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Nintendo’s Wii U Struggled In January

wiiu

Nintendo’s Wii U struggled in January, selling “well under” 100,000 units, a person familiar with NPD Group’s game industry research told Gamasutra.  On the other hand, Microsoft was again on top of the game console sales charts selling 281,000 units of the Xbox 360 console last month, according to NPD Group.

Wii U, which was introduced in November 2012, has had trouble catching on, plus its exclusive titles have yet to make a serious presence on the NPD software top ten compared with DS/3DS titles last year.

If you did deeper into Wii U’s numbers, hardware sales for its first three months on the market were 38 percent lower than the Wii’s across the same period, NPD said.  The group didn’t break out the number further, but Wii U is estimated to have sold between 45,000 and 59,000 for the month, which is lower than any of three previous-generation home consoles sold in their worst months, with the possible exception of a recent performance by the original Wii, Gamasutra said.

As for Xbox 360?  It was the best-selling piece of overall hardware, as it has been for the last 18 months. January was also the console’s twenty-fifth month as the leading console.

Overall video game sales weren’t as strong as they looked.  The NPD Group said that overall video game sales for the month of January 2013 grew 9 percent to $834.7 million in the U.S., compared to the same period of last year, but that’s because an extra week was added to the tracking period this year.

If you account for the extra week, video game sales were actually down 13 percent.  Hardware and software sales were also down if you account for that extra week.  NPD reported that hardware sales had a slight jump of 4% to $205 million, but they were actually down 17 percent when corrected.  Software totaled almost $393 million, an insignificant change from the year before despite the extra week, but actually down 19 percent when corrected.

These figures, which didn’t account for digital and online sales, suggest that gamers continue to move away from traditional gaming consoles.  NPD said accessories sales jumped 30 percent to $256.6 million, but actually only rose 4 percent if you account for the extra week.  Accessories sales were helped by Skylander Giants toys and renewed subscriptions to Xbox Live.

BestTechie has contacted Nintendo for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.

— Cassie Slane

Cassie Slane is a technology and consumer products expert and appears as an electronics guest on QVC and Philly's Fox 29 Channel. She has been a producer and writer for major media outlets including Bloomberg News, CNBC, and CNN.