Wii U Sales Drop Off A Cliff As The Future Of Gaming Continues To Shift Away From The Console

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The Wii U only sold around 64,000 consoles in the U.S. during the month of February, according to a new NPD Group report out today. That’s a far cry short of how many sales it achieved from the time it launched through the end of last year, Ars Technica reports, and it even looks like it’ll be under Nintendo’s own projected sales estimates, which it revised down at the end of January.

This should be taken as a wake-up call for Sony and Microsoft as they undertake the process of launching their own next-generation consoles, which began with Sony’s unveiling (without an unveiling) of the PS4 this past February. It should also act as a clarion call for independent hardware makers and software developers: the flagging interest in mainstream gaming platform means opportunity for startups.

Ouya is still being treated with a healthy dose of skepticism from many industry watchers, and while it may not be the one to succeed, the concept is sound. People who are now used to free-to-play and extremely inexpensive games on their mobile devices would likely feel most comfortable with a similar sort of offering based around their home living room entertainment setup.

Other opportunities like the ISP-based cloud-streaming of games that Agawi has in mind could present more opportunity for developers looking to spread their mobile titles to other platforms. And the increased commitment to technologies like AirPlay and Miracast are helping bring mobile gaming to the TV more easily. Samsung also demonstrated that it’s fully committed to making its Galaxy line a full-featured mobile console alternative, with the introduction of a new Bluetooth controller designed to cradle and work with the Galaxy S 4.

A lot of people argue that comparing console gaming to mobile gaming is comparing apples to oranges, but consider that the iPhone didn’t exist when the Wii originally launched, and the same goes for the Xbox 360 and the PS3. Discounting the effect of mobile tech on this market is sticking your head in the sand at this point, but that’s great news for startups and independents hoping to make a dent in the gaming world.