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Analyst:  New Super Mario Bros. Wii  Could Outdo  Modern Warfare 2
Analyst: New Super Mario Bros. Wii Could Outdo Modern Warfare 2
November 10, 2009 | By Simon Carless

November 10, 2009 | By Simon Carless
More: Console/PC

With Activision and Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 launching this week, one of 2009's biggest games -- if not the biggest -- is now on retail shelves.

But there's another game of 2009 that will be going up against Modern Warfare 2 in the form of Nintendo's New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Analyst Jesse Divnich with research firm Electronic Entertainment Design and Research said that in terms of lifetime sales, Mario's next romp will ultimately beat out the high-profile shooter.

"EEDAR feels comfortable to make the prediction that the New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Wii will be one of the top titles this holiday season," he wrote in a preview to NPD U.S. sales results. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is due on November 15.

"While in the short-term the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 may surpass New Super Mario Bros., in the long-term New Super Mario Bros. will easily become the best selling title released in 2009 with expected lifetime sales exceeding 15 million units worldwide."

Divnich elaborated in an email to Gamasutra, "It is a good possibility that New Super Mario Bros. could outsell Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and all of its versions throughout its lifetime."

He added, "However, that is only because there are yearly Call of Duty titles and Modern Warfare 2 sales will begin to decline as we approach next year’s Call of Duty. A title like New Super Mario Bros. is a style of game that only comes along once every four years and gives it incredible legs on retail shelves."

Nintendo has shown just how "evergreen" its titles can be with games like New Super Mario Bros. on DS, Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit. Life to date sales of New Super Mario Bros., released in 2006, stand at around 20 million units.

Modern Warfare 2 will be no slouch, however. Its 2007 predecessor, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, had sold 13 million units across PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC as of May this year.

Divnich also noted the lower-profile yet critically successful Atlus game Demon's Souls for PS3, a game that has performed well despite its relative obscurity. He said the core RPG is expected to sell "well above 100,000 units in October, and can very well surpass 250,000 units by the end of the year, in North America, on the PlayStation 3, which is a tremendous accomplishment."

In all he expects Sony and Naughty Dog's Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for PS3 to top October's NPD U.S. video game sales charts, and he expects the Wii to reclaim the top hardware position from PS3. NPD's results are expected this Thursday.

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Kevin Jones
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"It is a good possibility that New Super Mario Bros. could outsell Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and all of its versions throughout its lifetime."

There is zero probability of that happening.

I think Jesse Divnich has gone off his rocker.

"He added, "However, that is only because there are yearly Call of Duty titles and Modern Warfare 2 sales will begin to decline as we approach next year’s Call of Duty"

COD4 has been in the UK and European charts all year, and that is a full 2 years after launch. The Mordern Warfare games have insane legs.

John Giordano
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This is a repeat of Mario Kart Wii vs. Grand Theft Auto 4. I've seen it before, I know what happens, change the channel.

Jesse Divnich
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COD4 did 13.5M, COD 5 is at 12M (all platforms, worldwide).

For Nintendo titles: New Super Mario Bros (DS) 20M; Mario Kart (DS) 16M; Wii Fit 23M; Mario Kart Wii; 18M.

I do not think 15M+ for New Super Mario Bros. Wii is that far off of an estimate.

In terms of “legs”, it is all relative. For example. For big AAA PS3/360 titles ( I ran four different examples including COD) and 72-78% of 2 year sales come in the first 6 months. For Nintendo Wii, (Fit, Mario Kart, etc.) you are only looking at 35-42% of 2 year sales coming in the first six months (for Fit and Wii Kart I extrapolated the sales a little to get an estimated 2 year sales figure).

(all public and actual data, just have to dig through company financials each quarter to keep track of a game's LTD sales).

COD4 has “long legs” only because its initial sales were huge. But relative to initial sales, it’s a pretty standard sales curve similar to any other big AAA title.

But you are right Kevin, I am off my rocker. Just not this time :/

Ken Masters
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It doesn't matter that Activision will continue to pimp the Call of Duty franchise and release another game next year, Modern Warfare 2 could never outsell NSMB Wii regardless. I expect Reggie to be right on in his bet with GameTrailers' Keighley and NSMB Wii will certainly outsell all skus combined by the end of 2010.

I learned from Mario Kart Wii's thrashing of GTAIV not to underestimate a Mario game ever again.

Eric Adams
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Well this is a must buy for most Wii owners right...all 40 million of them. Unfortunately for EA and Sega, their hardcore games are just not on the typical Wii owner's 'buy' radar/list. These games are the meat and potatoes for this system.

Chan Chun Phang
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Not just pure Wii owners, I won't be surprized if this is the final straw that gets the young adults/middle aged to give in to nostalgia and buy a Wii as well. Won't be surprized either if there's a Wii bundle with this game (and Wii sports, since that isn't standalone) either.

Andrew Dobbs
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Now only if NSMBWii was on Xbox Live.

Kevin Reilly
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Jesse, any idea how many of those original SMB were bundled with Wii? Considering the slow down in Wii sales the past few months that might impact lifetime sales. Conversely MW2 might benefit from uptick in PS3 sales and overall higher attach rates on the 360/PS3. Does that factor into the analysis? Just curious.

Roberto Dillon
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Yes, I see that happening with a 50% probability too... Anyway, I don't see how the two can be related or affect each other: they are targeting a completely different audience on different platforms: NSMB is not going to "steal" any sales from MW2 and viceversa.

Both will surely sell *very* well so I don't get the point of this article/comparison...

Jesse Divnich
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I am not aware of any SMB bundled with Wii?

But if you do back of paper napkin analysis. Assuming ps3/360 install growth from now until the end of 2012. Discount the fact that many of these ps3/360 consumers buying a PS3 may already own a 360 (and vice versa). I get to about 12M in unit sales on COD on the core platforms. maybe another million for DS/Wii and maybe 2, 3M for PC? So that's 16M lifetime on COD MW2?

Going to be a close call? This is just a rough estimate on the fly BTW.

Roberto Alfonso
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Jesse, don't mind Kevin Jones, he supports HD gaming to death and is pretty vocal when it comes to speak against Wii.

Personally, I think New Super Mario Bros. Wii has a good chance at surpassing Modern Warfare 2. However, I don't think it will during the holiday season only in USA (as Reggie mentioned).

steven serafin
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It's strange that no one has pointed out the value of Nintendo's fan base. Sure, Activision and Infinity Ward have fantastic reputations, but come on...compared to Nintendo's fan base? You have to take into account the thousands and thousands of people that will buy NSMBWii JUST BECAUSE it's a mario game (hell, I know I will!), versus the thousands and thousands that WON'T buy MW2 just because it's a war game/FPS. You can compare the size of these fan bases, age groups and demographics to which the games aim, sales of previous games, etc., and everything will point to Mario as the victor.

Excellent report Jesse!

Tom Newman
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I agree that the numbers won't pan out for holiday2009 numbers, but in 12months time for sure this game will outsell CoD. I don't think there's one CoD player who can say that they have never played ANY Mario game, but the inverse is not true. Mario has such wide reach, and it's been how many years since a 2D Mario Bros. game has been released on a console? For once, I agree with the analysis.

Kevin Prier
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Modern Warfare 2 sure is spending a pretty penny on their "high profile". They bought up major advertising blocks on some of the most watched shows in America.

Considering the difference in targeted demographics, where MW2 is specifically targeting adult males who are FPS fans, and NSMBWii is targeting a full spectrum of gamers, it's hard to consider the games "in competition".

I think Jesse's report is right on.

Are there any other pieces of IP quite like the Mario franchise?

Kevin Jones
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@ Jesse Divnich,

"For Nintendo titles: New Super Mario Bros (DS) 20M; Mario Kart (DS) 16M; Wii Fit 23M; Mario Kart Wii; 18M."


But then you can't assume that sales of a handheld game (New Super Mario Bros (DS) ) will tranlsate to equal sales on a home console. Just look at MH3 Wii sales in Japan for example, which are running at about one third the sales that MH2P got on the PSP, even though MH2P on the PSP was a port of a one year old PS2 game, while MH3 on the Wii is a totally new, very good game.

As far as Wii Fit (Wii) is concerned, I don't even see Wii Fit Plus doing the numbers that Wii Fit did, let alone NSMB Wii.

In any case, we have just had the UK MW2 first day sales just come in today, and MW2 has sold a staggering 1.23 million in the UK in just 24 hours(according to Charttrack).

Given that the US has a population that is 5 times that of the UK, if MW2 sold in the US by the same ratio for first day sales(not always the case I know), that alone will give MW2 US sales for November of at least 5 million..and that is just using one day UK sales. If we consider that we have another 20 days in November to go, MW2 sales for the month of November in both the US and the UK are going to be just insane.

Worldwide, MW2 is could to do 18 million in the first year alone. MW2 WILL beat NSMB Wii.

John Giordano
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@ Kevin

Let's keep in mind that Super Mario Bros was originally a console game and not portable. Of course, the original 2D Mario console games had enormous sales. I don't think it's a stretch to think that success will be duplicated here.

Also, I expect Modern Warfare's sales will drop significantly throughout the rest of November. Everybody that wanted this game already has it.

Jesse Divnich
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@ John,

except for me. I'm stuck traveling for the week. By the time i get MW2, all you bastards will be at lvl 60! Doing double jumps and sending out dogs that shoot bees out of their mouth, while i run around with my lvl 1 potato gun shooter.

Kevin Jones
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@ John

#1. The DS has an install base of over 110 million, as compared to the Wii install base of 56 million. You can't assume that NSMB on the DS will sell the same20 million n the Wii as it did on the DS, with the Wii having half the install base of the DS.

# 2. The PS3/360 have a combined install base of over 61 millon right now, and their combined installed base is bigger than the Wii, and is currently growing faster than the Wii intall base every month, in practically every country in the world. Most new PS3/360 buyers in the next 12 months will buy MW2.

# 3. The precedessor to MW2, COD4 has been in the UK /PAL charts all year this year, even 2 full years after launch. MW games have had insane legs.

You ridiculous assertion that "Everybody that wanted this game already has it" is simply not supported by the facts. Even the first COD4 back in 2007, was the #1 game in NPD for Nov, Dec, Jan and Feb, on the 360 alone, even at a time whn the 360 had a vastly smaller install base.

# 4. The game has sold 5 million in the UK/US alone in just 24 hours. We haven't even added the rest of Europe yet. And that is just for one day!

# 4. I haven't even mentioned the huge sales MW2 is going to have on the PC . COD4 sold at least 2 million on the PC alone.

Let's get one thing clear, there is simply NO WAY that NSMB on the Wii outsells MW2 worldwide. Its just not gonna happen, not in one month, 2 months, 3 months, 12 months 2 years or forever. You gotta stop putting your head in the sand and start facing reality for a change.

Derian Reuss
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Why is no one comparing to Super Mario Galaxy, which as of 6 months ago had sold 8 million copies. Comparing against DS titles is a bad comparison, and not representative of how well NSMB Wii will actually sell, because there's a pretty big difference in the DS vs. Wii install base. In addition, Wii Fit and Mario Kart Wii were both sold in bundles including hardware, which likely boosted their sales numbers.

Based off the sales numbers of Super Mario Galaxy, which I think is the best predictor of NSMB Wii sales, it is unlikely to beat MW2. It is certainly possible, but given past performance it is far from certain.