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Nintendo Wii U vs Wii: Unit sales down, but revenue up

Wii U Screenshot - 1133406

Nintendo's Wii U is selling less than the original Wii, but because it costs more it has actually managed to outperform its predecessor in terms of revenue. For the month of December 2012, Nintendo managed to sell 460,000 Wii U units, bringing the total U.S. sales to nearly 890,000 in the United States -- after only 41 days on the market.

"Sales of the Wii U were lower on a unit basis when compared to the original Wii in December 2006. However, due to its higher price, the Wii U generated 3% more dollar sales year-to-date compared to the Wii at the end of 2006," the latest report from NPD stated. NPD tracks monthly sales figures for the video game industry in the U.S.

Nintendo added in its own press release that the Wii U recorded $300 million in revenue, which is more than the $270 the original Wii earned at the same point in its life cycle. However, when the Wii launched in 2006 it cost only $250. The Wii U, on the other hand, costs $300 for the Basic and $350 for the Deluxe bundle.

Nintendo of America's Executive VP of Sales & Marketing put it perfectly: "While the Wii launch established new benchmarks in the United States, Wii U has surpassed its predecessor in perhaps the most important category: revenue generation."

"The demand for the Deluxe SKU, which was essentially sold out at retail this holiday, and the strong attach rate of New Super Mario Bros. U, shows that we have the value and the games to drive momentum in 2013. We look forward to offering great new experiences and bringing smiles to millions of new faces throughout the year," he concluded.

Nintendo sold more than 2.65 million hardware units in the U.S. for the month of December 2012. 2012 marked the 11th consecutive year that Nintendo has sold at least 8 million hardware units in the U.S.

Sales of Nintendo’s new Wii U console have hit 890,000 in its first 41 days on the market.

The Wii U launched in the US on November 18 and quite a few units were pre-ordered. However, it’s worth noting that the console is still not available in many markets, so the figures don’t exactly paint the full picture.

Nintendo managed to shift 470,000 units in December and sales appear to be somewhat slower than the original Wii, launched in 2006. However, the Wii U generated more profit for the company, as it is somewhat pricier than its predecessor.

It’s not a bad start, but we have yet to see how Microsoft’s and Sony’s next-gen consoles will do.

That didn’t stop Nintendo of America’s EVP of Sales & Marketing Scott Moffitt from singing the company’s praises: “While the Wii launch established new benchmarks in the United States, Wii U has surpassed its predecessor in perhaps the most important category: revenue generation.”

Moffitt, however, did not comment on profits.

The Wii U has two editions: The deluxe offering that costs $350 and the basic offering for $300. The deluxe edition sold out at retail this holiday, and both editions were difficult to find after the Nov. 18 launch. But it was nothing like the launch of the Wii, which experienced shortages for months. Nintendo did run into a few hiccups at launch with customers experiencing long waits for mandatory software updates. Additionally, some of the device’s most notable features, like its TVii service, did not launch until later in the month.

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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