In most places across the globe sales of the PlayStation 4 were brisk upon launch. It didn’t take long for Sony to eclipse Nintendo’s Wii U install base, and indeed the PS4 has sold over 40 million systems to Wii U’s 13 million worldwide. However, that was not the case in Japan, where the Wii U continued to sell well, or about as well as a home console can sell over there. That country has moved primarily to mobile and portable games, eroding the console market down to a shell of its former self.
This week the PS4 finally passed the lifetime sales of the Wii U in the land of the rising sun. It was bound to happen sooner or later as Nintendo has all but moved on to its next platform, leaving the Wii U to dwindle into nonexistence. Part of the surge for the PS4 is the reduction in price. Right now it’s cheaper to buy a PS4 than it is to purchase a Wii U in Japan, which is no doubt a hard pill to swallow for those looking to buy a home console. According to Media Create, the lifetime sales for the PS4 are sitting at 3,267,243 units and the Wii U is at 3,265,329. Famitsu’s sales data still shows the PS4 lagging behind the Wii U with 3,161,071 PS4 sold versus 3,235,185 Wii U.
Does any of this truly matter? Not really as it’s obvious Japan is still infatuated with handhelds. The 3DS often dominates the charts and is sitting at 21 million sold. The Vita has sold around 5 million, almost a full 2 million more than the PS4. That’s the main reason why Japanese game makers are still supporting the device whereas support has all but dried up in North America. It’s also why, if the hybrid rumors prove to be correct, the NX could be the next big thing in Japan. If it’s powerful enough to capture more third party support and it’s a device that can be played on the go plus at home, it could straddle the market trends in both Japan and the U.S. if marketed correctly, priced fairly, and with a good library of games.
As for the Wii U, well it’s pretty much done selling at this point. The only games still on the docket from Nintendo are Paper Mario: Color Splash and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s likely production of the system has come to an end at this point and it’s a certainty that the Wii U will officially go on record as being the worst selling Nintendo home console ever.