Wii U sales are picking up, finally, according to several new reports. The latest Nintendo console, the first next gen console to come out, came out in November 2012 to initial banner sales but a severe slump, largely caused by a lack of games worth playing, quickly took hold and remained in effect until Nintendo's so-called "launch window" ended. But recent releases have helped the console significantly, especially in Japan. The future is still murky, but looks better than it did.
Wii U sales actually doubled in Japan compared to the prior week; the sales are still no great shakes, but the console did beat the much-cheaper PS3, which naturally has a robust library. No particular release drove the sales boom; while Game and Wario came out, it didn't do particularly well, and the Wii U rerelease of Dragon Quest X did so poorly that retailers (and Square Enix) are complaining. But it's a port of an original that came out for Wii quite some time ago, so the low sales are understandable. And Wii U console sales, whatever their cause, are only good news.
Wii U sales in Japan continue to be completely eclipsed by the Nintendo 3DS, and to some extent the PlayStation Vita. Both the vanilla 3DS and the 3DS XL, counted individually, significantly outsold the Wii U. This is, in some ways, good news; the 3DS had some of the same problems Wii U had when it was launched, but after a price cut and an increasingly robust software library of great first-party (Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon), second-party (Fire Emblem: Awakening), and third-party (Resident Evil: Revelations) titles, it has truly taken root.
Wii U sales in the UK jumped even higher from week-to-week; sales jumped a full 125 percent, largely thanks to Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, its new hardware bundle, and a few retailer-driven discounts across the UK. Lego City Undercover, another Wii U exclusive, also performed very well in the UK.
Wii U sales in the US have not picked up correspondingly, nor have there been many local price cuts. Retailers, including GameStop, have begun complaining about the console's low sales, but GameStop in particular is optimistic over the long haul. According to Geeky Gadgets, GameStop President Tony Bartel said:
I still think that there is tremendous opportunity from a consumer standpoint, that they do not understand the tethered tablet, the way that the gameplay worked. I think that the marketing has not broken through the level that it needs to, and in spite of efforts of our team to really talk about that, and educate consumers about that, I think that we still have an education process we need to go through. More importantly, I think where you're really going to see Wii U take off is when there is a strong first-party title, that's what we've always seen. And the fact that we really did launch without a strong first-party title, I think we're seeing the ramifications of that today.
It does stand to reason that Wii U sales would pick up dramatically with the release of a major first party title from Nintendo. That doesn't mean a New Super Mario Bros. - especially barely six months after New Super Mario Bros. 2 came out for 3DS. It doesn't mean a Pikmin 3, either. For better or for worse, Wii U needs a Zelda (and better marketing). And until it gets one, sales will remain generally sluggish, momentary upticks notwithstanding. But it is, by no means, beyond saving.