Nintendo's Wii U had a rough January, CNET has learned.
Nintendo sold only 57,000 Wii U units in the U.S. in January, a person familiar with NPD's game industry sales data has confirmed to CNET. The leading console maker during the period, Microsoft, sold 281,000 units in January.
The Wii U's trouble in January stands in stark contrast to its predecessor, the Wii. In its first January on store shelves in 2007, Nintendo sold 435,000 console units.
That Nintendo is having trouble selling Wii U units is not new. The company's CEO Satoru Iwata last month characterized Wii U sales as "not bad." That came just days before Microsoft and Nintendo announced their unit sales of all consoles for December. During that period, Microsoft sold nearly 1 million more consoles.
The Wii U's troubles negatively affected Nintendo's earnings for the nine-month period that ended December 31. The company said that it sold only 3 million Wii U units since its launch in November, adding that upcoming games, including new entries in the Legend of Zelda franchise, could "help Nintendo regain momentum for Wii U."
Still, that a console that has been on store shelves for just three months is selling so few units is shocking. It's something that gamers would expect from unknown game companies, but that it's a Nintendo issue, especially given its recent successes, is surprising.
CNET has contacted Nintendo for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.