Our Mario Kart 8 review appeared half a month ago, but the game didn’t go on sale until May 30 — last Friday. Over the weekend, Nintendo’s debut Mario Kart for the Wii U managed to sell more than 1.2 million units worldwide, says Nintendo, “worldwide” in this case comprising Japan, Europe and the Americas.
The news comes a week out from E3 2014, where Nintendo is expected to focus on new software for both its Wii U console and 3DS handheld game system. The Wii U’s been struggling since its launch in November 2012 to strike a chord with both potential buyers and third-party game developers. To date, Nintendo’s only sold in the vicinity of 6 million units, whereas Sony’s PlayStation 4 — launched a year later than the Wii U — is already well ahead of Nintendo’s system, surpassing 7 million units sold worldwide in mid-April.
The 3DS, by contrast, has sold quite well for Nintendo since it dropped the handheld’s price in August 2011 (just six months after its February stateside debut), selling over 42 million units to date. But sales have tapered off recently, posting a year-on-year sales deficit in Nintendo’s most recent fiscal report.
Mario Kart 8 was expected to be a major sales booster for the company. After all, Mario Kart Wii, the sixth in series, sold an unprecedented 33.5 million copies, and Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS has sold over 9.5 million copies to date.
Whether it’s been a major Wii U booster remains to be seen. Nintendo’s only talking unit sales of the game at this point, many of which presumably went to existing system owners.
Life to date (and before Mario Kart 8 sales), Nintendo says the Mario Kart franchise has sold over 100 million units.