Nintendo (NTDOY) now faces the very real prospect of having an absolute flop on its hands. As Microsoft (MSFT) moved an estimated 281,000 Xbox 360 consoles in the U.S. in January to take the top spot for the 25th consecutive month, Gamasutra reports that Nintendo sold “well under” 100,000 Wii U consoles last month. The site estimates that sales may have fallen between 45,000 and 59,000 units in January, which could mark the worst month for a Nintendo console since before the original Wii launched.
This is not the first sign of trouble for Nintendo’s Wii U. The new console has not been well received in the U.S., U.K. or even in Japan, and Nintendo recently lowered its first-quarter outlook as a result. With Sony (SNE) set to unveil its next-generation PlayStation 4 next week and Microsoft prepping a new Xbox console, the door is quickly closing on Nintendo’s latest effort.
Relief will likely not come anytime soon for Nintendo. New video game consoles take years to develop and typically remain on the market for the better part of a decade. What’s more, Nintendo has said it will not lower the Wii U’s retail price — the company is already selling the Wii U at a loss — so it remains unclear how Nintendo plans to reverse its current slump and bolster sales.
Will the Wii U be Nintendo’s last home video game console? The possibility is looking more real with each passing month.