Nintendo suffered both an operating loss and net loss for its fiscal year ended March 31, as the Wii U sales continued to stall. The Kyoto, Japan-based company has sold only 6.17 million Wii U game consoles, including just 310,000 sold in the most recent quarter.
That’s a disaster for Nintendo, the oldest and most venerable console gaming company. On an operating basis, Nintendo lost ¥46.4 billion ($457 million), compared to an operating loss of $358 million a year earlier. The company had a net loss of ¥23.2 billion ($229 million), compared with a profit of $68.9 million a year earlier. Revenues were $5.63 billion, compared to $6.26 billion a year earlier.
By contrast, Sony has sold through more than 7 million PlayStation 4 consoles since November, and Microsoft has sold in more than 5 million Xbox One units into stores in the same time frame.
The 3DS handheld family sold 590,000 units in Nintendo’s fourth quarter. Life to date, the 3DS has sold 43.3 million units. The new 2DS version has sold 2.2 million units. But Nintendo said it predicts it will return to profitability in the 2014 fiscal year. It is forecast an operating profit of ¥40 billion ($394 million) with 3.6m Wii U and 12m 3DS consoles sold.
But Nintendo President Satoru Iwata doesn’t have a lot of credibility. He said up until January that the company would make a ¥100 billion profit in 2013, only to acknowledge that the company would lose ¥35 billion. In the end, Iwata underestimated the loss by ¥11 billion.
Nintendo is about to ship the Mario Kart 8 game on the Wii U. That’s one of its flagship titles, but it’s hard to see how that can make much of a difference. In his statement, Iwata said that Nintendo would continue to transform itself by focusing on “quality of life” products such as health-related products. That means entertainment products like the Wii Fit exercise game.
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