the very idea sounded "like some Nintendo spin" to him
Is such a thing even possible? Could the speculative market really have returned a volume of hardware that was 40 50 percent of the actual new sales in January? A quick check of VideoRunescape gamePriceCharts which aggregates data from various resellers shows that Wii U prices for new RS 3 Gold systems have been below retail since December 2012. And as of today there are numerous brand new Wii U Deluxe systems selling on eBay for well below the $350 retail price.Digging deeperGiven that the original reports were based on NPD's data, I reached out to the company. Analyst Liam Callahan told me that he couldn't comment on whether the speculative market affected sales because he doesn't have access to that level of data.
In order to protect their partners in the industry, the NPD Group maintains confidentiality of retailer level data. Given my interactions with them before on issues that bordered on retailer specifics, I wasn't hopeful, but now I know there is absolutely zero probability that the NPD Group will ever talk about this issue even if someone there knows for sure.Then I contacted Michael Pachter, analyst for Wedbush Securities, to get his reaction. He said that consumer returns could count and affect the net figure reported by the NPD Group, but that the very idea sounded "like some Nintendo spin" to him.
And, even if total new Wii U sales were 100,000 in January, that would put an estimate of 80,000 for February still not a healthy number.But what about software sales? The two original tipsters had independently pointed to software sales as evidence that the reported hardware figure was askew. That is, they hinted that total software unit sales were more indicative of a Old School RS Gold system selling 100,000 units in a month, not 57,000.I put that question to Pachter, and his response was pretty direct: Looking at the installed bases, all three of the previous console launches were much healthier in January software sales.