Grab some friends! It's Smash Bros time!
The timely release of this game for the holiday season is incredible news for the company. Although the Wii U released in late 2012, the console has caused Nintendo to operate at a financial loss for the past few years. For the fiscal year of 2013, for instance, Nintendo lost $456 million. The main problems with the Wii U thus far have been a lack of games to purchase, weaker processing power compared to the PS4 and Xbox One, a lack of advertising, and general confusion about the system's unique game-pad component.
However, things are starting to shape up for the console. With the release of Mario Kart 8 this summer, customers purchased 2.82 million Wii U's in the span of just one month. This doubled the rate at which Wii U consoles were selling, and since more people around the globe owned Nintendo's console, software sales began to increase as well.
Wii U sales analysis for Apr - Sept 2014. Hardware and software sales are up by 200%!
The Wii U officially became profitable in October. There have been 7 million Wii U's shipped world wide, which is behind Sony's 10 million PS4's, but ahead of Microsoft's 5 million Xbox One's. This was a crucial step for the company - now that the Wii U is turning a profit, Nintendo stands to earn a fortune on Super Smash Bros 4 sales. Historically, Super Smash Bros has been in the top 10 highest-selling games list for each console, earning 5 million on the N64, 7 million on the Gamecube, and 12 million on the Wii.
Nintendo estimates that, just as Mario Kart 8 doubled Wii U sales this summer, Super Smash Bros sales will double console sales again this holiday season. If this is true, Wii U sales will climb to 14 million worldwide. Depending on how well the PS4 and Xbox One sell this Christmas, this may mean Wii U becomes the highest selling console of this generation!
Regardless of which company sells the most consoles, it is great to see another video game company turn profitable. Many business analysts have expressed concerns that video game consoles may be coming to an end very soon, thanks to the success of mobile gaming on smart phones. Last generation, the Nintendo Wii was wildly successful thanks to its cheap price and accessibility to "casual" gamers - people who do not play video games very often. To put this in perspective, the Nintendo Wii sold over 80 million copies worldwide, which is more than triple the amount of Wii U's, PS4's, and Xbox One's sold combined!
The birth of smart phones. The death of gaming consoles?
With the introduction of smartphones in 2007, however, the appeal of video game consoles to casual gamers evaporated. Why pay hundreds of dollars per console and $60 per game when I can play games for free on the phone I already own? This very real problem has made it much more difficult for Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo to turn a profit.
However, now that Nintendo stands to earn some serious profit with Smash Bros, video game consoles may yet live on another generation. Even though smart phones may have rendered the industry less lucrative than it once was, console gaming is still a profitable venture - for now. With any luck, this ailing form of entertainment will remain relevant and live on for future generations.
Make sure to do your part and pick up a copy of Super Smash Bros for Wii U this Christmas!