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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nintendo's worst-selling home console, the Wii U, continues to be the source for some of its biggest hits on the record-setting Nintendo Switch.

Why it matters: With the Switch, Nintendo is putting on a clinic about how to turn prior failure into fortune as it repurposes games from the disastrous Wii U and tries selling them again on its newer hit device.

  • The latest example of this salvaged success is the Switch's "Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury," which sold 5.6 million copies in its first seven weeks of release this year, according to new Nintendo financial data.
  • Compare that seven week total to the just over seven-year total of 5.9 million copies sold of 2013's "Super Mario 3D World" for Wii U.
  • The newer Switch game is basically the old game with a fun bonus adventure.

The big picture: The Wii U was a disaster even by Nintendo’s usual cycles of occasional struggle and phenomenal fortunes.

  • The 2012 successor to the popular Wii (remember swinging that controller?) bombed, with just 13.6 million units sold lifetime.
  • Its big innovation: a home console with a controller that contained a screen, allowing players to keep playing their games using that screen when others needed the TV.
  • But people didn't care and it was discontinued by early 2017.

Or maybe the Wii U was just a half-step to 2017's Switch, which expanded the idea of taking TV-based games on the go, without the Wii U's limitation of needing to be plugged into a power outlet.

  • The Switch's lifetime sales are now over 84.6 million, closing in on the Wii's 101.6 million.

By the numbers: 

  • Nintendo has brought 10 major Wii U franchise releases to the Switch, each with minor modifications at best.
  • The Switch’s best-selling game, “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” is also a Wii U carry-over: 35.4 million copies of the Switch edition vs. 8.5 million
  • The Switch’s “New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe” (yes, these are real game titles) has sold 10.4 million, more than the lifetime sales for the two Wii U games it combines

Between the lines: Nintendo is proving there's a second chance when a game is basically new to most people.

What's next: With the list of potential Wii U ports running low, Nintendo will bring a modified version of the Wii's "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword" to Switch in July.

Sign up for the new Axios Gaming newsletter here.

Go deeper

Interview: Aerial_Knight on making games as a Black developer

Courtesy: Aerial_Knight

Independent game developer Neil Jones is on the verge of launching "Aerial_Knight's Never Yield," and he's sizing up what it means to be a Black developer in an industry where few get good breaks.

Jones wanted to take a classic genre — endless runners — and add his own spin with a futuristic take on Detroit, including a hip hop soundtrack, cut scenes, and motion triggers, set in a stylish 3D world.

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.

Congress sprints to meet crush of deadlines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congressional leaders have been pushing off vital action for months — and a lot of it will catch up with them in December, which begins Wednesday.

Driving the news: Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on Friday. There are also consequential deadlines related to the debt limit, President Biden's agenda and annual actions like voting on the National Defense Authorization Act.