How Nintendo Helped Microsoft

on December 1, 2011

Earlier this week Microsoft shared that the XBOX 360 had the biggest sales week in the history of Xbox, selling more than 960,000 consoles in the U.S. during the week of Black Friday. That is a lot of consoles, in a market where the XBOX has significant penetration already. So the question is who bought nearly 1 million XBOX consoles in one week?

Now this is purely speculation since we don’t have specific demographic information, but my intuition is to say they were mostly Wii up-graders. The Wii has dominated the last few Christmas seasons and has exposed many families to gaming who were not hard-core gamers, which is the audience for the XBOX 360 and PS3. Nintendo’s more casual gaming style with the Wii and allure to families as well as children helped grow the market for console gaming. As families became interested in a more graphically rich gaming experience, and their kids who grew up on the Wii got older and now wanted a more immersive gaming experience, the time of the XBOX 360 arrived.

The Kinect helped also selling more than 750,000 Kinect sensors in the same week, an incredibly high attach rate. This is further indication to lead me to believe that many families in the US are upgrading from their Wii to the XBOX 360.

The Wii did a wonderful job making gaming less threatening. It was exactly the market Nintendo targeted. That in return grew the market by bringing families who had children too young for an XBOX or PS3 or were to intimidated by the complex controller. Now it appears the XBOX 360 and Kinect sensor are the perfect step up from the Wii.

It will be interesting to see how Nintendo positions the Wii U in light of some of these recent market advances.

Related: The Wii U is interesting, but how unique is it?