Wii Play Top Seller of 2008

Wii Play Top Seller of 2008

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The numbers are in, and over the course of 2008, the year's best-seller was an additional remote for the Nintendo Wii. Oh, and there was a game that went along with it or something.

If you've been even cursorily following the games industry these days, you're probably aware that Nintendo's plucky Little Console That Could has been absolutely demolishing the competition left and right. NPD Group's official sales numbers reflect this: Not only was the Wii the first console to ever sell more than 10 million units in a single calendar year, but the best-selling game of 2008 was Wii Play.

Wii Play, incidentally, came out in February 2007 - and would have been the #1 seller that year if not for Halo 3. In an industry where most games sell the vast majority of copies in a short period of time right after release, this sort of longevity - let alone dominance - is absolutely unheard of, particularly for a console game (PC games tend to have longer shelf lives, just ask The Sims and pretty much any Blizzard title).

The top four were all Nintendo titles; Mario Kart Wii nabbed second place, with Wii Fit and Super Smash Bros. Brawl following up. I didn't even think they made 4.5 million Wii Fit balance boards.

Grand Theft Auto IV for the 360 broke the Wii stranglehold on the list at #5 (its PS3 counterpart took 8th place), followed by Call of Duty: World at War and Gears of War 2. The presence of perennial frat-boy football-fest Madden NFL 09 on the list at #9 is hardly surprising, but the #10 game is a bit of a headscratcher: Nintendo returned to the list with Mario Kart DS, a game that was released in ... November 2005?

Really, Mario Kart DS? The DS may have sold 3 million units in December '08, which is admittedly surprising if you haven't been paying attention to the fact that there's a recession going on, and in a recession people buy more inexpensive products, but ... no, seriously. Mario Kart DS.

Sure, it was a great game, but it's more than 3 years old by now. Its presence on the top 10 console games sold of 2008 is more of a head-scratcher than anything else on that list.

The full list, if you're interested:

1. Wii Play (released February 2007) 5.28 million
2. Mario Kart Wii (released April 2008) 5.00 million
3. Wii Fit (released May 2008) 4.53 million
4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (released March 2008) 4.17 million
5. Grand Theft Auto IV (360) (released April 2008) 3.29 million
6. Call of Duty: World at War (360) (released November 2008) 2.75 million
7. Gears of War 2 (released November 2008) 2.31 million
8. Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3) (released April 2008) 1.89 million
9. Madden NFL 09 (360) (released August 2008) 1.87 million
10. Mario Kart (DS) (released November 2005) 1.65 million

(Via What They Play)

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It's interesting that the top 3 games on that list all have crap that comes with the game. Extra controller, the little wheel, or the whole Wii Fit Board thing. People seem drawn to the added value of buying a controller plus a game or vice-versa.

Makes you wonder, why doesn't Microsoft or Sony just bundle a game with their controllers and follow a similar pattern?

the only reason that people bought wii play was because it comes with a wii remote.

i am happy to see mario cart wii and ds in the list!!!

I think it just proves the nintendo are `right` in chasing the family/casual gamer.
Going for the market that has more buying power and disposable income.

The only reason I bought Wii Play was that, at the time, it was the only way to get a second Wii-mote. Wii Fit, on the other hand, is a different thing entirely. My wife loves it, and uses it several times a week as part of her workout.

In a way, the biggest strength, and weakness, of the Wii is that it's a system whos success is based on providing a completely new experience for the user. The motion remotes did that right away, and the greatest successes Nintendo has had with games are about doing the same thing - Mario Kart and Wii Fit both use the included peripherals to do something unique.

Nondo x:
I think it just proves the nintendo are `right` in chasing the family/casual gamer.
Going for the market that has more buying power and disposable income.

It's working for them, but I bet being able to see industry-wide numbers would be incredibly interesting. I have to wonder how the average profit/console sold (including attached games and DLC) ends up comparing across the Wii/Xbox/PS3 and how much overall profit the three companies end up with.

Nintendo's advantage here is that they also developed and publish all the Wii's best-selling games, so they get a nice boost from that too.

Is anyone surprised by this?

SomeBritishDude:
Is anyone surprised by this?

Not really. Everyone I know who has a Wii bought it for an extra remote.

I was a little surprised by wii play, because I don't consider it to even be a game, as much as it is a series of mini games that suck (minus the tank game, thats good ol fashioned fun) But no Halo? I figured all the x box fanboys would have escalated that to at least a top 10 mark, surely above CoD WaW. None the less, I am not surprised by the nintendo touch of dominance, even in a year where their games were lackluster, they still obliterated the competition because of clever marketing.

super_smash_jesus:
I was a little surprised by wii play, because I don't consider it to even be a game, as much as it is a series of mini games that suck (minus the tank game, thats good ol fashioned fun) But no Halo? I figured all the x box fanboys would have escalated that to at least a top 10 mark, surely above CoD WaW.

Wrong year. Halo 3 was released Sept 2007, and it utterly dominated the '07 sales figures on the bases of that one quarter. It tapered off in '08 enough that it didn't make the list. Still, 8 million copies sold over the year-and-a-bit it's been out can hardly be considered a failure.

-- Steve

Virgil:
It's working for them, but I bet being able to see industry-wide numbers would be incredibly interesting. I have to wonder how the average profit/console sold (including attached games and DLC) ends up comparing across the Wii/Xbox/PS3 and how much overall profit the three companies end up with.

Nintendo's advantage here is that they also developed and publish all the Wii's best-selling games, so they get a nice boost from that too.

Yeah, good point. Gamasutra has a post showing that Third Party developers make more money and move more units publishing for the 360 than any other console.

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=21895

Valiance:
Everyone I know who has a Wii bought it for an extra remote.

I didn't, but it took me ages to find a second remote at all. My wife probably would have wanted Wii Play if we had any use for a third.

Not surprised really, mostly for the second Wiimote thing.

I was surprised to see Nintendo take up half the spaces on the list though. Even as a fan (not a fanboy) of Nintendo I didn't think that many people in '08 still bought their stuff given all the whinging about E3 '08

Should they really be separating the PS3 and 360 versions of GTAIV? I mean, Wii Play came bundled with a Wiimote, which does explain its runaway success - why get just a Wiimote when you can pay a bit extra for a decent minigame compilation?
But why is GTAIV separated? If you combine the sales figures for both versions, it ends up in second place.
Mario Kart DS is just perplexing.

Graustein:
Should they really be separating the PS3 and 360 versions of GTAIV? I mean, Wii Play came bundled with a Wiimote, which does explain its runaway success - why get just a Wiimote when you can pay a bit extra for a decent minigame compilation?
But why is GTAIV separated? If you combine the sales figures for both versions, it ends up in second place.
Mario Kart DS is just perplexing.

I have to assume they separate GTA4 into two separate games because, you know, their on two different systems. if I can't play the PS3 version of GTA4 on my 360 then they're sales figures shouldn't be put together.

black lincon:

Graustein:
Should they really be separating the PS3 and 360 versions of GTAIV? I mean, Wii Play came bundled with a Wiimote, which does explain its runaway success - why get just a Wiimote when you can pay a bit extra for a decent minigame compilation?
But why is GTAIV separated? If you combine the sales figures for both versions, it ends up in second place.
Mario Kart DS is just perplexing.

I have to assume they separate GTA4 into two separate games because, you know, their on two different systems. if I can't play the PS3 version of GTA4 on my 360 then they're sales figures shouldn't be put together.

So a Blu-ray copy of Wall-E and a DVD of Wall-E should count as separate for overall sales of Wall-E?
I realise they're different systems, but are the differences that great that it justifies splitting the sales figures? GTAIV is GTAIV, no matter what controller you're using.
On the other hand, I own neither a PS3 nor a 360, so I don't know to what extent the ports actually vary.

Graustein:

black lincon:

Graustein:
Should they really be separating the PS3 and 360 versions of GTAIV? I mean, Wii Play came bundled with a Wiimote, which does explain its runaway success - why get just a Wiimote when you can pay a bit extra for a decent minigame compilation?
But why is GTAIV separated? If you combine the sales figures for both versions, it ends up in second place.
Mario Kart DS is just perplexing.

I have to assume they separate GTA4 into two separate games because, you know, their on two different systems. if I can't play the PS3 version of GTA4 on my 360 then they're sales figures shouldn't be put together.

So a Blu-ray copy of Wall-E and a DVD of Wall-E should count as separate for overall sales of Wall-E?
I realise they're different systems, but are the differences that great that it justifies splitting the sales figures? GTAIV is GTAIV, no matter what controller you're using.
On the other hand, I own neither a PS# nor a 360, so I don't know to what extent the ports actually vary.

No Wall-E blu-ray's shouldn't because a blu-ray player on a PS3 and a separate Blu-ray player aren't different but a 360 and a PS3 are. I don't believe they are actually that different games and the only place they may actually vary is in DLC but they still count them separately because if you wanted to play them on both systems you would have to buy it twice.

Good job Nintendo, we are realy proud of you. Now make a game that actualy sells becase it's good and not because it caters to people's delusions of being too fat. And fix that stupid board so people over 5'5'' can use it too without falling off every time.

Now there's a telling sign of the state of the economy: The tenth top seller of 2008 was a three year old DS title.

 

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