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Wii U projected to sell 4m units by March 2013

Console's Europe release date could creep into early December

Nintendo is preparing to shift 4-5 million Wii U units into retail during the system's launch period, according to a growing body of financial information and analyst projections.


Buried within the Tokyo firm's Q1 financial report, Nintendo forecasted it will ship about 10.5 million Wii and Wii U units combined during the current financial year, ending March 2013.

A key discussion point is how this total is expected to be split between the Wii and Wii U systems.

Nintendo sold 710,000 Wii units in the April-June quarter, and about 840,000 Wii systems over the January-March period.

Though it appears that the sales have ground to a halt, the Wii historically makes the majority of its annual sales at Christmas. Various bundles and retail promotions helped Nintendo sell 6.6 million units globally across the 2011 holiday quarter.

Based on these trends, Nintendo could be expecting Wii to sell six to seven million Wii systems globally in the current financial year. That would leave the Wii U with about four to five million sales.

Piers-Harding Rolls, lead games analyst for IHS Screen Digest, has told CVG that 4 million unit sales in the current financial year "is achievable but depends on launch price and timing".

"The big question is the extent of cannibalisation of Wii sales by the Wii U," he said.

"Our assumptions are that Nintendo will ship 6.5 million Wii systems in the current financial year, and about 4 million Wii U systems into retail. As such I think Nintendo's overall target of 10.5m console units is pretty neutral.

"In general, my outlook is that Wii U console sales will not replicate the success of the Wii. Aside from more intense competition from various other connected devices, the Wii U second-screen dynamic is a more complex consumer proposition compared to the Wii and is much harder to market."

Launched in 2006, the Wii broke records as the fastest selling home console ever across the UK, Europe, Australia and Japan.

A publishing source close to the matter has told CVG that the Wii U's European release date is likely late November but claimed it could slip into early December.