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Nintendo: 46 Percent Of U.S. Population Using Nintendo Systems
Nintendo: 46 Percent Of U.S. Population Using Nintendo Systems
October 29, 2010 | By Kyle Orland

October 29, 2010 | By Kyle Orland
More: Console/PC

Internal survey data from Nintendo shows 46 percent of Americans aged 6 to 74 using the Wii or Nintendo DS at least once in the past year, with 62 percent of Americans in general using video game consoles.

Despite declining sales in the last year, the number of U.S. Wii users has increased by roughly 25 percent to 100 million in the past year, according to data based on phone and mail surveys conducted by Nintendo and revealed during an extensive, graph-filled investor presentation by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata.

Iwata also laid out comparisons showing cumulative U.S. sales for the Wii 23 percent higher than those for the best-selling PS2 system at this same point in its lifecycle. U.S. Wii sales for the first three quarters of the fifth year of availability were also 22 percent higher that similar sales for the PS2.

"I hope each and all these charts will convince you that Wii, as a machine set to welcome its fifth holiday sales season, can never be considered to have lost momentum," Iwata said.

For the DS, Iwata presented data showing U.S. hardware sales down slightly from this point last year, but also showing the system's share of the portable console software market rising to nearly 85 percent so far in 2010, up from 69 percent in 2008.

The Nintendo DS and portables in general have fared less well in Europe, Nintendo's data shows, with steep drop-offs in hardware and software sales for both the Nintendo DS and PSP in the past two years. Iwata said piracy may be at least partially to blame for this state of affairs.

"Some say that such devices as MagiCom, which promote illegal copies of software, are mainly responsible for these changes happening in the European handheld software sales, Iwata said. "The fact that, with the proliferation of such devices, Europe has become the market where illegal copies have spread most widely among all the advanced nations in the world must have affected the change in the size of the entire European market."

Japan has been the brightest spot for sales of the Wii, Nintendo's data shows, with overall sales rising to represent over 50 percent of the home console market so far in 2010, just ahead of the PS3's 42 percent share of the market.

Iwata also used the presentation to present new data showing 115 games selling at least one million copies globally on the DS, and 84 such games on the Wii. Iwata was quick to point out the the majority of these games were third-party releases, although Nintendo-published titles make up 40 percent of the DS' million selling titles and nearly 30 percent of the Wii's.

The company also stressed how many of its titles, including Wii Play, Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Super Mario 64 DS and Brain Age have seen most of their sales outside the traditional first twelve months of availability.

Selected highlights from the graphs, which are available in full on Nintendo's website, are as follows:


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Alan Rimkeit
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This means nothing to me without knowing what percentage of the US population also uses Sony and Microsoft console/hand held systems. If we knew that it would all be put into a perspective....

Kyle Orland
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Yeah, unfortunately it's Nintendo-provided data and they weren't eager to share those numbers for one reason or another. Still, nearly one in every two Americans has used a Nintendo system in the past year! That's an impressive number!

Alan Rimkeit
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It is indeed impressive. I am glad to see Ninty doing so well after the hosing they took over the GameCube. I was afraid after another one of those deals and they would be going the way of Sega in the hardware market.

Daniel Martinez
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I'd like to see a chart of the Gamecube Vs PS2...

Tim Tavernier
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Personally, I like the last graph the best. More people have bought WiiPlay then GTA4 and Modern Warfare 1 and 2 combined (seemingly for the Xbox360 and in the US). Mario Kart Wii and WiiFit is owned by more people then Modern Warfare 1 and 2 combined for the Xbox360 in the US, and seeing the forte of Mario Kart lies in the local-multiplayer...about 2-4 times more people actually played Mario Kart Wii then Modern Warfare 1 and 2 combined (and that's with ignoring the obvious overlap between people playing MW 1 and 2).

I like data that will get the traditional "gamers" in a tight bunch.

Amir Sharar
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On the other hand, I'm sure people invested more time into those traditional games when compared to Wii Play.

Joseph Garrahan
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On the other hand, i bet they played and shared more with their families/friends during wiiplay. Details, details...

Amir Sharar
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You have to look at the details when it can demonstrate a stark contrast.

A game like Pokemon Diamond/Pearl offer a lot of "meat" and players can play that for many hours on end...but this metric isn't used by those who want non-traditional games when they determine the value of a game.

I think it's a point 3rd party developers missed on the Wii. For example, we saw a game based on the Avatar universe, and it was a game that offered a storyline with many levels and hours of gameplay. It really should have been a title that featured many mini-games, based on the Avatar universe. Dev costs could have been lowered, mini-games could have been very polished, and it would have appealed more to the expanded market.

Tim Tavernier
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"On the other hand, I'm sure people invested more time into those traditional games when compared to Wii Play."

And this is proven how? Considering that traditional games have lengths of barely 10-15 hours these days and WiiPlay has the unforgiving Tanks probably balances out neatly.

Amir Sharar
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Competitive Multiplayer being the massive differentiator. It isn't a feature unique to traditional games, but the amount of time people play a game like say, Mario Kart Wii (a traditional game) as compared to the individual mini-games found in Wii Play would be vastly different I would wager.

Also keep in mind that the only time traditional gamers will get "in a tight bunch" is when, because of these new games, their traditional games will no longer exist.

For example, if Nintendo saw the sales of Wii Play, and then decided that since Super Mario Galaxy only sold a fraction of those sales that the Galaxy series should not continue...that is when traditional gamers will get up in arms.

But I think Nintendo and other developers/publishers are smart enough to look at things from a profitability standpoint rather than a total sales standpoint.

Tim Tavernier
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You do know that the competitive multiplayer part is an minority, like as in, barely half the people who bought the orginal Starcraft went online with it.

And that last bit doesn't make any sense at all...WiiPlay was dirt cheap to make, made over 20 million sales, so it's the most profitable. The only reason why the Galaxy series got a sequel was because Shigeru Miyamoto doesn't like making 2D-mario. The only reason why NSMB Wii was made was because the financial department said so. There's no influence of traditional gamers at all (because they have no influence to be truthfull).

Also, the Tanks mini-game has a local two-player co-op. local multiplayer always trumps online multiplayer. There's a reason you can say that Mario Kart Wii, while selling over 20 million copies it probably got played by 80 million people. That's vastly different from the traditional games. The vast difference in social and cultural impact is enormous.

Also, don't shift Mario Kart into the "traditional" camp just so it fits your argument. Mario Kart is clearly a new-core game, bringing in a expanded audience (Nintendo themselves called it that) and making them the new-core gamers of today and tomorrow.

Russell Carroll
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These stats bring up a couple of points/questions:

1 - PS2 was behind Wii at this point in its life-cycle, but wasn't it still #1? I think that is the key point. Wii has been falling behind its competitors. It will likely still be ahead for the year after Christmas, but I don't remember the PS2 falling behind. Additionally, these numbers talk hardware, not software, which hasn't been as strong for Wii as Nintendo or any other developer would like.

2 - HOW did Nintendo lose money!? I understand the valuation of the Yen is part of it...but really! How did they lose money selling so much stuff?

Fábio Bernardon
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I believe the answer to your question (2) is:

- 3DS: they should be ramping up production at this point, plus R&D

- and likely their next-gen system. I would expect it to be announced as soon as next year depending on how well the Wii will sell this Christmas, but not after 2012.

Leon T
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1. All current gen. hardware is selling ahead of PS2 month to month at this point ( yet the industry is still losing more money). The Wii is the only one that is also selling ahead of the PS2 life to date at the same point. The 360 and PS3 started off slow as in turtle slow. If you remember it was a long time before they even started to outsell the PS2. The 360 and PS3 are going up as the prices come down and value increases.

The Wii exploded out the gates like no system before it. Most people who really wanted one likely have one at this point. The Wii numbers have dropped down to a more normal level and that puts it in range of the PS3 and 360. Since the Wii exploded like it did it peaked sooner and there was also no Wii relaunch. The 360 and PS3 are likely to peak soon since both had their relaunches. IMO the PS3 has already peaked but it may be too soon to tell.

The PS2 launched earlier and got a huge lead and much better software support from third parties. Both things gave its competitors no chance of catching up. I don't remember if it was outsold for a month or two. The PS2 also had a relaunch. The last generation of consoles was almost nothing like this one. The only thing that is the same is that both the PS2 and Wii will hold first place . The Wii is the only console that is following the more norma

Nintendo released software information too

2. I understand the yen part but not enough to explain it. Nintendo still made a profit if that is not clear. You have add in R&D cost as well.