Nintendo said today it sold just 2.4 million Wii U video game consoles in the nine months that ended Dec. 31. That was far less than the 4.2 million that Sony sold (to retailers) and the 3.9 million Microsoft sold in just six weeks.

That poor performance is causing a financial train wreck at Japan’s oldest and most venerable video game company.

Profits for Nintendo slid 30 percent in the first nine months of the year as Wii U sales weakened. But Nintendo managed to make a profit of 10.2 billion yen ($99 million) during the nine month period, thanks to sales of 3DS software and hardware. The Kyoto, Japan-based company did not break out quarterly numbers.

Nintendo said that its executives would take pay cuts for the next five months to take responsibility. Satoru Iwata, president, will see his pay halved, while represented director Shigeru Miyamoto will get a 30 percent pay cut. Seven other board members will receive 20 percent pay cuts.

The Sony PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft Xbox One are more powerful machines, and sales of the new consoles took off after they were launched in November. But the Wii U, which launched in the fall of 2012, failed to ignite consumer demand. To date, the Wii U has sold 5.86 million units of hardware and 29.4 million units of software. By comparison, the previous game console, the Wii, has sold more than 100.9 million units of hardware and 892.3 million units of software.

Meanwhile, the 3DS isn’t selling nearly as many units as the DS, thanks to sales of smartphones and tablets. Apple, by comparison, sold 51 million iPhones and 26 million iPads in the fourth calendar quarter alone. To date, the 3DS has sold 42.7 million units of hardware and 152.29 million units of software. The DS over its lifetime has sold 153.9 million units of hardware and 942.3 million units of software.

Nintendo is forecasting a loss for the fiscal year of $242 million for the year ending March 31. It previously was expecting a profit of $532 million.

As it shaved back that forecast, it reduced its annual forecast for Wii U sales from 9 million units to just 2.8 million.

Nintendo also cut the sales forecast for its handheld 3DS to 13.5 million units from 18 million units for the fiscal year.

Nintendo sales of its major systems to date.

Above: Nintendo sales of its major systems to date.

Image Credit: Nintendo


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

LIVE NOW: GamesBeat's Driving Game Growth Summit