Nintendo Points to 400,000 First-Week U.S. Sales for Wii U

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By Erik Pineda | November 27, 2012 5:45 PM EST

Will Nintendo's Wii U fuel the recovery of the limping game console business? While the Japanese game maker would not want to claim that distinction, it reported on Monday that the new product is off to a respectable start - selling 400,000 units in a week's time.

The figures are nothing short of impressive, analysts said, as they approach the one million mark that Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said would make the total Wii U sales by January 2013.

The Nintendo console is likely to end up in about 1.5 million households in the United States alone, Mr Pachter told The Associated Press on Monday, which omits for now its global sales performance in regions like Asia and Europe.

The new gaming machine will debut first week of December in Nintendo's homebase, Japan.

And that roll out is expected to drum up consumers' interest on a product that is threatened by a gaming platform that only gained following, and solid at that, in the past three years - the mobile gaming devices in smartphone and tablet computers.

With such strong rivals that offer freely downloadable gaming apps via Apple's Apps Store and Google Play, analysts are in doubt if the Wii U will at least equal the phenomenal success of the first Wii.

Wii's motion-sensor controllers easily picked up with consumers and delivered for Nintendo some 97 million buys some years after its 2006 launch.

But the situation is far different now and the casual gamers that Wii lured years ago have turned their attention on new devices that actually were mainly communication tools packed with some entertainment muscles such as media and game playing.

Even Mr Pachter seemed careful not to connect Wii U's one-week sales to a recovery path for Nintendo or for that matter to the industry as a whole.

"It's pretty much sold out and that's a testament to a large and loyal fan base," the Wedbush analyst told Reuters.

However, the bar set by the first Wii is not that high at the moment, according to Nintendo America president Reggie Fils-Aime, in reference to the original console's 475,000 unit sales in the same month and same period in 2006.

"At this point in the life of the Wii U, its sales are based on how quickly we can get the product to retailers," Reuters reported the Nintendo chief as saying.

As of the start of this week, the Nintendo console appears to be sold out based on reports by major U.S. retailers, both online and physical stores, AP reported, and buyers can only get hold of anything after some period of waiting, the least of which is three days.

Nintendo has expressed confidence that adjustments made on the products, such as the integration of social media functions and making it a full-entertainment package, will convince millions of households around the world to pick up a unit.

The strongest come-on for the Wii U at the moment is its new tablet-like controller called GamePad that "promises to change how people play games by offering different people in the same room a different experience, depending on the controller used," according to AP.

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