Struggling Wii U and lower-than-expected 3DS sales spell rough year for platform holder

Sales and income down at Nintendo

Nintendo has suffered a tough financial year, with net sales and income both down year-on-year after the third quarter. 

In the platform holder’s financial report for the nine months ended December 31st, 2013, net sales were down eight per cent. They fell from ¥543bn (£3.81bn) for the same period the previous year to ¥499bn (£2.9bn) this year.

Net income took a steeper dive, down 30 per cent from ¥14.5bn (£85m) to ¥10.1bn (£59m).

It’s no secret that the Wii U has been a major factor in this decline. Nintendo recently slashed the console’s sales forecasts from 9m to 2.8m for the financial year.

In a statement, the firm said "the Wii U business as a whole was not able to recover fully, and the global sales of the Wii U hardware and software reached only 2.41m and 15.96m respectively."

There were signs of growing momentum for Wii U software, with recent releases Super Mario 3D World and The Legend of Zelda: WInd Waker HD both selling more than 1m units.

It was better news for the 3DS, which became the biggest selling platform of 2013 in the US. The handheld sold 11.65m units worldwide, with software sales of 57.25m, but both figures were still below Nintendo’s expectations.

Pokémon X and Y, the first Pokémon titles to be simultaneously launched globally, led the way in 3DS software sales, shifting 11.61m units. Other hits included Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3.52m units), Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros (2m units) and Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (2.18m units).

In the final quarter of the current fiscal year, Nintendo said it expects sales to "decrease significantly due to seasonal factors as the year-end sales season concludes".

The rise of the Yen is also predicted to "reduce exchange gains and ordinary income", while selling, general and administrative expenses "are expected to exceed gross profit, leading to a bigger operating loss".

Analysts and the media have been vocal about potential recovery plans for the platform holder, but Nintendo has reiterated that it will not create smartphone games, the most common suggestion. 

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