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November 26, 2012 8:52 pm
Nintendo sold more than 400,000 Wii Us in the gaming console’s first week on sale, a disappointment compared with its Wii predecessor, although retailers are reported to be sold out of the unit.
The Wii U went on sale in the US on November 18 and the company provided figures until Saturday November 24. The original Wii sold 600,000 units in its first eight days when it was launched in November 2006.
Much is riding on the new console, with Nintendo hoping it will revive sales after it reported its first annual loss in five decades as a public company. The Wii U needs to grab market share ahead of the expected release of next-generation consoles by Microsoft and Sony next year.
“We are essentially sold out at retail. As soon as we replenish product into stores, it is immediately selling through,” Reggie Fils-Aimé, Nintendo US president, told the Financial Times. “We are working with our retail partners to expedite product to their stores as quickly as possible.”
He said Nintendo had learnt a lot of lessons from the launch of the Wii, which was sold out for months to the frustration of consumers, but demand for the new console was still outstripping supplies at the moment.
The Wii U goes on sale in Europe on Friday and in Japan on December 8 and allocations have been set for these regions for the holiday period. “It’s going to be in early 2013 that we can adjust the allocations based on actual sell-through and performance on a region-by-region basis,” Mr Fils-Aimé said.
He reaffirmed Nintendo’s forecast of 5.5m Wii U sales worldwide by March 31, the end of its fiscal year.
The Wii U sells in a $350 Deluxe version in the US, which includes a charging cradle and the Nintendo Land introductory game for the console, and a $300 Basic version. Nintendo did not give a breakdown of these sales but said there were more Deluxe versions available than Basic ones in anticipation of consumer demand.
While some users have reported delays in downloading updates to the Wii U, Mr Fils-Aimé said the only broad network issues were for about 90 minutes on launch day, when the Miiverse online community was down.
The launch of Nintendo TVii, a “second-screen” service offering a TV programme guide, has been delayed until December.
“The reason for the delay was 100 per cent making sure that the product delivers on our expectations, so we just wanted to take more time to get the application as perfect as possible,” Mr Fils-Aimé said.
In other US sales numbers issued by Nintendo on Monday for the same week, the original Wii sold around 300,000 units, the 3DS handheld console 250,000 and the previous generation DS, which was the subject of some deals at retailers, 275,000.
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