Nintendo had a difficult 12 months, but it managed to turn a profit despite the lackluster launch of its Wii U video game console.
Nintendo reported a slight profit of $71.4 million for its full fiscal year ended March 31, compared to a loss of $434 million a year earlier. The Kyoto, Japan-based company also said that sales for the year were $6.39 billion, down 2 percent from a year earlier. But operating income was still in the red. Nintendo said its operating loss was $366 million, about flat compared to a year ago.
The company has been battered by competition from all sides. Beyond fierce competition from Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo has new competition from Apple’s iOS devices and others based on Google’s Android operating system. Gaming is still thriving, but the retail-focused console and handheld business where Nintendo is playing has stalled.
In a statement, company said it expects to return to operating profits by the end of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014. And during the next several months, Nintendo expects to launch high profile titles including Mario Kart (Wii U), Super Mario Bros. (Wii U), Wii Fit (Wii U), Pikmin (Wii U), The Legend of Zelda (Wii U and Nintendo 3DS), Mario & Luigi (Nintendo 3DS) and Pokémon (Nintendo 3DS) franchises.
“These games, along with titles from Nintendo’s third-party publishing partners, will help drive hardware momentum and introduce new audiences to the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS platforms,” Nintendo said.
The lone bright spot in the report: revenue from digital software sales grew more than 110 percent from a year ago.
After two full quarters on the market, Nintendo’s Wii U has sold 3.45 million units. By the end of next year, Nintendo forecasts additional sales of just 9 million. That’s pretty weak for the launch of a new console, which will compete with Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 4. Nintendo said it has sold 13.42 million Wii U games to date, for a tie ratio of 3.8 games sold per console. The forecast for the next year is 38 million units.
The aging Wii console, first introduced in 2006, sold 3.98 million units in the past year and it has sold 99.84 million units to date.
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