That Nintendo’s miniature NES Classic Edition console has been successful is hardly news. It’s well-known that retailers have been unable to keep the mini NES on store shelves, and that resellers have flooded eBay with NES Classics priced well above the $60 MSRP.
But there’s some new perspective indicating that the retro console is far more popular than Nintendo’s flagship games platform, the Wii U. Ars Technica is reporting that the NES Classic has been so popular this holiday season, that its sales in November alone nearly matched six months’ worth of Wii U sales. The NPD Group attributes 196,000 sales to the NES Mini during the month of November and just 220,000 to the Wii U from the April to September period.
This astounding feat was accomplished despite the NES Classic not going on sale until November 11. Had it been on sale the entire month, its rate of sale indicates it would have moved 294,000 units. That’s good for more than 1.7 million sales over a six-month period, which would have obviously dwarfed Wii U sales during its most recently reported on six-month sales period.
That doesn’t take into account that November sales of consumer products tend to be higher than those in any month between April and September. Still, it’s probably safe to say that the miniaturized Nintendo Entertainment System is exponentially more popular than the Wii U is right now.
The unique combination of the seemingly everlasting popularity of Nintendo’s first games console and consumer apathy toward its current one have made for a situation neither of Nintendo’s main competitors would likely find themselves in. A tiny original PlayStation or Xbox loaded with 30 of those systems’ respective best games would doubtlessly be popular, but almost certainly less so than the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Although the NES Classic Edition remains nigh impossible to find on store shelves, GameStop stores were said to be receiving new shipments of the console yesterday and today. Given its popularity, however, there’s a good chance you’re out of luck if you haven’t either already gotten one of them or gotten in line for one.
Meanwhile, the Wii U continues its slow death march, with successor Nintendo Switch set to launch sometime in March 2017.