Nintendo Chief Iwata: Wii U sales 'not bad'

Satoru Iwata says his company's new console is "selling steadily" but doesn't say if the hardware will hit the initial sales forecast of 5.5 million units by the end of March.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said in an interview published today that the Wii U's sales aren't bad.

"At the end of the Christmas season, it wasn't as though stores in the U.S. had no Wii U left in stock, as it was when Wii was first sold in that popular boom," Iwata told Reuters in an interview published today. "But sales are not bad, and I feel it's selling steadily."

There does appear to be a slightly different scenario playing out with the Wii U. When the Nintendo Wii launched in 2006, it was impossible to find on store shelves. That resulted in massive lines at retailers each weekend, made up of consumers hoping to get their hands on the short supply of Wiis that came in off trucks. The huge demand helped the Wii become one of the top-selling consoles of all time.

The Wii U, however, is readily available. In many retail stores across the U.S., consumers will find Wii U units available. The Wii U is also available online from a host of retailers, including Amazon.

Nintendo has been bullish on the Wii U, saying last year before its launch that it anticipates selling 5.5 million units by the end of March. During its first week of availability, the Wii U hit 400,000 units sold in the U.S. Since then, however, Nintendo hasn't shared unit sales or said how likely it is to reach its lofty sales goal.

In his interview with Reuters, Iwata remained relatively tight-lipped on the Wii U's performance, careful to not say that it was performing exceedingly well or poorly. He did, however, acknowledge that his company's decision to launch a $300 basic set alongside a $350 deluxe version proved challenging.

"Specifically, inventory levels for the premium, deluxe package was unbalanced as many people wanted that version and couldn't find it," he told Reuters.

Nintendo is expected to reveal more details about its Wii U sales when it announces fiscal third-quarter performance later this month.