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NPD: Wii U Sales Soften Gaming Woes

7 Dec, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey


The retail gaming industry saw an 11% year-over-year decline in sales during November, but that’s still the smallest year-over-year decrease in both dollars and unit sales in 2012, according to data from The NPD Group.

Boosted by the Nov. 18 launch of Nintendo’s Wii U, the industry brought in $2.55 billion for the month. Overall hardware sales were $838.9 million, down 13%, but still a positive indicator for the industry, according to NPD industry analyst Liam Callahan.

“November 2012 was the lowest hardware decline for dollar sales we have seen in year-over-year trends so far this year,” he said. “The new Wii U console brought in more dollars than the Wii launch in November 2006, up 21% from that launch month. With an average price 35% higher for the Wii U at launch compared to the Wii, this is an example of how consumers are willing to come out and spend when they see the value of the product.”

Only one week of Wii U sales were counted in the data, and during that time Nintendo moved more than 425,000 units, according to Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America's EVP of sales and marketing. Nintendo sold more than 1.75 million hardware units — including the Wii, Wii U and Nintendo DS — during the month.

"Wii U is off to a tremendous start in the United States, is essentially sold out at retail and has cemented its status as the 'must-have' product this holiday season,” Moffitt said.

The Xbox 360 led overall hardware sales for the 16th consecutive month, Callahan said, but the Wii U could challenge that during its first full month of sales, especially during the Christmas season.

“It's important to compare this month’s results to November 2005, which was the last time the industry began to transition between console generations with the launch of a new platform,” he said. “Comparing this month’s results to November 2005, retail video games sales are nearly twice as big as they were then (plus 97%). This really demonstrates the long-term health of retail sales even as many platforms are quite late in their lifecycles.”

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