Recent Mario Kart 8 sales have been positive enough to give critics a reason to think the Wii U is not dead yet. The latest installment in the highly popular Mario Kart series has excited fans enough to not only purchase a new game, but a whole console. Since the latest installment of the series is only available on the Wii U, fans of Rainbow Road are forced to have a Wii U in order to find out how they can reportedly finally defeat the blue shell.
According to CNN, Nintendo reported Mario Kart 8 sold over 1.2 million copies in its opening weekend. Sales for the Wii U skyrocketed in the UK where the game was bundled with the Wii U console, increasing a whopping 666%. With a rapid upswing in sales, Nintendo is likely gaining confidence in the lifespan of the Wii U.
The long history of Mario Kart and the loyalty of its fan base are certainly a boon to Nintendo in general, but in this case the timing could not be better for Nintendo. The recent years showed slacking sales for the Wii U, only selling selling just over 6 million units where the benchmark and expectations for Nintendo were closer to 9 million.
The Wii U is not out of the woods yet though. The same problems that plagued the Wii U before still are present here. The Wii U still has limited graphics capability relative to the Xbox One and Playstation 4. More importantly however, the Wii U still has highly limited third party support, flashing few exclusives or big titles.
Still, with a surge in console sales like this, Nintendo is in a better position to lure game develops into creating games for their console. At E3, Nintendo announced some new intellectual property and showcased a new The Legend of Zelda franchise game: Hyrule Warriors. Nintendo also teased some screenshots of the next Legend of Zelda game.
With the upsurge of console sales from Mario Kart 8 and the follow up sales from Hyrule Warriors, Wii U is set to become a competitor in the console market. While the increased console sales are helpful, the games that sold well were Nintendo franchises, not third part creations. Whether Nintendo can keep that momentum and grasp some third party support is yet to be seen. The Wii U is not out of the woods yet.