The printing press that was the Nintendo Wii feels like a distant memory. Nintendo has reported its third straight year of losses with a $457 million loss in the fiscal year ending March 31.
Investors knew a poor year was coming after Nintendo revised sales estimates for the Wii U from 9 million to 2.8 million back in January. Wii U sales were even worse than expected as it managed just 2.72 million units over the past 12 months. That’s about 225,000/month. Lifetime sales for the Wii U now stand at 6.17 million units after 18 months on the market. Compare that to the PS4 which has sold more than 7 million units and has been on the market for about 6 months.
“The Wii U hardware still has a negative impact on Nintendo’s profits owing mainly to its markdown in the United States and Europe,” Nintendo said in its financial statement, “and unit sales of software, which has high profit margins, did not grow sufficiently.”
The biggest selling titles for the Wii U were Super Mario 3D World, New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U. All three titles sold more than a million units. Total software sales reached just 18.86 million units for the fiscal year.
Things look a bit better when looking at the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS. Sales of those handhelds hit 12.26 million units, but were down from 13.95 million units in 2012. Software sales for the Nintendo 3DS came in at 67.89 million in 2013, nearly double the 36 million in 2012. Pokemon X/Y was a big reason for the boost as it sold 12.26 million units worldwide.
Despite three straight years of losses and a terrible Wii U performance, Nintendo remains optimistic. Nintendo expects an operating profit of 40 billion yen ($394 million) for the current fiscal year ending March 2015. Nintendo is praying the upcoming release of Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. can push sales higher.
Time will tell if we see another drastic revision lower like the one earlier this year. History says expect one. Mario hasn’t saved them so far. I doubt Mario in a kart or fighting is going to do it.