On the way out?: Wii endures worst ever monthly sales in U.S.

In precisely *checks calendar* 25 days, we’ll be getting our first look at Nintendo’s next console, the absurdly codenamed Project Café. Considering the latest sales of the Wii, the unveiling is timely. April saw the little white console – once the undisputed king of American living rooms – suffer its worst ever monthly sales in the U.S.

By selling only 172,000 units last month, the Wii slipped behind the Xbox 360 (297,000) and PS3 (203,000). This vaguely feels like the beginning of the end, probably because Project Café/Wii 2/whatever is so close. However, the Wii’s small decline is not a tragedy for Nintendo. The console still leads its more powerful rivals in installed userbase, and there may yet be a Zelda-inspired bump before things wind down. Oh, and there’s that price cut, of course.

Of more concern to Nintendo will be the 3DS’s performance. In its first full month on sale, the new 3D handheld sold 194,000 units in the States. That compares to the 400,000 units it sold in March – and it did those figures in only five days, having launched on March 27th.

To me, it seems like Nintendo is paying for the 3DS’s hefty price tag and grave lack of content since launch. June is a little better with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, the e-Shop, and an Internet browser. Yet good games remain thin on the ground – as I sadly admitted yesterday, my 3DS has been out of action for weeks.

[Via Marketwatch — image from here]

e Wii sold 172,000 units in the US during April – its lowest ever monthly total.

According to MarketWatch, sales of Nintendo’s home console were down 40 per cent on March and 38 per cent on April 2010.

While the DS continues to hold up well, finishing second to the Xbox 360 in the monthly NPD charts, the 3DS had a rough time of it. The new handheld sold 194,000 units it its first full month on sale, well down on the 400,000 it managed in its debut week at the end of March.

In comparison, the Xbox 360 sold 297,000 last month, while the PlayStation 3 moved 203,000. DS and PSP tallies have not yet been revealed.

Last month Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata admitted that 3DS sales were lower than anticipated. He insisted that the demand for the system was high but consumers were just waiting for the right software to launch before opening their wallets.

As for the Wii, Nintendo will no doubt be hoping that a recently announced price cut will give it a much-needed boost in May.