Mario Kart 8 selling slower in US than Double Dash, MK7 and MK Wii

The sales for Mario Kart 8 in the US in its first two months on store shelves are out. The game managed to move an impressive 885k copies during May (two days) and all of June. That means 470k in June and 315k in May for Nintendo’s fantastic racer.

But how does this release compare against past Mario Kart games? Well it doesn’t compare well at first glance but there are several factors into this that explain it and practically excuse it from not measuring up to the early success of Mario Kart 7, Double Dash and Wii.

First let’s compare the first two months of Mario Kart sales since the N64 release:

Mario Kart 64- February 1997 350k
Mario Kart 64- March 1997 350k
First two months: 700k

Mario Kart: Super Circuit- August 2001 107K
Mario Kart: Super Circuit- September 2001 183K
Two months: 291k

Mario Kart: Double Dash- November 2003 528K
Mario Kart: Double Dash- December 2003730K
Two months: 1.26 million

Mario Kart DS- November 2005 222K
Mario Kart DS- December 2005 431K
Two months: 653k

Mario Kart Wii- April 2008 1.1 million
Mario Kart Wii- May 2008 787K
Two months: 1.9 million

Mario Kart 7- December 2011 1.2 million
Mario Kart 7- January 2012 149K
Two months: 1.34 million

Mario Kart 8- May 2014 315K
Mario Kart 8- June 2014 470K
Two months: 885k

Right away Mario Kart 8’s US debut seems to be the lowest for the series since Mario Kart DS and 64. It has the fourth best debut period in the US of all 3D Mario Kart titles.

But to leave it at that would be deceiving. Mario Kart DS, Double Dash and Kart 7 all launched in the holiday season or very close to it. The DS and GameCube were rolling off recent price drops too. The GameCube got a price cut to $99 in September 2003 just before Double Dash released just like how the DS got a price cut to $129 in late 2005 as well.

As far as best performing non-holiday release Mario Kart, 8 might take the cake. The holidays typically give games of all sorts a significant sales boost. Just look at how high Mario Kart 7’s December 2011 sales are and how far they drop in January 2012.

There’s also the fact that MK8 only had two days in May to amass sales, releasing on May 30th. It sold 885k copies in 32 days essentially which is very, very good. Double Dash took 53 days during the holidays to hit 1.26 million, Mario Kart DS took 47 days to hit 653k (surprisingly). Mario Kart Wii is actually very comparable as it released April 27th, 2008 in the US. That gave it 35 days to sell 1.9 million copies. But of course no one should expect Mario Kart 8 to replicate MK Wii’s early sales due to the high volume of Wii owners in early 2008 making that goal almost unattainable.

So it appears that Mario Kart 8 has had the best debut of any 3D Mario Kart outside of the holidays with the exception of Mario Kart Wii. I have no doubt that the game will probably push 200k-500k copies during November and December this year too and will be a big selling point for the Wii U. While it may never best the sales of Mario Kart Wii or Mario Kart DS (very few games ever will) I would imagine these fantastic early sales will push it past Double Dash (3.8 million in US) and Super Circuit. I could even see it passing Mario Kart 64’s 5.5 million US sales by the time the curtain draws on this generation.

It’s a fantastic game that truly deserves the success its having. Wii U sales rose to 140k during June in the US, the highest non-holiday month since September 2013 when Nintendo sold 95k units off a $50 price cut and Wind Waker HD. Hopefully for Nintendo Mario Kart 8 has long legs and pushes the Wii U commercially until Smash Bros, Hyrule Warriors and Bayonetta 2 arrive in the fall.