Nintendo’s Dominance on the Wii

Nintendo Dominates Unit Sales on the Wii, Capitalizes on Long History of Intertwining Games With Platforms

January 30, 2010 – Of 72.4 million total unit sales for the Wii in 2009, 27.5 million were made by Nintendo and accounted for 47 percent of total sales in dollars said industry analyst Michael Pachter on January 26.

In addition, Nintendo held the top 6 highest selling games on the Wii, 9 of the top ten and fifteen of the top twenty-one in 2009. Two critically acclaimed, mature titles, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles and Dead Space Extraction claimed spots 151 and 261, which Pachter points out is a strong example of why other publishers have complained about the lack of success that they’ve had on the Wii. Nintendo has claimed that the key to success on the Wii is making strong games and putting out high quality products. But, Pachter notes that the real issue is that “the Wii audience is far more casual and harder to reach than the PS3 or 360 audiences,” which means that general marketing efforts to reach a gamer audience isn’t reaching the majority of Wii owners.

The real key, however, to sales on the Wii appears to be Nintendo’s long history of game development and the cultivation of characters that have become well known throughout the industry. Nintendo titles featuring characters such as Mario and Link always sell well because of their long history and the commitment that Nintendo has made to creating high quality titles featuring these characters. Reputation is key.

In addition, it’s worth nothing that throughout Nintendo’s recent history – from the Nintendo 64 to the Gamecube to the Wii – Nintendo have always done best on Nintendo platforms. Microsoft and Sony have defined themselves more by the platform they’ve created than by the games they make. They rely on the power of their platforms to lure developers in and as a result, a wide variety of developers find success on the Xbox 360 and PS3. However, if Sony and Microsoft both had the same history that Nintendo has in the industry, perhaps we would see a similar effect upon their respective consoles.

At the end of the day, Nintendo’s spectacular success on the Wii involves the creation of a platform that appeals across many different age and gender gaps and a history of quality games revolving around unique characters that have been a part of their company for decades.

Expect Nintendo to continue to dominate sales on the Wii.