To say that Nintendo's Wii U had a troubling fiscal first quarter might be an understatement.
The game company on Wednesday announced that during that period during April, May, and June , it sold only 160,000 Wii U units worldwide, bringing its grand total since its launch last year to just 3.6 million units sold. During the three-month period, Nintendo sold just a little over 1 million software units globally.
Each month, research firm NPD releases market data on the U.S. gaming market, and although it doesn't announce console unit sales figures, it's been clear that the Wii U isn't selling well. That the console is having such trouble elsewhere around the world, as well, speaks to just how unpopular the Wii U is.
In its earnings release on Wednesday, Nintendo acknowledged that it's having some trouble with Wii U, but argued that it's "mainly due to the release of few key first-party titles this quarter to strongly drive the hardware sales." Nintendo also believes it isn't doing enough to show the real value of its software:
Nintendo strives to improve the sales by communicating the compelling nature of our hardware and software to as many people as possible through our network service called "Miiverse," which offers an environment where people can empathize with others and share their gaming experiences.
Despite that, the Wii U is facing an uphill battle. The console, while an improvement over its predecessor, is substantially more expensive, with its Deluxe set retailing for $350. What's worse for Nintendo, the company will soon be challenged by Sony's PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft Xbox One, which promise better visuals and more entertainment-friendly features. A price cut -- something Nintendo has brushed off for months -- might be in order.
Even with the Wii U's troubles, however, Nintendo overall had a strong quarter, posting net sales of 81.5 billion yen ($830 million). Although that figure was down from 84.8 billion yen in the same period in 2012, Nintendo was able to post an 8.6 billion yen profit. During the same period last year, it lost 17.2 billion yen.
So, where was the silver lining? Mobile and digital. Nintendo was able to sell 1.4 million 3DS units during the period, representing a 12 percent gain over the prior year. The 3DS' software sales were up 10 percent to 2.15 million units. Even the Wii, which has been on store shelves for years, had a somewhat strong quarter, with 210,000 unit sales and 3.7 million software unit sales.
On the digital side, things went well for Nintendo, with downloadable content revenue jumping nearly 150 percent year over year.