Nintendo reported a third-fiscal-quarter profit today for the three months ending on Dec. 31, 2012 as it struggled to regain its footing in a difficult gaming market. But it sold a respectable 3 million units of its Wii U video game console that launched on Nov. 18 in the U.S. and shortly thereafter worldwide. The Wii U sales pale in comparison to sales of Apple’s latest iPads, but the numbers are quite respectable for a video game console launch, which is typically held back by a shortage of components.
The results are very mixed. In terms of the outlook, Nintendo slashed its forecast for sales dramatically but said that its profit would actually be higher than it forecast previously on Oct. 24. Nintendo slashed its Wii U sales forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31 to 4 million consoles from a previous forecast of 5.5 million. It also cut its 3DS sales estimate to 15 million units compared with the 17.5 million it had predicted earlier. And it cut its DS sales expectations to 2.3 million from 2.5 million. None of that was good news.
Nintendo said its portable 3DS gaming hardware sales were up 11 percent and 3DS software sales were up 41 percent. But those gains were not enough to offset lower sales of Wii and Nintendo DS hardware and software. The yen’s value against the euro was contributed to a 2.4 percent decrease in overall sales in the first nine months of Nintendo’s fiscal year.
A favorable foreign currency exchange rate enabled Nintendo to report a profit in the third fiscal quarter. Nintendo did not break out its third-quarter results. But for the nine-month period, it reported net income of 14.545 billion yen, or $159.9 million, compared with a loss of 48.351 billion yen, or $531.62 million a year earlier. Revenues for the nine months were $5.970 billion, compared with $6.115 billion a year earlier. Nintendo’s operating loss was narrower at $64.4 million for the nine months, compared to an operating loss of $180.4 million a year earlier.
Nintendo said that its sales for the full fiscal year ending March 31 will be 670 billion yen, or $7.366 billion, down from its earlier forecast of 810 billion yen, or $8.905 billion. Nintendo now forecasts an operating loss of $219 million, compared to a forecast of an operating profit of $219 million earlier. Net income is expected to be $153.9 million, compared with an earlier forecast of $65 million.
Nintendo said that it will release “a cavalcade of strong, fan-favorite software titles for both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS” starting in March and continuing through 2014. Nintendo will release games based on well-known franchises including Mario Kart, Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, LEGO City, Wii Fit, and Pikmin. Those games “will help Nintendo regain momentum for Wii U,” the company said.
During the nine months ending on Dec. 31, Nintendo shipped 21.45 million hardware units and 126.57 million units of software. During those nine months, the Nintendo DS sold 2.15 million units, reaching lifetime sales of 153.67 million. Software sales on the DS were 30.24 million, reaching lifetime sales of 930.55 million. Nintendo 3DS sold 12.71 million units, reaching lifetime sales of 29.84 million. 3DS software sold 39.56 million units, reaching a total of 84.99 million units. Wii hardware sold 3.53 million units, reaching a total of 99.38 million units. Wii software sold 45.08 million units, reaching a total of 863.53 million units. Will U hardware sold 3.06 million units and 11.69 million units of software. That means Nintendo sold 3.82 games per Wii U console.