Nintendo rocked by weak Wii U sales

January 29, 2014: 4:26 AM ET
nintendo earnings
Nintendo's earnings have taken a hit from lackluster global sales of its Wii U gaming console.
HONG KONG (CNNMoney)

Things are looking downright shaky at Nintendo.

The company reported an operating loss on Wednesday of 1.6 billion yen ($15.3 million) for the nine months ended Dec. 31. Net income tumbled 30% to 10.2 billion yen ($98.8 million). Over the same period, the company sold only 2.4 million units of its Wii U console.

Nintendo (NTDOF) said profits have buckled due to weak global sales of the gaming console, especially after prices were slashed to attract buyers.

The Wii U has struggled to lure consumers as the appetite for mobile and tablet gaming grows, underscoring problems with the company's strategy and ability to keep up with gaming trends.

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Investors aren't too pleased with the company's performance -- shares of Nintendo trading in Tokyo have already fallen 8.1% so far this year.

Hey Nintendo. Put Mario on my phone!

Earlier this month, the company issued a profit warning after disappointing software and hardware sales in the busy end-of-year buying season.

Nintendo said it expected to record a 35 billion yen ($335.2 million) operating loss for the fiscal year ending in March, a significant drop from the 100 billion yen ($957.7 million) profit previously forecast.

The company also slashed its annual forecast for the Wii U console to 2.8 million from 9 million.

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Stiff competition from rival devices -- Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation -- have also hurt the company. Microsoft (MSFT) and Sony (SNE) have turned their gaming consoles into integrated, computing devices, and new models of the devices released late last year were hot demand.

Nintendo shares got a boost earlier this month when China loosened restrictions on video game consoles. The new market could be a boon for Nintendo, but it's not yet clear whether the company will embrace the experiment.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the number of Wii U units sold.


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