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Mario Kart 8 - Luigi demonstrates his mid-air death stare
Mario Kart 8 – Luigi demonstrates his mid-air death stare

Could great first-party games be enough to save the Wii U and Nintendo’s bottom line? If the early sales data from Mario Kart 8 is any indication, the chances are looking surprisingly good.

As reported by IGN last week, Mario Kart 8 has sold roughly 2 million copies in less than a month since its May 30 release. So how much of a shot in the arm is this for the Wii U?

wiiuAccording to console sales data from VGChartz, Nintendo was selling an average of about 29,000 Wii U consoles per week prior to Mario Kart 8’s release. The week Mario Kart 8 hit store shelves, over 130,000 Wii U consoles were sold. Even three weeks after the release, sales were still more than double their pre-Luigi-Death-Stare levels. All-told, Mario Kart 8 has sold an additional 207,000 Wii U consoles in just three weeks.

But it gets even more interesting when you compare the Wii U’s big system-seller with the exclusives that have come out in the first half of 2014 on the other two consoles.

March saw the release of both Titanfall for Xbox One and inFAMOUS: Second Son for Playstation 4. The sales boost from Titanfall only lasted two weeks and moved about 94,000 additional Xbox One consoles. The sales boost from the Seattle-set Second Son lasted three weeks and moved an additional 106,000 PlayStation 4 consoles.

2014 Video Game Console System Sellers

In each of the three weeks since the release of Mario Kart 8, the Wii U has outsold Microsoft’s Xbox One—a first since the Xbox One’s November release. As of June 14, Wii U’s global install base sits at 6.4 million compared to 4.6 million for the Xbox One and 8.1 million for the PS4, so Nintendo definitely isn’t out of the race yet.

With the next installment of the major Nintendo fighting franchise Super Smash Bros. coming later this year and an open-world Legend of Zelda (plus many more Nintendo-developed games) coming next year, the Wii U could finally be turning a corner and becoming a serious contender for this generation’s console crown.

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