Mario Kart: A Sales History

by William D'Angelo, posted on 24 May 2012 / 13,321 Views

Welcome to this week’s edition of “A Sales History.” This week we will be taking a look at the sales history of the Mario Kart franchise. Last week we looked at sales history of Uncharted and the week before that Gears of War. If there is a particular franchise (no matter how obscure) you want to see the sales history for, requests are always welcome.

The Mario Kart franchise is a go-kart style racing game series that is developed and published by Nintendo. You drive a go-kart and use power-up items that help you win the race. There are seven games in the series, four for home consoles and three for handhelds.

Sales Overview

Mario Kart Total Sales

In the chart above, the Mario Kart franchise has achieved lifetime to date sales of 90.50 million. The four console games sold a combined 57.58 million units for an average of 14.40 million per game. The three handheld games sold a combined 32.92 million units for an average of 10.97 million per game. However Mario Kart 7 still selling anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 units per week that average is going to increase on a weekly basis.

The top two Mario Kart Games are for the current generation, one for the Wii and the other the DS. They have sold a combined 53.89 million, which is more than the other games combined. The two games for the previous generation, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! And Mario Kart: Super Circuit has sold a combined 12.41 million games. However the two generations before that did not have a handheld release.

Mario Kart Console Total Sales

Looking at the bar graph above, it is easy to see the franchise grew slightly from Super Mario Kart to Mario Kart 64, then shrunk just under a third for Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. The most obvious thing is that the surge in popularity in the franchise on home consoles with the release of Mario Kart Wii. It outsold the other three games combined. 32.01 million for Mario Kart Wii and 25.57 million for the other three combined.

Mario Kart Handheld Total Sales

Mario Kart sales grew exponentially from Mario Kart: Super Circuit to Mario Kart DS. Sales increased four times, from 5.47 million to 21.88 million. Mario Kart 3DS in just 24 weeks has outsold Mario Kart: Super Circuit and is a quarter of the way to equaling Mario Kart DS sales.

Weekly Sales

Mario Kart DS Sales vs Mario Kart 3DS Sales weekly

Looking at the weekly sales of Mario DS and Mario Kart 3DS, (VGChartz does not have weekly sales for games in previous generations) the 3DS game is well ahead of the DS game. Mario Kart 3DS sold 684,108 units in its first week, more than three times, 182,844, Mario Kart DS sold. Mario Kart 3DS has sold 5,566,821 units to date, which is in just 24 weeks. It took Mario Kart DS exactly twice as long, 58 weeks, to sell the same number units.

Predictions for Future Releases

There is currently no other Mario Kart game announced; however it is a given that there will be a Mario Kart title released on the Wii U. An exact time frame on when is the real question. If we look at past Mario Kart titles on home consoles none of them were released at launch. Most recently was Mario Kart Wii which was released in April 2008 worldwide, 18 months after the Wii launched. Before that was Mario Kart: Double Dash!! which was released in November 2003, 26 months after the GameCube launched in Japan. Mario Kart 64 was released in December 1996 in Japan, six months after the Nintendo 64 launched in Japan.  Super Mario Kart was released in August 1992 in Japan, 21 months after the Super Nintendo launched.

That makes on average 18 months from the release of the console to the release of the game. With the Wii U set to launch this holiday, most likely in November, that would put the release of the Mario Kart game on the Wii U in Spring 2013. If we widen the range it will most likely launch from Holiday 2013 to Holiday 2014.

Now that we have an idea of the most likely release, let’s take a look at the possible sales of the game, which is a lot harder to predict. It all depends on how much the Wii U has sold by the time of release and how well it is currently when the game comes out. If the Wii U doesn’t recapture the success of the Wii, the game will most likely sell similar to the first three games in the franchise, in the seven to 10 million unit range. However if the Wii U takes off like the Wii did, it could sell as much as 30 million units.

Contact VGChartz at wdangelo@vgchartz.com


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19 Comments

Salnax (on 24 May 2012)

Mario Kart 7: One of the only games in history where selling anything less than 20 million on a single platform would be a disappointment.


Virus_Of_Life (on 24 May 2012)

The power of white, plastic steering wheels....


ceronx7 (on 27 May 2012)

mario kart double dash is my favorite mario kart :3


Conegamer (on 25 May 2012)

Mario Kart Wii is probably the most fun I've had playing a game due to its thoroughly addictive local multiplayer, something which the DS version was poor at (for obvious reasons). But dem sales...insane. I also like how you describe the Mario Kart series. I don't think there's a single person who doesn't know/ have played the series ;)


RedInker (on 25 May 2012)

Mario Kart Wii is an absolute beast sales wise and one of my favourite Wii games. Super Mario Kart is a legend. Many a joyous hour played on it.


Bladeforce (on 25 May 2012)

ONe thing you cant take away from nintendo...their biggest franchises make ANY other game on ANY other platform look miserable. How do they do it so much? Simple they make games that have incredible gameplay and not just eye candy


ceronx7 (on 27 May 2012)

mario kart double dash, mario kart 64 and mario kart wii the best mario karts in the history :3


OnlineGamesLand (on 25 May 2012)

Interesting article! I can't wait for new Mario Kart. Best racing game ever. When you have some company in home ;) . One reason to buy Wii U....


Tammi (on 25 May 2012)

The GC version of Mario Kart probably suffered the most in sales because of the whole "Double Dash" feature....Why have two characters sharing a kart?


SaviorX (on 24 May 2012)

"Mario Kart 3DS has sold 5,566,821 units to date, which is in just 24 weeks. It took Mario Kart DS exactly twice as long, 58 weeks". Exactly isn't quite the right word to use, cuz that would be 29 weeks. And after the success of MKWii, the Wii-U iteration, which will release after around 18 months, is guaranteed 15m at least. I cannot see how half the fanbase would disappear.


kumagawa (on 24 May 2012)

With over 80 million GBA's sold i'm surprised MK super circuit sold in such a small amount.


puffy (on 27 May 2012)

You mean Spring 2014 correct?


BradleyJ (on 24 May 2012)

Out of all the Mario Karts I've played Double Dash has been my favorite. I loved holding two items at once and the individualized specials for the characters (Baby Bowser and Baby Luigi FTW!). Mario Kart 64 will forever have the best battles, however. I've never liked any of the battle modes outside of that game.


zippy (on 24 May 2012)

Double dash is quality and i still play it to this day, Mario Kart 7 aint too bad either.


Pineapple (on 24 May 2012)

It's pretty amazing how the last 3 Mario Karts (MKDS, MKWii, MK7) could possibly outsell the combined sales of any other racing franchise. They've nearly passed Gran Turismo already (at 58.5 million now, 6 million behind GT at 64), but there's quite a distance up to Need for Speed at 81. It's still theoretically possible, though, with MKWii looking to sell 35 million, MKDS 23 million, and then MK7 will have to sell 23 million plus whatever NFS sells by then. Or another way to look at it. The 24 Mario games of the 6th generation (GC+ GBA) sold a total of 63 million. Mario Kart in the 7th generation is looking to come very close to 60.


Fededx (on 24 May 2012)

Super circuit is my favorite Mario Kart ever, I remember back in the day I was so surprised by the game, it looked so awesome, couldn't believe I was playingit on a GameBoy! And it reminded me a lot of the SNES version, I loved it, and it's the most difficult of all. Double Dash is great too, it's different and so much fun!


sethnintendo (on 25 May 2012)

Well the GBA pretty much had SNES graphics.


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Conegamer (on 25 May 2012)

Mario Kart Wii is probably the most fun I've had playing a game due to its thoroughly addictive local multiplayer, something which the DS version was poor at (for obvious reasons). But dem sales...insane. I also like how you describe the Mario Kart series. I don't think there's a single person who doesn't know/ have played the series ;)


TheKoreanGuy (on 24 May 2012)

Double Dash and Mario Kart DS are the best ones out of all of those.


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