Report: Nintendo banks $6 on each Wii sold

Forbes says console maker's budget-line console earns slim operating profit on each of the nearly 35 million consoles sold.


For this generation of home gaming consoles, Nintendo exited the technological arms race that had fueled the industry since its inception. Rather than opting for the bleeding-edge tech specs adopted by rivals Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo built the Wii using dated technology and an innovative motion-control input scheme. The gamble, of course, has thus far paid off in spades, with the Wii's nearly 35 million units in global lifetime sales easily outpacing the Xbox 360's nearly 23 million systems and the PlayStation 3's nearly 17 million units. (GameSpot initially reported inaccurate PlayStation 3 sales figures provided by Forbes, which underestimated sales by 4 million. GameSpot regrets the error.)

Nintendo's little money maker.
Nintendo's little money maker.

In stark contrast to Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo also reaps the added benefit of making a profit on each Wii sold. Citing Macquarie Securities analyst David Gibson, financial news magazine Forbes reports that the publisher makes a $6 operating profit on each Wii sold at its $250 asking price. (Forbes incorrectly lists the Wii's price point at $260 and the PlayStation 3's price at $300.) Nintendo had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment on this figure as of press time.

Forbes goes on to note that Nintendo is besting its competitors in other ways, as well. Nintendo will reportedly be responsible for 60 percent of the 220 million games sold for the Wii this year. That stands in marked contrast to Microsoft and Sony, who respectively stand to publish 30 percent of 125 million Xbox 360 games and 15 percent of 120 million PS3 games expected to sell in 2008, according to the financial magazine.

Nintendo's operations may be hampered by a strengthening yen in the global economy, but the Japanese gaming company is still pulling in gobs of cash. Reporting on the first half of its fiscal year in October, Nintendo announced net income of ¥144.8 billion ($1.55 billion) on sales of ¥836.9 billion ($8.98 billion).

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Avatar image for Sacred-Snow

Wow, that Forbes is poor

Avatar image for chikahiro94

The bigger story here is how poorly the regular media reports on the gaming industry. Gee, thanks guys. And Forbes no less? I expected better - even ten minutes in a local store would've garnered correct pricing on the systems, and they of all people should be able to get accurate numbers on systems sold. Given Reggie said the Wii was profitable from the get-go, that they've probably already begun making the Wii in a more cost-effective way (like every other console maker out there), and these errors? I'm going to say that $6 is either out-of-date or just plain wrong. Pity we can't get the real numbers...

Avatar image for jcouch2020

ive had my wii for about 9 months now, i only use it for porn......ill play my xbox 360 thank you

Avatar image for nickythenewt21

Good for Nintendo. After being in last place in the previous generation, it's good to know that they're doing successful. Now, how about you announce a release date for Pikmin 3?

Avatar image for k0r3aN_pR1d3

Are these games that Microsoft will sell include content sold on the Xbox Marketplace? Anyways, I really stopped caring about console numbers and whatnot, because God delivered something called Netflix to the Xbox. Ever since then, all I care about is my PC and Xbox 360. PC for my Wrath of the Lich King/Crysis craving, Xbox 360 for the movies. And, think of it this way. Nintendo is like the United States at the Summer Olympics. Scored alot of Medals in all categories. Xbox is like China at the Summer Olympics. Scored fewer total medals, but had the highest number of Gold Medals (Aka Editor's Choices)(Playstation is up there too) So really, who won? Up for you to decide I suppose.

Avatar image for blankshore

Good news. Yeah, I'll admit there are a LOT of bad games for wii, but there are some real classics as well, and 2009 looks promising with the new punchout, sin and punishment, the conduit, and madworld.

Avatar image for trw534

weird how that works

Avatar image for higgs64

Lindbergh2007- "You know, I've come to the conclusion that it really does matter how many Wii are sold, Nintendo could sell millions but we all know who's buying them and the fact that the games are not selling. Novelties are fickle things, and Nintendo has already abandoned thier base and these regular "we like Wii cause it's fun and don't car about games" folks will soon get burned out on Wii and it will die as being remembered as a "novelty console" with low-powered technology,party games, and lack of decent third party support instead of a great console. Nintendo has won this console race( even i'll admit that) but for all the wrong reasons. " I'm not sure why people keep saying games aren't selling for Wii when you consistently have them taking most spots on the top 10 games each month. Even this very article mentions that they are expecting 220 mil games sold for Wii, compared to only 125 mil for Xbox and 120 mil for PS3. The difference of course is that since 60% of those 220 mil come from Nintendo, they make a bigger profit margin on their games than Microsoft or Sony. The fact they actually make a small profit on their consoles too is just icing.

Avatar image for TacoJelly

I don't buy that for a second. Despite what people may think there is a decent amount of tech involved in Wii, especially considering how small it is. But I don't buy for a second that they only make $6 per console. It has to be at least $50.

Avatar image for noah10

Glad to hear that Nintendo is doing good :).(I wunder if the wii 2 will be good I herd about it but people don't really know much about it because it ain't till 2011 till it comes out :(.)

Avatar image for beluga79

i would have thought if the wii is $399 (australian) they would be making $389 proffit because they seem to be old gamecubes in new packaging.

Avatar image for jrabbit99

wow, hey, even if it is only $6 its better than losing cash.

Avatar image for PSdual_wielder

6 x 35 mil... thats not even half of what gta iv reaped in for rockstar!

Avatar image for LindBergh2007

Trooperdx3117 great anthology. You know, I've come to the conclusion that it really doesn't matter how many Wii are sold, Nintendo could sell millions but we all know who's buying them and the fact that the games are not selling. Novelties are fickle things, and Nintendo has already abandoned thier base and these regular "we like Wii cause it's fun and don't car about games" folks will soon get burned out on Wii and it will die as being remembered as a "novelty console" with low-powered technology,party games, and lack of decent third party support instead of a great console. Nintendo has won this console race( even i'll admit that) but for all the wrong reasons.

Avatar image for josef8

I never liked nintendo. Never.

Avatar image for Lais989

the hate is relentless :(

Avatar image for khai411

don't expect much reduction in Wii cost. It's not like they are using new expensive tech. The Wii consoles' technology (save the controller) was already cheap at launch. old CPU, DVD tech.

Avatar image for Flavour666

The Wii is a Cube with a different controller. They are more likely to make a profit of over $100 per console...

Avatar image for BloodMist

GBA failing and Gamecube, a system with a crapload of great exclusives was awful, huh?Shyeah, i love how people who haven't owned a Nintendo system since the SNES like to badmouth what they have no clue about.

Avatar image for XenoNinjaX

bullcrap. i think wii first came out at around $200 in japan without wiiplay. this means they were losing $50~ in japan? they're making more than $60 per wiiplay bundle, and possibly more due to lower manufacturing cost compare to what it cost 2 years ago

Avatar image for ahpuck

Even tho i don't currently own a wii, i have a lot of love for nintendo as i grew up playing their games. glad to hear they are doing well.

Avatar image for supermanrocs

I have a dream! A dream that one day I can just buy one damn system. A dream that Nintendo dudes, Xbox guys, and PS3 peeps can all unite and create one system that will full fill all my gaming needs. A system that will let me get up and bowl. Then allow me to slaughter hordes with all my friends all in alittlebigplanet that we created. I have a dream!

Avatar image for crazyleftykid

i have to say. i thought nintendo was going down the drain with a failing gameboy and an awful gamecube. i thought that nintendo couldn't keep up with the 360 and the ps3. but i was sure wrong. i'm impressed with how the wii has done and i am excited to see what the wii and nintendo can do in the future.

Avatar image for black_ice23

wow theres alot of haters, either way this is impressive but forbes stats seem to be off Wii just need to improve the online, but considering that its free its not that bad, and 3rd party needs to improve so 2009 will determine the support the wii will get its the make or break year but maybe the profits are down because of like they said the strentghing Yen and the crappy North american economy either way profit is profit imagine what kind of a hit sony and microsoft are taking

Avatar image for SPD_WeBmAsTaH

Forbes = Fail.

Avatar image for The-Croix-Man

How can we believe the $6.00 income when Forbes had all the other information it seems wrong?

Avatar image for ChaosStar

Meh, they're eventually going to run out of people to sell to. There's only so many casual soccer moms out in the world.

Avatar image for gordanfreeman53

six dollar profit for each wii sold? that 210 million dollars [thats surprising given the fact that nintendo spend billions of dollars on marketing campaigns].

Avatar image for nestea_king

"now if only nintendo can brag about the game sales. "yah, we made millions by making wii music!"" Did you not read the article? "Nintendo will reportedly be responsible for 60 percent of the 220 million games sold for the Wii this year." They can brag about their game sales. That being said it just goes to show you how CRAPPY 3rd party support is for the Wii. And 6$ per console? I doubt it. But even at that much, that means they've made a profit of nearly 210 million...which sounds damn good to me.

Avatar image for LINKloco

I remember it was $50 a system.

Avatar image for brbotelho

The money lies on the games... That's what's important...

Avatar image for deactivated-57af49c27f4e8

wow, don't use forbes as a source. that's what i got out of this.

Avatar image for the_Hippest_Cat

So this is a $6 profit after they buy all the parts and pay all the assembly line workers? I guess that makes sense. Still better than losing money on each one, besides, sell 35 million of them and it starts to add up. Good job Nintendo, now you can make a new system, now that all the "new gamers" demographic you've reached are bored. I've just play the virtual console games for the past 4 months.

Avatar image for Bgrngod

It's got to be more then $6 profit per system. That makes no sense when comparing it to other consoles out there and figuring how much they sell for this late in the game.

Avatar image for irongutvi

now if only nintendo can brag about the game sales. "yah, we made millions by making wii music!"

Avatar image for mickcivic

Hey guys...these are ESTIMATES by ANALYSTS. Not sourced from the only entity that can tell you an accurate number: Nintendo.

Avatar image for Spoon_Si

smackedfortrust I meant at launch... meaning it never came w/ blu-ray in the 1st place.. and just use DVD-9 format.. since duel-hdmi out-put was cut out.. before launch to save cost...

Avatar image for sophospeare

I have a tough time believing this when Reggie stated at the Wii's launch that they were making a profit on every Wii sold. With economies of scale and the mass production they have, I have a tough time believing they only make $6 profit per console. Maybe that was the profit at launch, but I have to believe they're making more per console now.

Avatar image for fauljosh

<< LINK REMOVED >> there you go. This article is BS

Avatar image for smackedfortrust

spoon si ps3 cant drop blue ray unless you dont want to play some of their games.

Avatar image for fauljosh

This is COMPLETELY wrong. There was a report awhile ago that said they were making almost 50 bucks a system. I think Reggie even said something to that effect.

Avatar image for Tylendal

My sources lead me to believe they were making $11 on each one sold. Still, $6 each is quite a tidy profit.

Avatar image for athenian29

Not all of them, Shadow_Fax87, just most. If we're lucky, we'll see some decent third-party games soon. I can name a few someone above-average titles now, but this is about it (in my book): -Geometry Wars: Galaxies (you can't have too much GW) -Blast Works: Build, Trade, Destroy (a niche title, yes, but it's competent) -Rayman Raving Rabbids (not original, but worth some laughs) -The Conduit (sci-fi FPS that's not out yet, but looks great so far) -Worms: A Space Oddity (aw, come on. It's WORMS!) A paltry selection, yes, but at least we can't say it's impossible to make a good 3rd party Wii game, just difficult.

Avatar image for Oni

Wii has become the new "Monopoly". Meaning it's something you can do with all your family members, do at parties with friends and something an infant to a senior citizen can enjoy. None of those people I mentioned care about "riveting" game play. Fascinating story and characters. Beautiful art direction and sound track. On-line game play with friends from around the world and so on and so forth. You have seen the Wii commercials right?!?! That's the market! So ... are you people really that surprised Wii lacks any decent games? Truly? Is it really such a stretch that only the 1st party games are any good (depsite being ports or sequels)? Hmm? C'mon ... really? I can't believe that.

Avatar image for Momota77

Aparently there are idiots who don't know the difference between Profit and Revenue...

Avatar image for Spoon_Si

even tho... nintendo took a gamble on the wii, it worked and profit for every system sold is awsome.. who knoes how much a hit the over priced PS3 is gettin.. $100 lost? if sony drop blu-ray & wifi from them system @ launch.. and we could see a $249.99 PS3 by now...

Avatar image for Sevey13

@Petri87 Nope, its not BS...Microsoft has other sources of income that its XBOX 360 hardware. Game companies generally make their profits not on the systems themselves, but the accessories, liscenses, and first party games they sell.

Avatar image for xxMidgetxxJ

Yea I still don't get why people buy a wii I have a 360 and a wii and the wii is horrible. Just brawl for a week and glaxy for a week and its terrible i'ma sell it.

Avatar image for Arc2012

If Nintendo is only making $6 per Wii, think about how much the 360 and PS3 must be in the red for every console sold.