Nintendo Wii wins December console wars

The NPD Group has confirmed that Nintendo shattered previous sales records by offloading 3.81 million Wii consoles (in North America) during the month of December.

“Prior to this month, the most units of a single game machine sold in a single month was the DS’ record of 3.04 million in December 2008. Nintendo shattered that record twice this month, moving 3.81 million Wii and 3.31 million DS,” wrote PC World’s Jared Newman.

“When you compare those sales with the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3, which by any other standard had a good month, it’s just embarrassing. The Wii sold almost three times as many units last month as either of the other two consoles.”

Meanwhile, EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich told TG Daily that Nintendo clearly “understands the mindsets of its consumers.”

“This is why Nintendo rarely releases sequels within the same generation and, if they do, they are years apart. A good example of this is Mario Kart. Instead of releasing an annual Mario Kart title, Nintendo opts to only release one Mario Kart per hardware generation,” Divnich explained in an e-mailed statement to TG Daily.

“Traditional thinking would assume that after an initial sales bump Mario Kart would simply just fade away on retail shelves—as so many others do.

“However, Nintendo realizes that if you can get an initial attachment rate on Mario Kart of 25% in 2008, they should be able to get the same attachment for new Wii purchasers in 2009 without having to release a sequel. To no surprise, the attachment rate for Mario Kart in 2009 was identical to that of 2008.”

Divnich added that the popular Wii Fit was yet another example of Nintendo’s marketing savvy.

“Whilst Nintendo did release a sequel to Wii Fit, The Wii Fit Plus (2009), the overwhelming majority of sales did not come from the stand-alone software edition, but rather the hardware/software bundle of the Wii Fit Plus. 

”In other words the release of the expansion, which likely had minimal development costs, spurred sales of a 20 month old game wrapped in new packaging.”