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Wii

Year 2008 NPD Sales Roundup and Analysis

by Carmine Red - January 28, 2009, 11:31 pm PST
Total comments: 17 Source: GameDaily

Wii Play is number one for the apparently hit-centric Wii. Also, Rock Band for Wii is over a million sold, and there's sales data for Shaun White, de Blob, and Wario Land: Shake It!

NOTE: This story concerns NPD whole year sales. For December 2008 monthly sales, click here.

According to the numbers, 2008 was a good year for the games industry. It was also a very good year for Nintendo considering the top four titles in the US were for the Wii, not to mention a three-year-old DS game sold 1.64 million units this year. Also, four of the top five best-selling games of 2008 are available on the Wii, even when sales of different versions of multi-platform titles are combined.

2008 Top Five U.S. Software Sales (Platforms and Versions Combined)

Wii Play w/ Remote (Wii) – 5.28 million

Madden NFL '09 (Multiple, including Wii) – 5.25 million

Grand Theft Auto IV (X360, PS3, PC) – 5.22 million

Mario Kart Wii w/ Wheel (Wii) – 5.00 million

Call of Duty: World at War (Multiple, including Wii) – 4.63 million

There may have been doubt over Wii Play's status as the best-selling game of 2008, but even all the different versions of EA's Madden (including a Spanish-language version) combined couldn't unseat Nintendo's 2007 release.

It's worth noting that Wii Play could continue to sell at this pace as long as the Wii hardware exhibits strong sales due to Nintendo positioning the title as a remarkable value proposition for new Wii owners. Wii Play, which consists of nine mini-games, comes packed with a Wii Remote controller, meaning consumers can consider the $50 purchase as a $40 controller with an incredibly inexpensive $10 game. However, consumers aren't just buying the package: they're also playing the game. As MTV Multiplayer notes, Wii Play "does get played for more than nine hours by the average Wii owner."

Another thing to note, however narrow the view of the top five may be, is that four of the games are available for play on the Wii. Nintendo's two exclusives are joined by both Madden and Call of Duty: World at War, both of which have versions on the Wii. Both games are believed to sell much better on the other platforms, but the mere fact that they are available on the Wii reinforces the notion that the Wii is able to span a more-inclusive demographic than either of its competitors.

Separating each game's different versions, Nintendo still dominates the list.

2008 Top Ten U.S. Software Sales

Wii Play w/ Remote (Wii) – 5.28 million

Mario Kart Wii w/ Wheel (Wii) – 5.00 million

Wii Fit w/ Balance Board (Wii) – 4.53 million

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii) – 4.17 million

Grand Theft Auto IV (X360) – 3.29 million*>

Call of Duty: World at War (X360) – 2.75 million*

Gears of War 2 (X360) – 2.31 million*

Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3) – 1.89 million*

Madden NFL '09 (X360) – 1.87 million*

Mario Kart DS (DS) – 1.64 million

* Includes Collector's, Limited, Legendary, and Bundled Editions

Nintendo's Wii claimed the top software sales spots not just with Wii Play, but also with Mario Kart Wii, Wii Fit, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The latter three games were all released in the first half of the year.

Another thing to notice about Nintendo's top sellers is that Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the only title in the bunch that doesn't come with added hardware or a peripheral.

After the Wii's headliners come four Xbox 360 titles and one PS3 title, but the yearly charts are capped off by a surprising DS contribution: Mario Kart DS. Mario Kart DS reappeared on NPD's December Top Ten charts, but now we can also see that the more than three-year-old game has sold 1.64 million copies in 2008 alone, possibly also driven by new DS owners who demanded the title. Nintendo's ability to create games that can entice consumers over such a long period of time sets them apart from competitors who rely on front-loaded sales and games that are forgotten by consumers as soon as a month after release.

But that doesn't mean that third-party Activision didn't find success on the Wii.

2008 U.S. Sales Guitar Hero: World Tour vs. Rock Band 2

Guitar Hero: World Tour (Multiple) – 3.4 million

Rock Band 2 (Multiple) – 1.7 million

The year 2008 featured a big showdown between the fourth major iteration in the Activision's Guitar Hero franchise and the second Rock Band from MTV Games. Guitar Hero: World Tour has currently charted higher total sales, thanks in part to day one availability on the Wii. In comparison, Rock Band 2 arrived late on the Wii, yielding a lead of about two months to Activision's offering on the Nintendo system. A similar situation played out regarding the PlayStation 2 versions of both titles, suggesting that not only was the Guitar Hero brand stronger, but that MTV Games was giving up market share and sales by putting most of their focus on the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions.

However the battle played out, Nintendo claimed a victory regardless. A company press release touted that Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Guitar Hero: World Tour, and Rock Band Special Edition Bundle (the six-month late port of the first Rock Band game) all "sold more units on Nintendo platforms than any other platforms in 2008."

There are also additional available 2008 numbers regarding a couple other Wii releases.

Additional 2008 U.S. Software Sales Estimates

Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip (Wii) – 470,000 (released November)

de Blob (Wii) – 250,000 (released September)

Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii) – 150,000 (released September)

Rock Band (Wii) – over a million (released June)

According to IGN, Ubisoft's Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip sold about 470,000 units in the U.S. These numbers suggest a healthy sales rate for the Ubisoft version of the snowboarding franchise, which is also available on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip also benefits from Wii Balance Board compatibility and the more than 4.5 million Balance Board peripherals out in the wild thanks to the huge sales of Wii Fit.

IGN also reported that NPD numbers showed that de Blob had performed modestly and hit 230,000 sales in the US between its September launch and year-end. THQ adapted the game from a student project, and when it was released on the Wii it received a warm welcome from critics. THQ has commented that they are "pleased with de Blob's performance worldwide" and that fans should "expect to see more of de Blob in the future."

In comparison, Wario Land: Shake It! Recorded 150,000 sales in the U.S. despite having been released the same day as de Blob.

Another tidbit concerns the whole-year performance of the Wii version of the first Rock Band game, which arrived six months late and was stripped of DLC functionality. It went on to sell more than a million units in the U.S. Market, probably helped in part by the extremely late December 22 Wii release of the more fully featured Rock Band 2.

The performance of games that aren't headlined by Nintendo characters has always been a topic of analysis among industry watchers. To this end, the 2008 sales data reveals an interesting statistic. According to NPD's Michael Klotz, the top ten Wii games accounted for "44 percent of the sales." In comparison, Klotz claimed that the PS3, Xbox 360, and PS2 had their top 10 games accounting for only "31 percent to 32 percent of the sales."

This means that game sales are being concentrated on relatively fewer titles. While games may be considered successes with relatively modest numbers, the million selling titles like Smash Bros. Brawl, Wii Fit, Guitar Hero: World Tour, or Rock Band are garnering the lions share of consumer attention.

However, there could still be a lot of sales to go around. Nintendo reported that third parties sold more games on the Wii than on any other platform in the critical holiday sales months of November and December, and that for the entire year "132 million games were sold in America for play on Nintendo systems."

Nintendo also benefited from the relentless adoption of their hardware systems throughout a year when the Wii and the DS would often fight for the number one spot. Ultimately, the Wii sold 10.17 million units in 2008 and the DS sold 9.95 million. Nintendo noted that "before 2008, no video game system had ever been purchased by ten million Americans in a single year."

In the face of this success, NPD's Anita Frazier thinks third parties will have to shape up after more than two years of questionable commitment to the Wii. "I think we'll see more third party games succeed at retail for this platform," she said, "it's a key platform for the third-party publishers to figure out how to be successful on."

Frasier also said that she believed that the industry would continue to grow in 2009, "albeit at a more modest pace," in the face of economic difficulties.

2008 U.S. Dollar Sales

Hardware – $7.81 billion

Software – $10.96 billion

Accessories – $2.57 billion

Total – $21.33 billion

This report contains information from reports by

MTV Multiplayer, GameSpot, three separate stories from IGN, GameDaily, Gamasutra, and Nintendo's official December NPD press release.

Talkback

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 29, 2009

It really shows you how much of a difference there is between the HD Gaming budgets and Wii's. If a 360 game sold 250k, it would be considered a bomb and the company would lose money. Yet if a Wii game only sells 150k there is a chance it will at least break even if not make money. I think it is kind of funny that deBlob may have made more money then some of the million sellers on the HD consoles.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterJanuary 29, 2009

Here's the thing Golden: A Capcom rep said recently both Okami and Zack & Wiki lost money, even though both the official and non-official sales data put them above 200,000.

The statement, however, was sarcastical. But still makes me wonder how much money everyone earns.

DAaaMan64January 29, 2009

Hey everytime I click on here:

Quote:

NOTE: This story concerns NPD whole year sales. For December 2008 monthly sales, click here.   

I get

Quote:

"Restricted Access. IP Logged"

Which is actually quite funny to me, so clicked on it another 20 times. But ya, I'm betting thats not supposed to happen...

Thanks for the news kairon.

Sorry DAaaMan64, fixed the link now.

Pap64, could you give me a link to that statement?

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 29, 2009

Quote from: pap64

Here's the thing Golden: A Capcom rep said recently both Okami and Zack & Wiki lost money, even though both the official and non-official sales data put them above 200,000.

The statement, however, was sarcastical. But still makes me wonder how much money everyone earns.

Yeah but is that NA or worldwide? I should have clarified I was talking about NA not total sales. No More Heroes probably didn't sell much more then 300k worldwide and yet it was enough to justify a sequel.

Also I have a hard time believing that even at 200k Okami didn't at least break even, it was a port.

P.S. What interview are you referring to? I must have missed it.

Michael8983January 29, 2009

Let's hear it for Mario Kart Wii which managed to ALMOST sell as well as the two PS3/360 versions of GTA combined and DID beat them individually.

As for Wii Play, it really needs to be disqualified for its pack-in. It's a fun diversion for TEN BUCKS if you happen to need an extra Wii-mote but that's all it's being bought as.

KDR_11kJanuary 29, 2009

Quote:

However, consumers aren't just buying the package: they're also playing the game. As MTV Multiplayer notes, Wii Play "does get played for more than nine hours by the average Wii owner."   

Sounds like more than just a diversion. Nine hours is way more than you'd play a game if you didn't like it.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterJanuary 29, 2009

To say that Wii Play shouldn't be counted because of the extra controller is being silly to say the least. Wii Play is a full fledged game that features an additional controller as one of its features. Like Kairon said, its a value for many consumers and that's why people are buying it.  And if its selling the NPD must track it.

Kairon, Golden,  here's the comment:
"…some claim that the only reason we brought Dead Rising to the Wii was to make money… You’re right, we’ve been caught: We’re guilty of being a business. In fact, as a gamer, you should want a brand that you love to be successful, because that increases the chance that we’ll make more games. The games business is filled with titles that people love that simply did not make money: Viewtiful Joe. Okami. Zack and Wiki." - Product Marketing Manager Colin Ferris

It came from this editorial.

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 29, 2009

Well he said they didn't make money, so there is a chance they broke even or were close to breaking even.

DjunknownJanuary 29, 2009

Quote:

To say that Wii Play shouldn't be counted because of the extra controller is being silly to say the least.

I'm not saying that Wii Play shouldn't count as a game, but I will say if Nintendo released it by itself, even at 19.99 NSRP*, it wouldn't top the charts year in, year out. You could put almost any game +Wiimote=49.99 and that title will pwn all in sales figures. Now if Nintendo bundled Wii Music with a wiimote...

Quote:

The games business is filled with titles that people love that simply did not make money: Viewtiful Joe. Okami. Zack and Wiki.

I believe it is Capcom PR to bash/disavow whatever Clover Studios did (with VJ's appearance in Tatsunoko vs Capcom as exception, but as they say, the exception proves the rule). IIRC, one of Capcom's execs in Japan didn't want even to mention them by name. In Okami they don't even show the ending credits, the game just ends, I had to look it up in Youtube. Now that's hate.

A third party title outselling a Nintendo published one? There's hope afterall ;)

Ten billion in software is nothing to sneeze at. Yet why does it seem that developers can't keep their doors open, or keep people in said doors? Is HD gaming that costly, or are publishers not *ahem* taking care of their devs like they should?

*NSRP=Nintendo Suggested Retail Price  :P

KDR_11kJanuary 30, 2009

Is that Okami Wii? I think I did see credits in the PS2 version.

Luigi DudeJanuary 30, 2009

Quote from: KDR_11k

Is that Okami Wii? I think I did see credits in the PS2 version.

Yeah the PS2 version has credits.  The Wii version doesn't because Capcom didn't give Ready at Dawn the proper code for it.  Since Ready of Dawn didn't have the correct code for the credit they could not edit it and so they had to remove the entire thing since Capcom refused to allow the Clover logo to be shown since it's in the credits.

It goes to show how Capcom didn't give a **** about the Wii version in the fact they didn't even give Ready at Dawn the complete code for the game.  Lucky for us though, Ready at Dawn actually cared about the project and put a lot of time and effort in order to work around this issue the best they could.

KDR_11kJanuary 30, 2009

What did the Wii version have instead of the lucky clovers that you have to unearth?

DjunknownJanuary 30, 2009

No, the lucky clovers are still intact. That would warrant a delay if they had to replace all the clovers in the game. I don't think Capcom is that spiteful ;)  

kraken613January 30, 2009

Go Nintendo! It just insanity how much they can sell!

Poor Sony though.... Their system isn't bad just too expensive! They finally have some good games and I actually play mine pretty regularly.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterJanuary 30, 2009

Quote from: kraken613

Go Nintendo! It just insanity how much they can sell!

Poor Sony though.... Their system isn't bad just too expensive! They finally have some good games and I actually play mine pretty regularly.

For a minute there, I thought you were talking about the website. Its just plain insanity there.

kraken613January 30, 2009

^
Haha!

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