This week began with advance word that Nintendo would suffer its first slip in profits in six years. As predicted, the company behind the uber-popular Wii and DS posted ¥229 billion ($2.44 billion) in annual net income for the 12 months ending March 31, 2010, 18.1 percent lower than the ¥279 billion ($2.98 billion) it reported the year prior. Annual revenue slipped 22 percent to ¥1.43 trillion ($15.2 billion).
The dip in the still-massive yearly profit and revenue was not unanticipated. In January, Nintendo said sales for the first nine months of its full fiscal year fell 23.1 percent to ¥1.18 trillion ($12.5 billion), while profits sank 9.4 percent to ¥192.6 billion ($2.04 billion).
For the full year, Nintendo said its earnings were "negatively impacted by a price reduction on Wii hardware," "fewer strong Wii software titles," and unfavorable currency exchange rates.
That said, the Kyoto, Japan-based company still reported robust hardware sales. The DS further cemented its place as the top-selling handheld of all time by selling 27.11 million units worldwide during the year, totaling 128.9 million units life-to-date. Of that, some 17.82 million were DSi's and 2.08 million were DSi XLs.
DS software highlights for the year included Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver (8.4 million units), Tomodachi Collection (3.2 million units), and Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (2.6 million units). To date, 114 DS titles have sold more than 1 million units since the platform launched in 2004. Life-to-date DS software sales now top 718.5 million units, with another 150 million in sales forecast for the 12 months ending March 31, 2011.
The Wii console sold 20.53 million units during the 12 months ended March 31, attaining sales of 70.93 million units since its 2006 debut. That life-to-date figure included US sales of 5.26 million units during the past four months, which Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime recently bragged about on CNBC.
By comparison, Microsoft had sold just over 40 million Xbox 360s as of the end of March, despite having a full-year head start on the Wii. Sony reported that the PlayStation 3 had sold 33.5 million units as of December 31, 2009, although new figures will be available next Thursday when Sony reports its annual earnings.
Wii software also saw solid sales, with Wii Sports Resort racking up 16.14 million units during Nintendo's fiscal year. Wii Fit Plus has now sold more than 12.65 million units, with New Super Mario Bros. Wii hitting 14.7 million in worldwide sales. As of March 31, some 79 Wii games had sold more than 1 million units, with overall Wii software sales totaling 544.83 million units. Nintendo predicts it will sell another 165 million Wii games during the current fiscal year.