Nintendo had yet another bad month in March, according to Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter.
In a research note to investors today, Pachter, who follows the gaming industry about as closely as any other analyst, said he believes Nintendo sold 55,000 Wii U units in the U.S. in March, representing a 17 percent decline compared to February. Perhaps even worse for Nintendo, its old Wii mustered 85,000 unit sales, falling 51 percent year-over-year, but still trumping a device that came out long before its latest.
Pachter, who each month releases his estimates on hardware sales based on channel checks, said that the Xbox 360 once again led the U.S. console market with 290,000 unit sales. The PlayStation 3 was close behind with 260,000 units sold, according to Pachter.
The Wii U's troubles have been nothing short of worrisome for Nintendo. The so-called "next-generation" console was supposed to jump-start Nintendo's ailing hardware business and lead the company in its fight with upcoming competitors, the next Xbox and PlayStation 4. So far, however, it's done nothing of the sort, and turned into a black mark on Nintendo's earnings.
Still, Nintendo is hopeful. The company has said that it believes sales will be stronger once more titles hit the console's library and consumers take more time to focus on console gaming. Critics, however, say that Nintendo should simply cut the price of its console -- a nonstarter, so far, for the company.
In January, Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata argued that his company's Wii U pricing -- $299 for the basic set and $349 for the deluxe set, which adds the game Nintendo Land and some accessories -- is "a good price." He also echoed his company's earnings report, saying that he believes new entrants in the company's first-party library will "help Nintendo regain momentum for Wii U."
He might be right. But for now, the Wii U is getting beaten up. Badly.
The official word on March console sales will hit the wire Thursday, when research firm NPD announces its findings.