Nintendo Historical Shipment Data (1983 - Present)

1st Course

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Interesting how the Wii PAL sales are much higher than any Nintendo console before it. It sold almost 10x what the GCN sold there.
 
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Nintendo sold 52,000 NES systems to consumers in the USA in 1996.

I presume a small shipment of 10,000 units was to briefly satiate the demand before the console completely dropped off the charts (it only sold 8,000 units in 1997).
Wait, so do you know the actual sales to consumers in each year? That's not on the charts...

On that note though, the 1.4 million gap between N64 shipments and sales is odd. I imagine all of those sold eventually... the only other system with such a gap is the GB/GBC, but that was on the market for a long time and had many models so there might be more likelihood of older models not selling, or something.

Wikipedia doesn't just have issues with gaming lists. When you get data that's highly specialized, the editors allow questionable / vague sources to be taken as fact.

Here's the Virtual Boy article on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_boy

Note the "Units sold: 770,000" false statistic.

If you trace that figure to its source:

http://web.archive.org/web/20070508035815/http://www.gamepro.com/gamepro/domestic/games/features/111823.shtml

...you get an ancient, vague, self-referential comment that cites no hard sources. Basically, the logic behind the statistic is "Virtual Boy sold 770,000 units because Virtual Boy sold 770,000 units." However, because Wikipedia's editors aren't specialized enough to notice this inconsistency, the incorrect 770,000 figure proliferates because many people take sourced Wikipedia figures as facts.
You're absolutely right, that kind of thing is a real problem. Sega Genesis fans put it on themselves to do the best job they could of finding actual numbers for Genesis sales. If you go to the Genesis Wikipedia article, you'll see the results -- the range is like 5-million-plus to bottom, simply because of how much we don't know about how much the Genesis actually sold... but that number is a massive improvement over the completely wrong numbers Wikipedia had before that.

And on the note of that 770,000 VB number from that completely unsourced Gamepro article, that same article is the only source for several other console sales numbers at Wikipedia, including the "1 million Sega Nomads sold" number that I find VERY highly doubtful, but the Genesis sales numbers take as fact (since there are no other numbers to be found for that system).

So yeah, finding actual Sega numbers would be pretty amazing... and I guess Nintendo doesn't have any actual VB numbers, or something? Or they won't share them? That's too bad.
 

Celine

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Thank you Aquamarine.

VIRTUAL BOY

Lifetime worldwide shipments: 1.26 million

Shipments (Japan) - 0.63 million
Shipments (The Americas) - 0.56 million
Shipments (Other) - 0.07 million

Here is the sell-through information I have on Virtual Boy:

Japanese Sales, Lifetime: 630,000
USA Sales, Lifetime: 496,000

I can vouch that the 496K is the actual number NPD has in its archives for Virtual Boy LTD sales.
630K for Japan should be accurate too (per Famitsu).

This is awesome. I'd love to see if anyone has data for SEGA consoles. Any SEGA shareholders here? ;)
Can you convince Sony to breakdown PS3 and Vita sales too? =P
Saint now, if she can :)

Sega worldwide shipment given by CESA a few years ago:
Mega Drive: 30.75M
Saturn: 9.26M
Dreamcast: 9.13M

And on the note of that 770,000 VB number from that completely unsourced Gamepro article, that same article is the only source for several other console sales numbers at Wikipedia, including the "1 million Sega Nomads sold" number that I find VERY highly doubtful, but the Genesis sales numbers take as fact (since there are no other numbers to be found for that system).
Horrible article.
 

Into

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Really good job, well done.

The only console that has done really well in Europe is Wii, even NES did merely "okay". Majority of its impact was in NA and Japan.

Which is a bit strange, since NA and EU are so much alike, yet Nintendo struggles here. While Sony has done great every generation here with their home consoles. Sure PC gaming is big in Scandinavian countries + Germany + some eastern European nations, and Sega was pretty popular. But that still did not hold Sony back.

If one is to make any kind of prediction based on trends, if the Wii U is to make any sort of comeback its going to happen in North America and maybe Japan, not Europe.
 
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Thank you Aquamarine.


630K for Japan should be accurate too (per Famitsu).
Huh, the VB sold a bit better than I thought, and in Japan too. That it actually sold a bit better in Japan makes Nintendo's decision to abandon the system there in January '96, while they kept on in the US for several more months before giving up on a later-'96 relaunch idea, even harder to understand... why dump it first in the market where it had actually sold a little better? I guess the idea was to cut their losses, but over a million systems sold in 6-9 months? Even if a bunch of those were at fire-sale prices later on, it could have been a lot worse!

But I think the VB is kind of cool, so I wish that they'd stuck with it longer, given that they released the thing.

Saint now, if she can :)

Sega worldwide shipment given by CESA a few years ago:
Mega Drive: 30.75M
Saturn: 9.26M
Dreamcast: 9.13M
There's no possible way that that Genesis number is accurate (unless it's leaving out a lot of stuff that's way too low), and that Dreamcast number looks too low too...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sega_genesis#cite_note-SalesNote1-3

Horrible article.
Certainly is. I wish we had some clue (any clue!) about how the Nomad sold, it'd be helpful in figuring out accurate Genesis sales numbers.
 

L~A

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Awesome data, Aquamarine. I just love getting my hands on as much sales data as possible, and this thread is like finding a mine with moutains of gold falling just by scratching the walls. Very great stuff!

Now just watch other websites just copy/pasting your charts with barely any analysis at all ;)

I'm actually surprised the DS did so well in Europe. For the 3DS, the UK really is a thorn in Nintendo's foot, but it seems to have gotten better since the start of FY 2013. Can't wait for some more numbers next week!
 

cw_sasuke

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Awesome man thanks for the data :eek:
Never realized how great the N64 did in western markets compared to the SNES - really puts things into perspective.
 

Natetan

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Rose tinted glasses etc, etc,

Now there's a thread to point out to all those people that demand Nintendo to go back to pre-GC era, really? what company in it's right mind would do that?
Volume of consoles sold doesn't necessarily reflect an era's goldenness.
 

BGBW

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Nintendo home consoles sold 3x as less in Europe than America pre Wii, thats huge. Were the Megadrive and SMS bigger here?
More like Spectrum, BBC Micro, Amstrad, Commodore etc were more popular.

But whenever old Nintendo is referred to on UK television it's almost always the GameBoy.

Cool thread.
 

jvm

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Aquamarine

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So yeah, finding actual Sega numbers would be pretty amazing... and I guess Nintendo doesn't have any actual VB numbers, or something? Or they won't share them? That's too bad.
I have a yearly breakdown of USA + Japanese Virtual Boy sales to consumers, but no...I don't think we'll ever get any real figure from Nintendo about it.

There's just such a strong disappointment towards it that overpowers everything else.

Wait, so do you know the actual sales to consumers in each year? That's not on the charts...
:)

On that note though, the 1.4 million gap between N64 shipments and sales is odd. I imagine all of those sold eventually... the only other system with such a gap is the GB/GBC, but that was on the market for a long time and had many models so there might be more likelihood of older models not selling, or something.
I should note that the "total sold to retailers" figure at the bottom is Nintendo Co., Ltd.'s internal ESTIMATES for consolidated sales...the data may have reliability issues for some of the old systems. By mixing non-consolidated and consolidated, I'm trying to present the data that I know was 100% accurately tracked by Nintendo.

It's actually not that surprising that 1.3 million consoles would have been sent to Nintendo of America but never actually sold to retailers. Believe it or not, the N64 had a lot of unsold inventory that had to get sent back to Japan / destroyed.

I think this is due to Nintendo vastly over-estimating demand in the crucial 2000-2001 turning point...they still continued to pump out N64 consoles while the whole world was fixated on the PS2, and the GameCube was about to be released. When the PS2 became such an explosive hit, retailers changed their minds about stocking the N64.

Nintendo also saturated the USA market with 11 bundles in the 2000 sales season. While one or two of these bundles sold well, the vast majority did not. This may be a contributor to it as well.
 
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I have a yearly breakdown of USA + Japanese Virtual Boy sales to consumers, but no...I don't think we'll ever get any real figure from Nintendo about it.

There's just such a strong disappointment towards it that overpowers everything else.
Too bad. They really should either have never released it, supported it longer as a clearly "third pillar" kind of system, or had lower expectations for it from the start...

Ah, I see. Can't share that I guess.

I should note that the "total sold to retailers" figure at the bottom is Nintendo Co., Ltd.'s internal ESTIMATES for consolidated sales...the data may have reliability issues for some of the old systems. By mixing non-consolidated and consolidated, I'm trying to present the data that I know was 100% accurately tracked by Nintendo.
It's actually not that surprising that 1.3 million consoles would have been sent to Nintendo of America but never actually sold to retailers. Believe it or not, the N64 had a lot of unsold inventory that had to get sent back to Japan / destroyed.

I think this is due to Nintendo vastly over-estimating demand in the crucial 2000-2001 turning point...they still continued to pump out N64 consoles while the whole world was fixated on the PS2, and the GameCube was about to be released. When the PS2 became such an explosive hit, retailers changed their minds about stocking the N64.

Nintendo also saturated the USA market with 11 bundles in the 2000 sales season. While one or two of these bundles sold well, the vast majority did not. This may be a contributor to it as well.[/QUOTE]
Hmm, that 20.6 number, not 21.9, is the sales number I've usually seen used for what US N64 sales were, so I guess that makes sense... though if that is all true, Nintendo has to have not really been paying attention to what they were doing, or something. I mean, to go back to something I've said before in other threads, if you wanted to sell some of those million unsold systems, how about actually releasing a few games in the second half of 2001? Sure they probably wouldn't have sold a lot of consoles, but they'd have sold something, which is more than what they did. I mean, Nintendo stopped supporting the N64 with new game releases in the US in June '01 (Mario Party 3), six months before the GC released. You are of course right that the PS2 was crushing everything else in the market (it was killing Dreamcast too, of course), but was giving up really the right response?

Well, CESAs shipment data is provided by Sega.

CESA is the japanese gaming accociation.
However, we have press releases from the '90s from Sega which make clear that the Genesis sold 22-23 million in the US, minimum; 8 million in Europe; and 3 million in Europe. Sega press releases prove that the Genesis was already up to 29 million systems sold worldwide by late 1994. The system died in Japan after that, but sold in the US and Europe for years afterwards and sold millions more systems. So no, that number has to be wrong, or else Sega lied in all of their sales press releases in the '90s.

Look at that link again. The sources for the 20.4 million systems sold in the US (1989-1997) is solid. Then in 1998 Majesco sold one or two million Genesis 3 systems -- we know that sold quite well, and seems to have actually outsold the SNES that year. And the Nomad sold some unknown number of systems -- not 1 million for sure since that article is a worthless source, but that is the only Genesis sales number there which doesn't have a good source for the numbers. The 3.58 million sold in Japan number is definite, though. The 8 million in Europe one is not as sourced, but there's no reason to disbelieve it; the Genesis did well there, after all. 3 million in Brazil is also known. As the Wikipedia article explains there are some unknown factors that give it that ~5 million range, but there is no way that the total was only 30 million. If that doesn't include any TecToy or Majesco numbers then maybe it could be right, but it's still extremely unlikely because the numbers add up to over 30 million even without those parts. Of course we don't know exact numbers -- as Wikipedia says " Other: 3.42 million[92] (Left over from initial 29 million,[sn 1] may or may not include overlap with Tec Toy's pre-1995 sales)", that is, we don't know whether that 29 million number included TecToy or not, and since it was from before the Majesco release it definitely did not include Majesco. It's the same here.
 

Aquamarine

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Ah, I see. Can't share that I guess.
It's less a case of "I can't share it," and more the case that very old USA sell-through data is much more inaccurate than the present.

There's a good reason why NPD doesn't guarantee the accuracy of any of its data prior to 1995 / 1996.

But what do you want to know exactly?
 

SeventhSon

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This thread is fantastic! Is the OP able to document the direct sources for authenticity? I don't personally doubt the figures, but I'm sure a forum post on a message board will be questioned in the future.
 

Aquamarine

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This thread is fantastic! Is the OP able to document the direct sources for authenticity? I don't personally doubt the figures, but I'm sure a forum post on a message board will be questioned in the future.
That's really hard for me to do without revealing the name of my contact at NCL, and I'm not going to do that for privacy reasons.

Here's as detailed as I'm going to get:

Non-consolidated Nintendo data (1982-2000):
Source: My contact at Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s Corporate Headquarters, located at:
11-1 Hokotate-cho, Kamitoba,
Minami-ku, Kyoto, Japan
Date acquired: August 2013

Consolidated Nintendo data (2001-present):
Source: Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s corporate website
Date acquired: May 2013

I really can't get any more "authentic" than that, but I bet my NeoGAF account on all of the data being exactly how it was revealed to me. I have absolutely no motivations to lie about any of the data, and I've been transparent about the types of data included.

I also have a reputation on this website for being trustworthy...i.e. I don't make up the data that I post. So really, you have to take my word on it, because I'm not in the business of lying to people here.
 
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It's less a case of "I can't share it," and more the case that very old USA sell-through data is much more inaccurate than the present.

There's a good reason why NPD doesn't guarantee the accuracy of any of its data prior to 1995 / 1996.

But what do you want to know exactly?
I was mostly just wondering if sales numbers explain some of the odd jumps in shipping -- for instance, why the GBA shipped twice as much in Japan in '07-'08 than it had the year before. Or whether the explanation for why the GBC went from 1.4 million shipped in the US in '01-'02 to zero was because it was overshipped and those systems took some time to clear through and by that point no more were needed? I know the GBA had released, but still, no other system goes from such a high number to zero in the space of a year in any region. Stuff like that. The point about sales numbers being in accurate before the mid '90s is a good reason to not put that stuff up I guess, though.
 

KillerMan91

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Awesome thread Aquamarine, hope you do a similar one for Sega, MS and Sony! :)


Nintendo home consoles sold 3x as less in Europe than America pre Wii, thats huge. Were the Megadrive and SMS bigger here?
PCs and Commodore. PlayStation was first successful home console in Europe.
 
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I still dont understand later NES shipments, how can it have shipped that much in the 21st century? To where?
Japan has an enormous retro scene. That should explain how the NES kept up shipments there for 20 years.
Yeah. Also, I wonder, were they taking in repairs and then sending people back new systems and calling those shipments too? Because given that original Famicom has hardwired controllers, I'm sure a lot of them had problems that needed fixing... because even given that Japan had a big retro scene, those are a LOT of new shipments (tens of thousands a year!).

On that note, about the NES, I think it's interesting how in Japan the system peaked in sales in 1982-86, in the US from 87-90, and in Europe from 90-92... the places the system was peaking in kept moving over time.
 

Celine

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Blast from the past, NoA PR in early 1997:

Final Results - '96 to Nintendo; Massive Fourth Quarter Cements Industry Leadership

Redmond, Washington - Feb. 3, 1997 - Fueled by booming sales for all product lines throughout the holiday selling season, final independent retail sales data give Nintendo across-the-board leadership of the U.S. video game business in 1996, gathering 44% of all industry revenues, compared with 28% for Sony and 26% for Sega.

In just the three-plus months between its record-setting launch and year end, the new Nintendo64 video game system sold at a rate equaling its two main competitors combined. According to TRSTS data gathered by NPD Research, total unit sales of 1.75 million units in just 13 weeks represented just over 50% of the major "next generation" systems during that time period, compared to 34% for the Sony PlayStation, and 16% for the Sega Saturn.

Nintendo's leadership in the 16-bit and handheld video game categories was even more pronounced. For the full year, the SuperNES accounted for 61% of all 16-bit sales; and Game Boy captured 81% of all handheld units.

TRSTS said in addition to capturing the largest percentage of total industry dollars, Nintendo also ended the year number one in total hardware system sales (54% of the industry) and total game sales (43%).

"In a year when strong competitors built effective marketing campaigns behind their new products, this decisive victory for Nintendo is especially gratifying," said Howard Lincoln, chairman of Nintendo of America. "But perhaps the most important of all is the fact that after two years of decline, sales for the dedicated video game sector as a whole rose 22% over 1995. As an industry, we're definitely back."

According to published reports, comparative 1996 growth for Hollywood's box office was eight percent, while the music industry ended 1996 flat with 1995.

TRSTS data shows all video game industry revenues for 1996 totaled nearly $3.9 billion, compared to $3.2 billion in 1995. The lion's share of the difference is attributed to Nintendo 64, which represented over half a billion dollars in retail sales in 13 weeks, and averaged over $8 million of retail sales every day it was available in 1996.

"Even though Nintendo 64 is the fastest selling video game system ever," said Peter Main, Nintendo executive vice president of sales and marketing, "we are told by our retailers that they easily could have sold another 750,000 in 1996 if supply had met total demand."

"Although we'll continue to ship hardware and software throughout January, we know demand continues to exceed supply. The Feb. 10 launch of our Mario Kart 64 game - which sold 1.4 million units in just two weeks following its launch in Japan - is going to further fill game player demand for the N64 system."

While totaling 1.75 million in hardware sales in its full 13 weeks of availability in 1996, Nintendo 64 sold through 1.5 million of those units in just 11 weeks time - the fastest rate in U.S. history. The previous record-holder, the SuperNES, sold 1.5 million units in seven months following its launch in 1991. According to independent sales data, it took 14 months for the Sony PlayStation to reach the same mark in 1995, and the Sega Saturn has not yet sold through 1.5 million in the US.
 

Turrican3

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Sorry for the bump, but there's something in this data that really, really baffled me.

SNES 1994-95 in the West like... totally collapsed during that fiscal year compared to the previous, yet rebounded considerably in '95-'96.
I was thinking about something like Playstation rumours/announcement influence, but then this probably wouldn't explain the rebound during the next fiscal year... or maybe it does?!

Any explanation would be appreciated.
 

Square2015

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Hmm... so I guess Sony (and/or Sega) competition *did* have an influence over that after all. ^_^

Thanks.
Sony was not yet in the picture, it was Nintendo underperforming Christmas '93 thanks to Segadomination in the name of Mortal Kombat and the sleek new Genesis 2. Nintendo greatly underperformed in late '93 & early '94.