The Red Wii helped Nintendo hardware sales boom during the Christmas period, despite a year-on-year drop in profit.
At an investors conference Nintendo president Satoru Iwata defended the platform holder’s Q3 profit slump with a roundup of impressive Wii sales data for Japan, Europe and the US.
In Europe the launch of the limited edition Red Wii boosted sales.
“During week 41 the Wii was in the lowest position among all the consoles,” Iwata said.
“Wii sales rose sharply to the top in the 43rd week, which is when we released the red Wii hardware. The sales pace picked up even more speed during the year-end sales season, and Wii went back to holding the largest market share.
“If we look at the status in fall, I think that few people could have expected that in the peak week of the year-end sales season, Wii hardware would be selling almost twice that of other consoles.”
Japan saw a similar trend.
Iwata added: “In October 2010, Wii sales were less than half of those in 2009. In that month, Wii was trailing behind Sony’s PS3, which was selling about two times as much as Wii.
“The sales of Wii increased in the second week of November 2010, thanks to the launch of red Wii hardware. In the latter half of December, Wii sold twice as much as PS3.
“People in the Japanese trade who had not held great expectations for Wii were said to have been very surprised to see the results”
In the US, Wii sales were down year-on-year but topped 2008’s performance.
“Unit sales of Wii in the US in December 2010 could not reach those in December 2009,” said Iwata.
“But in the previous year, Wii had made record single month sales in the US video game market by selling more than 3.8 million units in December 2009 alone. Wii sold more than 2.35m units of hardware in December 2010, which was better than December 2008, when Wii was selling very well.
“As a result, Wii was able to establish another record in the US home console market by selling more than seven million units in the US in three consecutive years.”
For the nine months ending December 31st, 2010, Nintendo generated ¥482bn from hardware sales and ¥325bn from software sales. This is down from ¥720bn and ¥460bn made during the same period a year prior.
Overall hardware sales from all format holders dropped year-on-year.