WiiU Outsells PS4 in Japan, End Times Potentially Near

Posted: May 30, 2014 in Current Gaming
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hell Frozen Over

So last week, this happened:

Wii U outsells PS4 in Infamous’ first week in Japan

No, mass chaos did not ensue, there is no zombie apocalypse, and I saw no signs of Hell freezing over…despite the header I added to this blog.

First of all, we need to figure out what this DOESN’T mean for the WiiU. It doesn’t mean that the WiiU is suddenly going to start outpacing the PS4. Keep in mind that it only took a few months for the PS4 to completely pass the WiiU’s worldwide sales. In addition to that, the PS4 continues to outsell the WiiU in the worldwide market. This doesn’t foretell a future trend for the WiiU in other markets. Japan, like other markets, is very unique and have their own quirks, just like North America or Europe. Most certainly, this doesn’t mean that Nintendo can declare some sort of victory and rest on their laurels.

Oh, don't be so smug.

Oh, don’t be so smug.

Frankly, I’m most surprised that people are surprised by this. An article I looked at cited an interesting trend in regards to the first few weeks of WiiU sales versus the first few weeks of PS4 sales:

Week 1: WiiU – 308,142 Units / PS4 – 309,104 Units
Week 2: WiiU – 126,916 Units / PS4 – 65,685 Units
Week 3: WiiU – 122,843 Units / PS4 – 35,294 UnitsYeah, that’s a might big drop-off for the PS4 after it’s first week of sales. What was evident right away was that in Japan, the sales would be closer than in other areas at time passed and the new wore off the PS4. It may have taken a while, but the WiiU did finally catch up, and that’s kind of what the sales curves were predicting. Still, what else can we take away from this.

Yes, exactly. See, this isn’t so much that the WiiU is just amazing, it’s just that the PS4 lowered itself to the WiiU’s level, then decided to go lower. So, if these two are selling so poorly, then what is selling in Japan.

1. Nintendo 3DS LL – 20,304
2. PS Vita –13,334

What could those two have in common…? Maybe it’s that they’re both handhelds. Just a thought. Truthfully though, I think the main takeaway here is that Japan may have, over the past few years, morphed into a handheld dominant territory. Even with questionable software lineups, one of the two new consoles should be rivaling the two older handhelds, yet they are far behind. I don’t think you can blame software here. Yes, I think both the WiiU and PS4 are soft on software (sorry for the redundancy there), but Infamous is a big release, and it did very little here. Also, the past few generations have had questionable software right out of the gate, lacking those “must have” titles that sell consoles, yet this low level of sales is new to this generation. No, I don’t think you can point at the negatives of the consoles, but instead have to point at the positives of the handhelds. They are more affordable, have stronger libraries already in place, and are convenient.

This isn’t new for Japan, where the DS was a beast and the PSP was a tough luck loser, but still highly successful. I think that, again, this all points to a change in the market in Japan. What’s important to remember about that though, is that we’re only speaking of Japan. In other regions, the newer consoles are still doing well…or at least those not called “WiiU” are doing well. So, for Nintendo, this is kind of cool. They’re beating a rival in their home country. They could use some good news after what has happened with the WiiU so far. Still, this is not a trend in the larger marketplace. It is a quirk. A cool quirk if you’re Nintendo, but a quirk none the less.

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