Nintendo Wii’s 100m sales – a landmark that rings hollow

It was only 2-3 years ago that some were pondering the possibility of the Nintendo Wii surpassing PS2‘s lifetime 150m sales. And such thought didn’t sound so implausible: the Wii was that much of a sudden, spectacular success, selling more than 25 million units a year at its peak and suffering from much-vaunted supply shortages. Fast forward to today, and Nintendo’s 1QFY2013 earnings release reveals that the console has just crept past 100m units sold worldwide life-to-date. It’s safe to say that the Wii doesn’t have a prayer of ever catching up to PS2. Obviously, and unlike Sony’s console, the Wii has had very lacklustre end-of-lifecycle support from developers. A rush of quality titles like God of War 2, Okami, Shadow of the Colossus, Final Fantasy XII, Persona 3 and Persona 4, as well as annual release of sports franchises, maintained PS2’s relevance deep into its last days. With the notable exception of Skyward Sword and Xenoblade Chronicles, there were few games – let alone good games – being released on the Wii, and it became a platform which for many customers – particularly casuals and non-gamers who bought it for Wii Fit and Wii Sports – ceased to be current a long time ago. This raises the question of whether Wii U should have been released at least a year before it did in 2012. It also goes some way to explaining Wii U’s woes today: the moribund state of the Wii’s ecosystem in the past couple of years, despite its runaway success earlier, would have made consumers and developers alike question the wisdom of investing in its successor.

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