North American Wii U sales show dismal start to 2013

Xbox 360 sells almost five times more.

Nintendo's Wii U has had a torrid start to 2013. The struggling console sold around 64,000 units in North America last month, while Microsoft's ageing Xbox 360 managed 302,000.

February's Wii U figures were up slightly on January - Nintendo managed to shift just 57,000 then, Gamasutra reported.

There's been no real change in the console's fortunes, however. January's figure was apparently lower due to the number of second-hand consoles on the market immediately after Christmas.

Wii U sold less in January than the weakest ever months for PlayStation 2, Xbox, PS3, Xbox 360 and the original Wii.

Gamasutra's graphic below shows just how pronounced this is.

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It's worth bearing in mind that GameCube and Wii sales only ebbed that low right before their successor consoles came out - not three months after their launch, as the Wii U has done.

Other figures also need context: the original Xbox's lowest point was just before that console's price cut, PlayStation 3 was significantly higher priced than Wii U, while PS2's lowest ever week was likely due to post-launch stock shortages.

There were no Wii U games in February's software top 10. Nintendo's only saving grace was sales of Fire Emblem: Awakening, which notched up 180,000 copies on 3DS. That wasn't enough to enter the software top 10 (63,000 were digital copies, which US numbers company NPD does not track), but it was the best first month for any game in the Fire Emblem franchise.

Xbox 360 held onto the top-selling console spot for its 26th straight month, Microsoft has boasted. More money was spent on Xbox 360 hardware, games and accessories than any other platform.

Worldwide Wii U sales have been stuck in the doldrums ever since Christmas. Nintendo's console was outsold by the nine-year-old PSP last week in Japan, and has been having a hard time in Europe, too.

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