its a miracle. There was a lot of fear that Wind Waker HD wouldn’t prove to be a system seller. It didn’t help the console that much in Japan but clearly helped to push it higher in other regions.
Not only that but many speculated that the Wii U didn’t receive a big enough price cut. The basic set was already $299 before being taken off shelves so some thought that consumers wouldn’t see a difference in price because the entry price of the platform was unchanged, the only difference was that $300 got you 24GB more storage and a game.
I’d say the Wii U price cut has been a success so far though it isn’t a run away hit yet. I think its pretty impressive that despite a major game like GTA V not coming out on the Wii U that system sales rose this much in America. I’ll admit I was preparing for a doomsday scenario where the Wii U barely passed 50k units with the price reduction.
There is still work left to be done for Nintendo. They need to revamp the system’s marketing as it is still terrible and virtually non-existent. Also they need to bring those European Wii U bundles to the US and maybe even sell some of them at a lower price for a limited time.
In Europe and Japan they’re releasing a white 8GB system that includes Just Dance 2014 and Nintendo Land and another 8GB SKU with Wii Party U and Nintendo Land. It appears that they want to sell these new SKUs for the same price as the $299 regular SKU but selling them at a discount during the holidays would be wise.
Microsoft is selling the Xbox 360 at a $20/$50 discount for the second straight year. Perhaps Nintendo should take a note from them and sell Wii U systems, at least the 8GB units with these party games, for $249-$279? If they did so during the holidays they’d increase the user base while only selling at a loss for a short period of time.
Another important thing is to get a steady stream of big first party software out in 2014. Donkey Kong is coming in February so a late March or April release for Mario Kart 8 would be ideal. Monolith’s X, Bayonetta 2 and Super Smash Bros are all harder to peg down to a release window sadly.
There is a long road ahead of the Wii U but this news is very good. I can’t remember the last non-holiday and non-launch month for the Vita where its sales got close to 100k. Much of the system’s success rides on first party software like Super Mario 3D World and Wii Fit U. Hopefully they continue this trend of rising sales.Wii U price cut boosts sales but there's still more work to be done,