In our latest Shockcast I said that today would have been a crucial day to evaluate the performance of the Wii U in its home country, as the newest sales charts would have showcased the sales of Dragon Quest X. The launch of a Dragon Quest title is always a very big deal in Japan and I expected this to be no different.
As someone that always hopes to see success for any major console (after all close competition is always good for gamers), I hoped to see Dragon Quest X move at least 200,000 units, coming up first. I actually was shooting low, considering the limited installed base and the fact that the game is already out on the Wii.
I was wrong. Here’s the rather discouraging top 10 chart for software (lifetime sales are in parenthesis and titles released this week are bolded), courtesy of Media Create.
Seeing the launch of a Dragon Quest title in Japan doing this poorly paints a very gloomy picture for the Wii U, showing that the console simply hasn’t been accepted by the general public, mostly due to it’s paper-thin game library.
Things actually seem to look a little better on the on the hardware side:
Dragon Quest X pretty much doubled the unit sales of the Wii U thanks to the rich bundle, moving up from last week’s rather negative 11,398 unit sold. Sounds good? Not quite. Again, a Dragon Quest title moving only 11,000 consoles in Japan can easily be seen as an unmitigated disaster. Even the PS Vita outsold the Wii U with 31,795 units moved, and it didn’t have any big hitting game this week besides Oboro Muramasa (which is a very good game, but very far from a killer application).
In comparison when Dragon Quest X launched on the Wii not only it sold 367,148 copies during its first week, but it helped moving 42,155 units of the console compared to 10,170 moved the week before. And we’re talking about the Wii, that was already firmly on its way out back then then, without counting that by last August almost everyone that was interested in having one most probably already had his own.
There is a mitigating factor in this dark picture: as far as I know Media Create doesn’t track digital sales, and those that already got the game on the Wii were encouraged to purchase a digital copy on the Square Enix store with a discount. Unfortunately the fact that the game moved only 11,000 units of the console more than the previous week is a much more defining factor, and makes me seriously doubt that digital sales were that stellar as well.
While I would definitely say that the Wii U is in trouble, this doesn’t nearly mean that the console is dead yet. Nintendo can definitely do much (or at least something) to improve its performance. That said, we’re getting to the point where that “Much” (or something) really needs to be done fast.