Nintendo sales slide 40%, profits plummet 60%
Slowing hardware market, lack of hit new releases, currency fluctuation batter Mario maker's first fiscal quarter; worldwide Wii total tops 52 million.
Nintendo's successful strategy to expand the gaming audience with the Wii and the DS has accounted for much of the industry's growth over the past few years. So it should come as little surprise that when the industry as a whole suffers a multi-month malaise, it would be reflected in the console maker's sales figures.
Nintendo today reported its financial results for its first fiscal quarter, the three months ended June 30, and the numbers weren't pretty. Nintendo's revenues were down a full 40 percent from ¥423 billion ($4.45 billion) for the same period last year to ¥253 billion ($2.66 billion) this year, while net profits for the same periods were down a steep 60 percent, from ¥107 billion ($1.12 billion) to just ¥42 billion ($442 million).
The publisher attributed the slide to a number of factors. First of all, Nintendo said it was hurt by a weaker lineup of software titles. The company's previous first fiscal quarter saw the international releases of Wii Fit and Mario Kart Wii, compared to this year's first quarter slate headlined by the Japan-only debut of Wii Sports Resort. The DS couldn't pick up the slack, as Nintendo lamented that "there were few popular new titles," with Pokemon Platinum being the only game singled out for selling well during the quarter.
With no hit new games to sell the hardware, Nintendo also saw those figures drop significantly. For the quarter, Nintendo sold 2.23 million Wiis worldwide, just 43 percent of the 5.17 million it sold for the prior year's first quarter. The DS line of systems fared significantly better thanks to the international launch of the camera-equipped DSi, but still fell short of last year's mark. Consumers worldwide purchased 5.97 million DS systems over the quarter, down nearly 14 percent from 6.94 million sold in the previous first quarter. To date, Nintendo has sold 107.75 million DS systems worldwide and 52.62 million Wiis.
Much like Sony explaining its own disappointing financial figures today, Nintendo also pointed to foreign currency exchange rates thanks to the strong yen. Despite the numbers, Nintendo did not change its financial forecast for the year.