Game over? Wii U sales continue to stink

Hopes for Nintendo’s Wii U just keep sinking. On Wednesday, the company announced that it had sold just 160,000 consoles between April and June. That brings all-time sales of Nintendo’s newest console to 3.61 million worldwide since the device was released in the U.S. in November 2012. Even the aging Wii console, first introduced in 2006, outsold its successor to the tune of 50,000 units this quarter.

In April, Nintendo reported that it had fallen short of its goal to hit 4 million console sales by the end of March, which was already a downgraded goal from its initial target of 5.5 million units.

Nintendo blamed the most recent Wii U hardware sales lag on “the release of few key first-party titles” between April and June. With major gaming studios like EA snubbing the Wii U, Nintendo relies largely on its own stable of titles to keep Wii U fans happy.

Nintendo hopes to turn things around in the latter half of 2013 and into 2014 with a number of anticipated titles, such as The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Wii Party U, Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and Mario Kart 8. Many of those titles were previewed during E3 in June.

Sorry, but the princess is in another castle

Whether new titles for decades old gaming franchises will be enough to boost sales of the Wii U is anybody’s guess. But right now, it looks like Nintendo’s strategy for the Wii consoles is running out of steam.

When Nintendo popularized the Wii in 2006, the company pulled off a coup. Nintendo’s Wii was a generation behind the technology in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Nevertheless, the console appealed to users thanks to its innovative use of motion controllers and popular group-friendly games like Wii Sports.

Nintendo was hoping lightning would strike twice with its Wii U console, but that clearly hasn’t happened. Blame it on the growing appeal of smartphone and tablet gaming, the growing complexity of the Xbox and PlayStation consoles, or plain old Super Mario fatigue. Whatever the reason, thus far, Nintendo appears to have a big bust on its hands with the Wii U.

It’s not all bad news for Nintendo, however. The company posted a profit of 8.6 billion yen (around $88 million). And despite a poor showing for the Wii U, Nintendo sold 1.4 million 3DS units and 11 million games for the handheld device during the first quarter of the company’s financial year.

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