As the end of the financial year approaches, Nintendo has dramatically reduced its sales expectations for both the Wii U and 3DS from 9.2 million to 2.8 million units, and 18 million to 13.5 million, respectively. This change in forecast, which is set to see the company experience its third consecutive annual loss, has led Nintendo president Saturo Iwata to apologise to shareholders.
Speaking candidly at the company’s press conference, Iwata pledged to remain with Nintendo despite this sales revision, stating that their will be “no major management shake-up in the short term.” Additionally, the CEO also addressed the hardware’s subpar performance:
“In the year-end sales season which constitutes the highest proportion of the annual sales volume, software sales with a relatively high margin were significantly lower than our original forecasts mainly due to the fact that hardware sales did not reach their expected level,
“In particular, sales in the US and European markets in which we entered the year-end sales season with a hardware markdown were significantly lower than our original forecasts, with both hardware and software sales experiencing a huge gap from their targets.”
Though Wii U hardware bundles and high-profile exclusives such as Super Mario 3D World injected the ailing console with some much needed vitality, ultimately, it seems that Nintendo’s two platforms were overshadowed by the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the latter stages of 2013 (despite the Wii U and 3DS offering a better range of software).
Without doubt, the Wii U has been hamstrung by its meagre install base, which has resulted in software projections being reduced, too — down from 38 million to 19 million. In terms of the company’s handheld, the 3DS performed overly well in 2013 and was the top-selling platform in the US. Outside of the States, however, Nintendo has revealed that the portable device failed to gain a foothold in some EU markets, resulting in a annual figure that was “significantly lower” than the initial forecast.
Much can be said about the company’s sizeable cash reserve and reputation in the gaming community, but today’s NPD figures —which project the company to lose 25 billion yen ($238m) for the year ending March 31 — will no doubt force the big N into action.