80 percent of the 3.45 million Wii U consoles worldwide are connected to the Internet, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said in prepared comments published today. This is the highest mark Nintendo has ever achieved for a console and the company believes the figure has more upward potential.
"This is a higher number than the previous hardware systems we released," Iwata said. "As Wii U is a game console you can enjoy most with an Internet connection, we will continue to inform our consumers about the advantages of using it online and further increase the net-connection ratio."
Iwata also revealed Internet-connected statistics for the 3DS, saying in Japan, the connected rate is the highest at 87 percent. In the United States, the figure is a slightly lower 83 percent, but the ratios are rising in both regions, he said. As for Europe, this net-connected ratio stands at 57 percent, and though it is higher than before, it "leaves much to be improved," he said.
Iwata said a high Internet-connected ratio forms the basis for the company's digital business. He pointed to a graph (below), showing the transition of download sales until the last fiscal year.
"They were soaring up until three years ago, but were not able to rise for the past two years," Iwata said. "As you can see, however, the sales in the last fiscal year more than doubled from the previous year and became the highest ever, surpassing the record high three years ago."
"The record-high fiscal year, ended in March 2010, was the time when both the Wii and Nintendo DSi systems were actively used. You can see our digital business has stronger momentum than at that time," he added. "The deployment of add-on content last year and the digital download sales of packaged software we started last July are contributing to the current sales growth. Among other things."
The Wii U has sold 3.45 million units worldwide as of March 31, more than 500,000 units short of Nintendo's sales forecast of 4 million units. By this time next year, Nintendo plans to have sold 9 million systems.