Super Mario 3D World screenshot
Super Mario 3D World screenshot

Super Mario 3D World is not going to be the Wii U's saviour. Despite many - and deservedly so - praising Nintendo's reimagining of its mascot, the initial sales figures do not look good. You don't even need to lose yourself in thousands of numbers or statistics either. You just need to know it was outsold by Knack…

It's not that surprising of a trend, however. Firstly, Sony's launch title is bundled with a console that's selling incredibly well. Secondly, although the sheer ingenuity and class Mario's latest brought to the table was nothing short of exquisite, it has been the 2D versions where public interest appeared to have been at a fever pitch. While Mario Galaxy sold around 10 million copies on the Wii, for example, New Super Mario Bros. sold almost 27 million. The former is nothing to sneer at, obviously, but when there's such a vast difference you have to assume the wider audience - or the individuals you need to purchase your console - are very aware of which iteration they prefer.

The worry, then, comes when you see how the two franchises are currently fairing on Wii U, the system that's, if we're honest, desperate to start achieving more success (the PS4, for example, has seemingly already outsold it in the UK). New Super Mario Bros. U - officially the worst name for a sequel in history - topped out at around 2.3 million, a far cry from the figures quoted above. With Christmas looming and the sheer love the series has, there's every chance 3D World bucks the current slump and finds some momentum. That's increasingly looking like somewhat of a dream scenario.

When the Wii destroyed the world and managed to convince an insane amount of new people to hop aboard the video game train, Mario was a fresh experience, in many occasions seen through fresh eyes. His popularity is such that his moustached-face was instantly recognisable, and the accessibility coupled with, of course, co-op play in New Super Mario Bros. was an easy in. It's why Mario Kart Wii followed suit - there wasn't much there to get your head around. As you'd imagine a significant portion of people introduced to such mechanics did make their way across to Mario Galaxy, a more intricate, in-depth and, for my money, better game. It was an obvious jump to get more content from a concept you already understood.

That hasn't happened with the Wii U, though. Even a vast proportion of longtime gamers have decided Nintendo's latest still has nothing to convince them to invest, and the even greater population doesn't appear to be interested at all. If they were, 3D World would be selling machines as the memories of last-gen became new experiences today. Again, it could be far too early to tell how much impact it may have, but it certainly seems unlikely that anyone is holding out for Christmas… which is only three weeks away. A far more likely scenario is that the hype just isn't there.

Super Mario 3D World screenshot

Nintendo still has aces up its sleeve, Mario Kart 8 being the one with the most potential power, but surely given the current landscape even that's doomed to be a far cry behind its predecessor? Mario Kart Wii was popular because the console already sat in families' houses, not because it enticed people to drop £179 so they could bomb around Mario Circuit.

The question is, then, what does save the Wii U? The popular answer would be the mentioned racer and the arrival of a 'proper' Zelda game, but they won't make any huge dents. If Mario can't do it - often a turning point in Nintendo hardware cycles - then its other big franchises won't either. The 3DS is a bonafide beast but A Link Between Worlds certainly didn't light up the sales chart on its release. It'll no doubt be a constant seller for the foreseeable future and add yet more power to the handheld's insanely good catalogue, but it was an extra feather in the 3DS's cap, not the foundations which the following success was built from.

It sounds redundant to say so, but at this point the Wii U needs games, and not just the ones we expect. Looking at the bigger picture, mind, that doesn't look like the most easy of outcomes. Many of the bigger third-party publishers have expressed their disappointment with the console, and even Ubisoft - who used to be so desperate for success on Nintendo devices they made Red Steel 2 - have taken a step back. ZombiU may've been an intriguing experiment, but ultimately no one cared.

Nintendo has proved time and time again in the past that it's never a wise idea to bet against it. This, however, may be the always inevitable exception…

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User Comments

Endless's Avatar


The Gamepad is actually really good! It's no perfect by any means but it holds much more promise than people who havent played a few games on it. The biggest disappointment for it for me is the wifi range, you cannot take it upstairs to bed and still be in range, the range doesnt reach to the next room in your house. Rubbish. Sat in the same room while your TV is occupied is still great though.

Nintendo need an ego check. They need more than their own games to move forward and their arrogance has done them immeasurable harm this time around, as another article that follows this one is highlighting.

Gone are the days when everyone buys every console imo, people say they will, but generally they only ever play on one of them. People want one box to do as much as possible, which is why there's such a hoo haa about which one people are picking this time around. It's a community, an eco-system; Whatever you want to call it. But it's difficult to be fully in more than one and it's expensive on your wallet and as space in your household as well as in your head.
Posted 13:24 on 05 December 2013
b23cdq's Avatar

b23cdq@ KamSage

"Launch week for most games is when they sell the highest amount of that game."

Most games, yes. Not most Nintendo games, though. They usually keep selling well for years.

"Price drop"
They already dropped the price 50$.

"Mostly MP"
Zelda is SP. Mario is excellent SP. Metroid is SP. DKC is SP. W101 (published by Ninty) is SP. Pikmin is SP.

"new IP"
Nintendo make game mechanics first, then see if that game mechanic fits a caracther/IP. If it doesn't, they make a new IP. What's the point of making a new IP if the gameplay is exactly like Mario?
Posted 18:04 on 03 December 2013
Wido's Avatar


"Super Mario 3D World hasn't captured the interest of gamers as much as it deserves. Does this spell the end for Nintendo's latest console?"

Completely disagree with that sentence. One game doesn't define the end of the Wii U. I personally think the main problem with the Wii U, is Nintendo themselves.

I like the game pad, its revolutionary in its own right. To continue playing games on a small game pad and running at 1080p? Marvellous for those pixelated whores out there. For me, the whole idea of continue playing whilst the missus watches her soaps is fantastic for me.

Nintendo haven't exactly done themselves any favours. A remake, a new Mario game to attempt people to buy the Wii U. I am surprised there hasn't been a big advertisement campaign for the Wii U, saying its the cheapest 'next gen', can we stop saying next gen? The industry itself lets it down with these crap labels... Anyway, is the cheapest new gaming console in the market compared to the Xbox One & PS4.

Need IPs are needed for Nintendo in my opinion, and that is coming from someone who likes Nintendo very much. I like Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong and the whole lot they produce. They need more new IPs. Look at ZombiU, fantastic new game to promote what the Wii U really can do. You can pick it up for £15 on Amazon, truly magnificent game. More games such as ZombiU to show off its capabilities is required.

Bayonetta 2 will not sell loads, guaranteed. Even though it cause a massive joyous reaction on Twitter. It would of made sense that Platinum and SEGA looked Sony & Microsoft to put it on the Xbox One & PS4. I could see it selling loads if it was on the PS4 in Japan for example, though I'm sure it will sell by the bucket loads in Japan on the Wii U, but Europe and America? Nah, not in comparison.

Wonderful 101 looks ok, but again, didn't generate any buzz for the Wii U whatsoever. To me, personally. Nintendo have lost their way in certain departments. The handheld side they are fine, but console, not that very good.
Posted 17:53 on 03 December 2013


I don't think that this is the End of the WiiU. Will it start selling better? I don't know, maybe not, but Nintendo will stick to it. Like they did with the Game Cube.

Theres a good chance it won't be that long on the Market, but they will not drop the WiiU next Year, or in two Years. In 4 or 5 maybe, I would guess. And then Nintendo will make a new Console. I just hope they stop with the stupid Names that only confuses People.

Of Course I can be wrong with everything.
Posted 15:04 on 03 December 2013
MattColes's Avatar


People keep (rather naively) citing games that aredue to come out for the Wii U that will save it, and good games they may be, but they are games that preach to the choir, niche games that will be loved by Nintendo fans IE the people who have already bought the Wii U.

It completely lacks mass appeal, which is exactly what it needs if its going to stick around.
Posted 11:22 on 03 December 2013


Launch week for most games is when they sell the highest amount of that game. Saying it's only been released for a week doesn't mean sales will increase week on week, instead it is most likely to go the opposite way.

I do think the only way to recover is a big price drop. I'd buy one if it was fairly cheap and had a game I really needed on it. Nintendo brand games are almost always multiplayer, and that kinda puts me off being a mainly SP gamer.
I may buy one next year, since i'm guessing that's when the next proper price drop is, and get the three to five games I care about, for now it's just a costly investment without much return.

Originality is a big problem with Nintendo, i really believe each new console needs a new mascot for that console, something new and fun, and they've stuck to Mario for years, it just feels so homogenous looking from the outside in.
Posted 11:17 on 03 December 2013
IndoorHeroes's Avatar


Nintendo can turn it around the same way they turned around the 3DS. A humiliating price drop. Remember the 3DS launched at £230! If they drop Wii U to £129.99 the install base will rocket up just like it did with the 3DS. Ever green games like Mario will see their sales lift instantly and 3rd parties will come around once they see the install base growth is there.
Posted 09:24 on 03 December 2013
Lastwith's Avatar


Ok there is some point in not judging the first week sales of a game, especially when it was going up against PS4 and XBox one, it is not even a contest. Still this probably will not be a killer app, unlike Bayonetta 2 that could be.

Even not being a Nintendo fan, I do greatly appreciate what they are trying to do. In the core gaming world we are so focused on our largely male and above 20 audience, that we tend forget other markets and possibilities. If we now take at all three consoles at a purely technical standpoint Wii U is the one that stands out, it actually tries to do something different, the same as Wii. Bringing gaming consoles to a more casual market, experimenting with the type of controls and interaction with the game. Sure we also have Kinect, but it still is in Beta as far as I am concerned, but playing bowling on Wii was fun an easy, unlike anything I tried on Kinect.

So yea I hope Nintendo continues the same course of trying to bring something new to the table, rather then an upgraded, more powerful version of the same thing. They may not nail it every time, but Wii showed a different kind of gaming to the world and for a change brought some good main stream media coverage to our favorite hobby.

Still consoles life cycle is longer then one year, so let`s wait and see...
Posted 09:18 on 03 December 2013
EverTheOptimist's Avatar


I know Miyamoto is a gaming legend and I respect him and Nintendo for some of the amazing games we've had over the years but they're now treading water. While Sony and Microsoft re-hash existing IPs, they also invest in new characters and new stories, offer a wide range of game genres. Nintendo rarely do that and every year it's the same stuff - Mario, Zelda and nothing much new. How can the public support a company that places the weight of a console on the shoulders of a few characters that it's been dragging out of the cellar for decades? I don't doubt the potential of the WiiU, but as Endless says, getting one means you miss out on so much from Microsoft and Sony. While your friends enjoy The Last of Us, Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto V, Journey and Far Cry 3 you're stuck with the 211th game starring Mario. For those who like those characters and games Nintendo are always a winner because you know they'll deliver them, but I personally can't understand that. It'd be like being a fan of music but only listening to one band, there's just not enough variety.
Posted 09:01 on 03 December 2013
b23cdq's Avatar


"Super Mario 3D World hasn't captured the interest of gamers as much as it deserves. Does this spell the end for Nintendo's latest console?"

Well, no. Nintendo will keep supporting the console for years. They have several announced games (Mario Kart, Smash, Zelda, Bayonetta 2, X, Yarn Yoshi, SMTxFE, DKC) far in development for the system, and dropping support for the console this early is - as they are no doubt aware - a terrible decision. It would kill consumer trust.

Also, as others have said, the game has been out for a week.

And as you said, Knack was bundled, for many the only way to get a PS4. And this is only in the UK, a market wich has never been crucial to Nintendo.
Posted 03:16 on 03 December 2013
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ Karlius

Why? Because all that chart proves is that a console thats been out for a year has sold more than 2 consoles that have been out for less than a month. 1 of them only a single week in Europe!

The big question and more credible comparison will come in a years time when we look at the same graph and see just how each console has done given the same window of opportunity.

The biggest problem I see the Wii U has is long-term sustainability. People are convinced at the moment it has nothing but Nintendo to keep it going and they aren't willing to pay money for a one trick pony any more. They only miss out on a sprinkling of games if they buy a PS4 or XOne whereas if they buy a Wii U, they get Nintendo games and thats pretty much it at the moment.

It is a bad investment. That is what I believe the general consensus is at the moment.
Posted 23:23 on 02 December 2013
Kingface's Avatar


Maybe let the game be out for more than one or two weeks before making judgements on its initial sales figures and its potential impact on the success of the Wii U? The game has been out for less than a week in Europe and there's still the whole Christmas period to happen. Although general concerns regarding the Wii U's success is understandable.

What certainly doesn't help is some shops simply not selling the game or anything Wii U for that matter. A Tesco not far from me which is massive and has a Video Games section was only selling one Wii (not Wii U) game and about three 3DS games when I went in the other day, very poor show.
Posted 20:46 on 02 December 2013
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ X2Eliah

Why? It's the current install base which suggests that Wii U, while not having a great sales record has a decent lead over it's competitors at the moment, with the short supply of Sony and MS consoles meaning they may have the Christmas market sewn up too.

I have previously said the console is dead but I wouldn't be surprised to see the console do very well in the next month. Especially as there are now some adverts actually showing and explaining the console and also the key games that sell consoles especially at that price.
Posted 20:31 on 02 December 2013
X2Eliah's Avatar


Add a timeline to that chart...
Posted 19:28 on 02 December 2013
CheekyLee's Avatar


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Posted 19:20 on 02 December 2013

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Super Mario 3D World

Super Mario 3D World
Available For: Wii U Genre: Platformer Score9

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