Multiple reports indicate that when "Pikmin 3" was released last month, Nintendo Wii U sales got a significant boost in Japan. Considering the poor overall sales figures of the Wii U to this point, that's not nearly enough to make the struggling Nintendo console a success, but it's a decent start. So that begs a few questions, including this one: Could North America's "Pikmin 3" release help boost Wii U sales much the same way that "Pikmin 3" did for Japanese Wii U sales?
The original "Pikmin" sold 1.63 million copies, with 47.9 of sales occurring in North America, though Japanese sales of "Pikmin" accounted for only 34.2 percent of total figures. "Pikmin 2" sales totaled 1.2 million, with 40.1 percent of "Pikmin 2" copies selling in North America. Japan accounted for a larger share of total "Pikmin 2" sales: 46.5 percent to be exact.
To this point, "Pikmin 3," which was released on July 13 in Japan and Aug. 4 in the U.S., has sold roughly 170,000 copies. However, the game has only been out for about a month and its only been available in the U.S. for about a week and a half.
Based on the sales history of "Pikmin" and "Pikmin 2," it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect "Pikmin 3" to also surpass more than a million sales like its two predecessors have. However, there's one big factor in play here.
"Pikmin" and "Pikmin 2" were GameCube games. The Nintendo Gamecube was a success, selling more than 20 million units throughout its lifespan. Meanwhile, only 3.33 million Wii U consoles have been sold. So while "Pikmin 3" has helped the Wii U in Japan, overall sales expectations for "Pikmin 3" and its ability to boost U.S. Wii U must be tempered. However, North American "Pikmin 3" success would be a start, though Nintendo can't stop there.
Based on the above figures, the "Pikmin" series hasn't exactly been a cash cow, which begs this question as well: If "Pikmin" gets a Wii U release, why hasn't "Metroid" gotten a Wii U release?
"Metroid Prime" sold a total of 2.82 million copies, with 69.5 percent of sales occurring here in the states. Europe accounted for 23.7 percent of sales, while Japan only accounted for a mere 3.5 percent. "Metroid Prime 2: Echoes" sold a total of 1.33 million copies, with 65.8 percent of sales occurring in the U.S., 26.2 percent of sales taking place in European and only 5.3 percent of sales occurring in Japan. "Metroid Prime 3: Corruption" sold 1.65 million copies, with 52.8 percent of sales in North American, 32.8 percent of sales in Europe and only 4.3 percent of "Metroid Prime 3: Corruption" sales in Japan.
If the VGChartz sales figures are accurate, every "Metroid Prime" game sold better than both "Pikmin" and "Pikmin 2." We have to believe that part of the reason Nintendo greenlit "Pikmin 3" was for business reasons. So, based on the sales figures above, why hasn't Nintendo made a "Metroid" game for the Wii U, considering that each "Metroid Prime" game has performed better overall than the first two "Pikmin" games? It's puzzling. Even "Metroid: Other M" sold 1.25 million total copies, beating "Pikmin 2" but losing out to "Pikmin."
That's not to say that the first "Metroid" game for the Wii U needs to be a first-person title like "Metroid Prime" or a first and third-person hybrid like "Metroid: Other M." While Nintendo certainly could opt for a "Metroid" game that adopts those styles, we think there's room for a "Metroid" sidescroller. The massive success of sidescrollers like "New Super Mario Bros. Wii," which has sold more than 27 million copies to this point, is proof of this. Even "New Super Mario Bros. U" has sold 1.98 million copies, making it the second-best selling Wii U game to this point.
Even Nintendo exec Satoru Iwata has said that the Wii U needs games, not a price cut. The ability of "Pikmin 3" to boost Japanese Wii U sales is direct proof of that. "Pikmin 3" may do the same for U.S. Wii U sales, but based on the above sales data, we're willing to bet that a "Metroid" game for the Wii U would give the embattled console a significant boost as well.
What do you think? Do you think "Pikmin 3" will boost Wii U sales? Do you think a "Metroid" game would help Wii U sales? Sound off in the comments below.
I cover video games, tech, privacy issues and more for IBT. Prior to joining the staff, I wrote for Major League Baseball, Computer Shopper and other publications. I earned...
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