Wii U arriving this holiday season

Tablet-based console coming to the US, EU, AU, and Japan before year's end; Nintendo reveals operating loss of $624 million; 3DS sales climb to 15 million, Wii to 94 million.

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The Wii U is launching during this year's holiday season, according to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. The new tablet-based console will launch in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia before the year is out.

Iwata had little good news for investors.
Iwata had little good news for investors.

The announcement followed Nintendo's quarterly financials for the period April to December last year, which revealed an operating loss of ¥48.4 billion ($624 million, £397 million) down from a ¥49.6 billion ($640 million, £407 million) profit for the same period in 2010.

Nintendo is now predicting an annual operating loss of ¥45 billion ($580 million, £370 million), dwarfing analyst expectations of a ¥4.2 billion ($54 million, £34 million) loss. Nintendo also cut its forecast for annual sales of the Wii to 10 million from 12 million, and sales of the 3DS to 14 million from 16 million.

"We had higher expectations for the year-end season, but failed to meet them," Iwata told reporters.

Nintendo already slashed the price of the 3DS in an effort to boost sales, just six months after its launch. Today, Nintendo updated sales figures for the 3DS, saying it has now sold 15 million units worldwide since launch. Additionally, the Mario maker said lifetime sales of the DS family of systems (of which the 3DS does not belong) now stands at over 150 million.

As for the Wii, lifetime global sales for that console now stand at 94 million units.

The less-than-rosy financials come amid increased competition from rivals Microsoft and Sony, whose Kinect and Move motion controllers compete with the Wii. Nintendo also faces a tough time in the handheld market, thanks to mobile devices such as the iPad, iPhone, and Android.

On Tuesday, Apple announced its quarterly earnings, revealing record-breaking numbers of $46.33 billion (£29.5 billion) in revenue and profits of $13.06 billion (£8.32 billion). The company now boasts a cash stockpile of over $98 billion (£62.4 billion).

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