Despite the overall lacking Wii U sales, Mario Kart 8 continues to prove itself as a franchise juggernaut, coming in at over 2 million units in sales worldwide since the game’s launch a month ago, Polygon reports. This is quite the number since, last we checked the Wii U had only sold 6.17 million units–though that number is from May 31, 2014, so it doesn’t even take Mario Kart 8 sales into account–according to Gamespot. Yes there have been reports of Mario Kart 8 quadrupling sales, but no actual figures have actually come from that at this point.
These Mario Kart numbers couldn’t come at a better time, for according to Forbes, Saturo Iwata, current president of Nintendo, has been re-elected to the board of directors, eliminating rumors that his stance at Nintendo was in jeopardy after three years of financial losses to the company. Iwata was suspiciously absent from E3 this year, vaguely citing health reasons, and speculation ran amok that his time at Nintendo was approaching its end. However, in a report that seems to be a direct response to these rumors, Iwata posted a letter to Nintendo shareholders on Nintendo’s website, specifically citing his health issues.
Recently, as the result of one of my routine physical examinations, an issue was detected. Following a more detailed examination, a growth was found in my bile duct… I was counseled that removal at an early stage would be the desirable medical option. Therefore I had surgery last week, and I came through it well, as predicted.
One could almost theorize that the release of Mario Kart 8 was strategically released the month before the shareholder’s meeting, but how important is Mario Kart 8 to the Iwata’s re-election or to the Nintendo in general? It has been noted that while this is quite the success for the Wii U, in the grand scheme of things, it is quite miniscule. For instance, in a report from Polygon last month, they mention that although the sales are quite amazing on the Wii U, Mario Kart 8 is still on track to be the least successful Mario Kart game in the franchise. For a point of reference, the least successful Mario Kart before Mario Kart 8 was, in fact, Mario Kart: Super Circuit for the Game Boy Advance with 5.47 million units sold. At this point in the game, if 100% of Wii U owners purchased Mario Kart 8, it would still go on to be the second least successful game in the franchise, barring the possibility of the Wii U sales increasing drastically.
This being said, I’m sure Nintendo felt a sigh of relief at Mario Kart 8‘s sales that helped to influence their voting ever-so-slightly. 2 million units is nothing to scoff at, and if nothing else, this can be the slow turn-around Nintendo needs.