Wii U Sales Surpass 12m as Nintendo Profits Climb

Mario publisher shows slight improvements by tightening belt.

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Nintendo has detailed its financial results for the nine-month period spanning April to December 2015, reporting a decrease in sales compared to the same period in 2014, but an increase in operating profit.

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The Kyoto-headquartered company reported 425 billion yen ($3.5 billion) in sales for the period, which represents a 3.9 percent decrease compared to the same nine months in 2014. This is the fifth year in a row where Nintendo's sales have declined.

Operating profit, however, was reported as 42.4 billion yen ($352 million), which is an increase of 34 percent for the same period in 2014. This was partly due to cost-cutting measures (Nintendo's sales costs have nearly halved over the past five years) as well as more profitable sources of income, such as legacy digital titles.

Nintendo's net profits were down, however, due in part to the strong Yen hurting exchange rates (Nintendo makes about three quarters of total sales overseas).

In the nine-month period, Nintendo sold 3.1 million Wii U systems, bringing lifetime global sales of the console to 12 million units. Games sales for its latest home console have reached 79 million units in total, that's less than a tenth of the Wii's total software sales. The Nintendo 3DS's lifetime global sales have reached 57 million, while game sales for the handheld have reached 264 million.

According to its statement to investors, the New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL "made up the bulk of the 3DS hardware sales."

On the software side, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer sold 2.9 million units globally. Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, along with Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS--both which were released in its last fiscal year--were said to have continued with "steady sales."

Rhythm Tengoku and Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright/Conquest, both only available in Japan during the the 2015 period, were said to have "gained popularity." Specific sales numbers were not provided.

For Wii U titles, Splatoon and Super Mario Maker were the standout performers, with the former selling 4 million units and the latter 3.3 million units. Nintendo said both games were "blockbusters that vitalised the Wii U platform."

Yoshi's Woolly World, Mario Kart 8, and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U continued to show "steady sales." Amiibo figures reached sales of 20 million units.

DLC content for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U generated 30.5 billion yen ($252 million).

Nintendo officially announced its next gaming platform, codenamed the NX, in March 2015, alongside the news that the company was bringing its franchises to smartphones and tablets through a partnership with mobile gaming giant DeNA.

It is expected the NX will be officially unveiled later this year. Reports have claimed Nintendo may have started pilot assembly of the NX in October 2015, with mass production scheduled to kick off in May or June 2016. The NX, according to the report, would then be released commercially "around July." None of this has been confirmed as of yet.

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