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Nintendo scored record profits for its fiscal year ended March 31, but the Japanese console king warned that its profit would dip in the coming year due to an expected slowdown in Nintendo DS handheld sales.
Operating profit was $5.64 billion — that’s an astounding figure that is more than Electronic Arts’ $4.1 billion in revenues — for the fiscal year, up 14 percent from a year earlier. Net profit was $2.8 billion, up 8.5 percent from a year ago.
Nintendo forecast an 11.8 percent decline in operating profit to $4.9 billion in the year ending March 31, 2010. Analysts were expecting a fiscal 2010 profit of $5.2 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. The company reported sales of $18.6 billion for fiscal 2009, up 10 percent. Nintendo itself had projected net income of $2.6 billion.
While the outlook reflects a slowdown, Nintendo is still far better off than the game divisions of Sony and Microsoft. Wii has still sold more consoles than both Microsoft and Sony combined. Nintendo’s confidence is the weakest in the handheld market. Could it be my imagination, or is Nintendo concerned about competition from the iPhone/iPod Touch?
For the fourth fiscal quarter ended March 31, Nintendo’s sales dropped 15 percent from a year earlier, and its net income was off 43 percent from a year ago. Some analysts have expressed concern that sales of the Wii have slowed in Japan. But the company had a blockbuster game in March a year ago: Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii.
The company sold 26 million Wii consoles during the year, with overall totals crossing 50 million since 2006. It sold 31 million DS units, pushing the lifetime total since 2004 to 100 million units. The company sold 197 million DS games and 204 million Wii games.
For fiscal 2010, the company predicts it will sell another 26 million Wii systems. That’s a flat number that represents a dramatic slowdown in hardware sales, but the company may be conservatively predicting that it is approaching market saturation. It forecasts sales of 220 million Wii games.
For the DS, the company projects sales of 30 million units and 180 million games. Nintendo closed the fiscal year with $9 billion in cash. The company’s stock rose in trading after the results were announced in Japan.
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