Sales for the Wii U right now are not as strong as what Nintendo had hope for. However, that apparently is not enough to keep the “Big N” from turning a profit. In fact, the video game publisher said that it has returned to profit thanks, in part, to the continued success of the 3DS.
According to a financial report released by Nintendo, it made $831 million in revenue during the first quarter of the year. This is down when compared to the same time last year. However, it does show that Nintendo is back to making money again. In fact, the same report showed a net income of close to $87.7 million.
So if it was not the Wii U that has helped the company return to profitability, what was it? Apparently, it was the company’s handheld, the 3DS. Nintendo has seen a huge surge in profits thanks to this little handheld, which has taken the market by storm. Sales for this system are actually up 12 percent compared to the same time last year. A lot of this has to do with the hits that have been coming out for the system, including Shin Megami Tensei IV, Fire Emblem Awakening, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon and Project X Zone.
Of course, the fact that the 3DS is dominating the handheld market should not come as a shock to anyone. Nintendo has always been known as the king of the handheld market, ever since the GameBoy was released. Typically, Nintendo’s handhelds are underpowered compared to other systems out at the same time. For example, the GameBoy was underpowered compared to the GameGear, which was released by Sega. The same can be said for the PSP, which was more powerful than the DS. Currently, the PS Vita is more powerful than the 3DS. Unfortunately for Sony, this has not translated into sales, and the 3DS continues to steal the show.
That being said, Nintendo is still struggling to get its footing in the home console market. After the huge success of the Wii, the Wii U has failed to catch on at the same pace. Right now, sales for the Wii U are close to 3.61 million worldwide. Not only that, Nintendo has only sold about 160,000 Wii U systems since the end of its last fiscal quarter. Thankfully for Nintendo, the 3DS was the best-selling system in the world. Talk about going from one extreme to the other.
People could blame the lack of Wii U sales on many things. However, there are two main reasons that the system is not selling. First is the lack of quality advertising. Many casual gamers out there are still confused as to what the Wii U is. They are not even fully aware that the Wii U is a new system and not an add-on for the Wii. Second, the system is lacking content. There are not many games that are system sellers and exclusive to the Wii U right now.
The good news is that Nintendo has a chance this holiday season to turn things around. A number of great games will be released this holiday season, and this will be the perfect time to drum up some support for the Wii U. Games like Pikmin 3, Super Mario 3D World, Wii Fit U and The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker HD may prove to be system sellers. Not only that, but there are a huge number of third-party games coming to the Wii U as well. This includes Watch Dogs, Batman Arkham City Origins, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, Sonic Lost World, The Wonderful 101 and Call of Duty Ghosts. That being said, a large number of popular Wii U titles won’t be released until next year. This includes Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros. Wii U and Bayonetta 2.
While Nintendo is continuing to fight for its spot on your entertainment center, the PS4 and Xbox One continue to ramp up hype. Both systems hope to make a splash when they release this year. Both systems are more powerful than the Wii U but also come with a higher price tag. The Wii U’s best chance of beating these systems will be to have a price drop just before the holiday season starts. This may prove to be just enough to get sales for the Wii U moving again. Nintendo could also benefit from a new marketing campaign that clearly shows that the Wii U is a new system and not just an add-on for the Wii.