Super Smash Bros. pre-orders are at a record high for Wii U, eclipsing those of summer hit Mario Kart 8. In a Bloomberg interview, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said his company expects Smash to give the console a sales boost similar to the one provided by Mario Kart 8. In last month's financial results, Nintendo revealed the racer is at close to 3.5 million sales, with Wii U shipments up to 7.29 million worldwide.
"The launch of Mario Kart 8 has essentially doubled our Wii U sales year-on-year," Fils-Aime said. "Our expectation is that the sell-through for Smash is going to be very strong, certainly on par with what we saw with Mario Kart 8. We think the impact on hardware will be similarly dramatic."
The 3DS version of Smash racked up 3.22 million sales by the end of September, while the Wii U version's trump card is its compatibility with Nintendo's Amiibo figures. The first batch of the $13-a-go Amiibo launches alongside the brawler on November 21. Fils-Aime and Nintendo will be hoping to grab a significant chunk of the $1 billion sales he predicts will be raked in this year by interactive toys like Amiibo, namely Activision's Skylanders and Disney's Infinity figurines.
The Skylanders series, games and toys combined, collected a whopping $2 billion by the end of 2013. Meanwhile, Disney Interactive discovered a whole new world of profit on the back of its figurines and their seven-figure sales numbers.
While record-Smashing pre-orders are welcome news for the Wii U, the console remains far behind this generation's sales leader, the PlayStation 4. Sony's shifted 13.5 million units of its console, nearly twice that of the Wii U in roughly half the time - the Wii U launched in November 2012, one year before the PS4.
With all that in mind, it'll be interesting to see just how drastic an effect Smash has on console sales. We'll likely hear more shortly after the game's launch next week, but we may get a broader picture of its impact in Nintendo's next quarterly earnings release, due in a few months' time.