In 2006, both the Nintendo Wii and Wii Sports took the world by storm. Being an accessible and highly interactive sports game, with the usual Nintendo flair, Wii Sports went on to be the best-selling game on a single platform.
Wii Sports was a big proponent in the success of the Wii. Launching side-by-side, Wii Sports became an adored title across players of all ages. Anyone could pick up the Wiimote and begin playing fan-favorite minigames such as bowling, tennis, and baseball.
According to Nintendo’s own financial data, as of March 2020, Wii Sports has sold a total of 82.90 million units. These figures make Wii Sports the best-selling title on a single platform. For comparison’s sake, Minecraft, another widely accessible game, recently broke 200 million units sold in May of this year. However, Minecraft is available on over 15 different platforms.
The impact Wii Sports had on the Wii could not have been foreseen. It opened up the gates for casual players to become invested in Nintendo’s ecosystem, perhaps for the first time in their lives. The Wii became such a hot commodity during its launch window, consoles were scarce and impossible to find through retailers.
The Wii Sports name lived on as Nintendo rightly cashed in on the title’s popularity. In 2009, Nintendo released Wii Sports Resort, which introduced 10 new minigames including basketball and canoeing. During the WiiU era, Nintendo released Wii Sports Club, a collection of five games remade in HD.
Since the release of the Switch, Nintendo has tried to replicate the success of Wii Sports in a few different ways. The company launched 1-2 Switch alongside the handheld/console hybrid, bringing a collection of minigames to the platform. Nintendo has also tried to utilize the Joy-Con’s motion controls with the fitness-centric Ring Fit Adventure. While both titles sold a respectable amount, neither will likely ever top the success Wii Sports brought Nintendo.
Wii Sports was Nintendo catching lightning in a bottle. It’s an impressive feat that Wii Sports continues to be the best-selling game on a single platform to this day, 14 years after it originally released.