Wii U Initial Japanese Release Sales Outpace PlayStation 4

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/benward/

Here in the United States, we talk about gaming console sales in terms of Sony’s (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 4 versus Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox One, but in Japan, the Sony gaming console sees a rival in Nintendo’s Wii U. In this battle on native turf, Wii U sales have outpaced PlayStation 4 sales for the initial three-week period following its Japanese release.

A company called Media Crate releases sales figures weekly, tracking Japanese gaming console sales. The latest release of Media Crate’s charts shows that in the three weeks since the PlayStation 4 was released in Japan, Nintendo’s Wii U outpaces the former’s sales for that period. While the PlayStation 4 had a slightly better first week, with approximately 309,000 units sold to the Wii U’s 308,00, stronger sales in the second and third weeks of the Wii U’s Japanese release have helped the unit outsell the PlayStation 4 by slightly more than 147,000 units in that time frame.

The two consoles are similar in that both were released in American and European markets before launching in their native counties. The Wii U was released in November-December 2012 across most markets. The PlayStation 4 so far has only been released in North America, the European Union, and Japan. In worldwide sales, the PlayStation 4 is the clear winner, with more than 6 million units sold. The Wii U had shipped approximately 5.86 million units as of the end of 2013, according to Nintendo data. Yet in the Japanese market the PlayStation 4’s sales are somewhat lackluster.

Gaming news website IGN suggests that the decline of traditional gaming consoles and a lack of PlayStation 4-exclusive games as a possible reasons for PlayStation 4’s Japanese sales. This second reason could have some credibility, as the top-selling traditional console game is Sega’s Yakuza: Ishin in the PlayStation 3 format. The game was also released for PlayStation 4. The top PlayStation 4 game, Knack, was sold as part of a PlayStation 4 bundle.

Yet despite this news, the PlayStation 4 may be making a comeback. Sales of the PlayStation 4 topped the list of gaming console sales, both traditional and handheld, this week, with about 35,000 units sold there. Only about 8,000 units of the Wii U were sold in Japan that same week of March 3-9 for the older console.

Across the Pacific, American sales show that Sony is ahead in console sales. Here, the PlayStation 4 currently dominates  the market, a shift from Xbox being the favored console among American gamers. The Xbox One comes in at a close second. The Wii U is in last place among eighth-generation gaming consoles.

Nintendo announced that the 2014 sales goal for the Wii U changed from 9 million units to 2.8 million, less than a third of the original goal. While the first quarter of 2014 winds down, the gaming market in Japan awaits the third competitor of this battle of the gaming console sales. The Xbox One still awaits a Japanese release sometime this year.

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