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 jediphil683

Of course Nintendo's responsible for 60% of the games that get sold for Wii... that's what happens when you have almost no 3rd party support (and you pull the rug out from under the developers that want to support your console).

Avatar image for sonic_spark

This is not new news. We knew way back when that Nintendo were the only ones making a profit on their consoles this gen.

Avatar image for Lucidmike78

Interesting considering craiglisters banks ~$100 on each Wii sold.

Avatar image for Petri87

That has to be BS since MS has made profit or atleas broaken even for about a year now on the 360(on the Pro and Elite and same for Sony whit the PS3 though it costs abit more). Or its just that Nintendo doeasn't know how to make the components cheaper and just keep the same old guts that they did at launche. Both MS and Sony have made changes to the guts to make the hardware cheaper to make

Avatar image for x-chump-x

um forbes mag is the last place i look for xbox wii and ps3 sales figures haha...thats cool though that the wii is turning a profit.

Avatar image for ThAdEa82

wii music anyone? lol

Avatar image for conformist

Making money on each console AND seeing them in stock at the local Walocaust for the first time in nearly two years? Wow. Two good things. Like vodka and cranberry juice.

Avatar image for Generic_Dude

How are they not making more when the most cutting-edge tech inside of it is over half a decade old? Anyway, it's all about the games, and until it has a more impressive lineup than a few rehash sequels like Twilight Princess, SSBB, Mario Kart Wii and SMG, it'll remain as my living room's little white dust collector.

Avatar image for King_Chozo

@Csalbertcs: They aren't saying that Wii games sell more than PS3 and 360. It's saying basically that the only games that are selling are Nintendo's first party titles (SSBB, Mario Galaxy, Zelda, Metroid) whereas the 360 and PS3 actually have good 3rd party titles so their first party titles don't make up as much of the sales figures as Nintendo's.

Avatar image for Gigas_Yuu

I will care when the shovelware stops polluting my store and I will actually respect the system.

Avatar image for Gamer4Iife

That's a lot of 6 dollars... :o

Avatar image for King_Chozo

I just hope all this money is going towards R&D on a new bad@$$ console and not crappy games like Wii Music and a new DS with 9 cameras...

Avatar image for morgonstjarnan

Why are you fanboys cheering on Nintendo? I mean, why is it good for us consumers that a company is selling bargain-bin hardware at an overprice and making YOU pay for it?

Avatar image for Zerosumgame

Microsoft is interested in acquiring

Avatar image for Krusnikzero2

@awmann When you consider that sony and microsoft lose money for every system they sell, yes...yes it is an accomplishment.

Avatar image for judge__judy

Haha it's making a heck of a lot more then $6 per console

Avatar image for spacer69

Nintendo keeps making shovelware and parents keep buying it for thier kids. Eventually Nintendo will need to change its market approach or risk on losing its top position it enjoys at the moment. I haven't bought one single Wii game since Super Smash Brothers. Of course I am not in the age group that Nintendo is going after really. They are targeting younger people along with older people not normally into video games. That makes it good for the video game industry as a whole. But be warned Nintendo your lack of technology, weakest graphics of the current 3 systems on the market at the time, and the lack of online support like the other two systems. Along with your lack of game support for the hardcore gamer to the average gamer. Will eventually make a spot for third place behind xbox 360 and ps3. I predict that the Wii will not stay in first place past 2009 if they continue to push out shovelware and lack of good quality games for the next holiday season. They are only so many fat people who wants a Wii fit or will actually use it anyway. LOL

Avatar image for Trooperdx3117

The fact is that the Wii will be like Pokemon. For a time it was the biggest thing in the world and everyone wanted Pokemon cards and then suddenly the whole thing just stopped and everyone stopped caring

Avatar image for Shadow_Fax87

you know why nintendo sold the highest percentage 1st party games? cuz all the other ones suck!!!!!!!!!

Avatar image for bos1014

6 times 35 million... $210,000,000 good amount of profit i'd say

Avatar image for LinksCarnage

Wiis are like Furbys; People buy one, play with it for a bit, then eventually wonder why they bought the worthless thing.

Avatar image for Galenti

Any novelty would have worn off by now. It's not a fad, it's just shows that the greater population is ready to game, and Wii is the system that's bringing it to them. 360 and PS3 catered to the hardcore, more so than any previous generations at it's inception, and look how difficult a time they've both had finding and maintaining success.

Avatar image for jadefury27

i can believe this. that's why they jerk you around by selling the wii-mote & nunchuks seperate to make up the difference. wii sale are gonna die off pretty quick once the novelty dies off. they need a better online format. xbox just outwii'd the wii with their new blade and avatar system.

Avatar image for awmannn

Wow $6, that's a whole lot of money their making *rolls eyes*

Avatar image for Media_Mind


Avatar image for grognard

Forbes is incorrect about a lot of things in this article. Wii makes a lot more than $6 on each unit sold. The Wii was profitable at launch and component prices drop precipitously in this industry within a year so they are making even more now. I have no idea precisely how much they're making now, but if their buyers could only squeak out a few dollars in component costs after this much time they should all be fired.

Avatar image for Sports_N_E_1

kkkknaturo, i disregarded the whole figures when they said the ps3 was 300 and wii 260. if they mess up with the figures once, what makes you think the rest are really valid? And honestly, i think Nintendo deserves it because last gen, they pretty much stunk so now they're making it up. kudos to them

Avatar image for red0584

Why is the PS3 doing so bad? It's awesome!

Avatar image for SemiMaster

For skimping on components using last generation technology and removing DVD playback, 6$ is all they can make?

Avatar image for dmil1991

Nintendo is still reeling in the cash, even after they haven't released an innovative franchise title since Brawl, or arguably Mario Kart. I assume it must be Wii Fit that's pushing systems, because Animal Crossing: City Folk certainly isn't.

Avatar image for ImaginaryFriend

I thought Nintendo was turning a profit from the beginning, how could it only be $6 two years later when the cost of technology drops more rapidly than that? Oh and KingofOldSkool.. the dot com bust was turn of the century, not mid-ninties.

Avatar image for WithoutGraceXII

I actually was under the same impression Csalbertcs is. The Wii dominates console sales, but I thought its software sales were somewhat weaker.

Avatar image for TheGreatGuero

Considering how the Wii isn't really pushing technology much, I'm definitely surprised they're not making more money per console.

Avatar image for KingOfOldSkool

Does anybody find it strange that the Wii is still selling so well regardless of the fact that there hasn't been a decent game released in MONTHS? Am I the only one looking at the Wii like the ".com" bust in the early to mid 90's.. were an immense rise in poularity and profits leads to inevitably having the bottom fall out partly due to a glut of poor quality products taking advantage of the newly popular medium?

Avatar image for Csalbertcs

"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". I thought this whole time that 360 and PS3 games sold a lot more than the Wii. I mean everytime I see information of games sold, I rarely see a Wii game. Did I miss something? Anyway, there all good consoles. Don't call me a fanboy if I make a simple mistake. :)

Avatar image for padfoot15

holy crap dude i knew microsoft was losing but not this badly you rock wii