With the launch of the Wii U, Nintendo had more at stake than Microsoft in terms of gaming console sales last week. Even so, the Xbox 360 radically outsold the Wii U in North America. While there's no arguing with raw numbers — 750,000 for the Xbox 360 and 400,000 for the Wii U — the bigger picture is a bit more complicated.
The price of the consoles is the first differentiator. The Wii U's less than desirable Basic offering clocks in at $299, while the Xbox 360 asks for a full Benjamin fewer. When comparing premium models, the price differential is the same: the Xbox 360 Holiday Bundle packs in more games for much less money. Especially when considering all of the services offered by Xbox Live (which you pay a subscription fee to use as a Gold Member), it's hard to argue that the Wii U musters up a better value than the Xbox 360. Streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and others are beginning to appear on Nintendo's console, but it lags behind its competitors in this important area of content consumption.
Nintendo warned that there were supply issues with the Wii U. This quite clearly depressed sales figures for the new system, but it is impossible to know to what degree. There's also Nintendo's bigger picture to consider. The company sold a metric ton of 3DS and Wii systems, as well. On top of 400,000 Wii Us, Nintendo sold 300,000 original Wii units, 275,000 Nintendo DS handhelds and 250,000 3DS systems.
Sony, for its part, has yet to release sales data for the PS3 and PlayStation Vita consoles as of this post.