Nintendo reported today that it had a loss in the fourth fiscal quarter ending March 31. This was its first annual operating loss in memory.
This came as a result of the high value of the yen and weaker-than-expected sales of the Wii console and 3DS handheld. Nintendo has faced tough competition from Microsoft in the last year as high-end games, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and strong sales of the Kinect motion-sensing system have reinvigorated Xbox 360 sales.
The company said it will return to a profit during the fiscal year that began this April 1. The company predicts it will have an operating profit of 35 billion yen, or $423 million, compared with estimates of a 40 billion yen profit, according to Thomson Reuters.
During the new year, Nintendo expects to sell 18.5 million 3DS units — up from 13.5 million in the previous fiscal year. Nintendo expects to sell 10.5 million Wii consoles on a worldwide basis — up from 9.8 million in the fiscal year that just ended.
Nintendo is expected to release its successor to the Wii, the Wii U, later this year. Nintendo lost 37.3 billion yen in the year ending March 31, which is less than the expectations of a 41.4 billion yen loss. Nintendo’s sales were 647 billion yen, which are down from its previous forecast of 660 billion yen.