Nintendo falls back into red with $229m annual loss

Wednesday 07 May 2014 12.22
Sales of Nintendo's Wii U disappoint
Sales of Nintendo's Wii U disappoint

Japanese videogame giant Nintendo said it logged a $229m loss for its fiscal year to March as sales of its Wii U console disappointed.

The company said its net loss came in at 23.2 billion yen ($229m) - reversing a net profit of 7.1 billion yen a year ago.

Sales of 571.7 billion yen were down 10% on the year. 

Nintendo had previously warned it was on track for an annual loss, reversing an earlier 55 billion yen net profit forecast, as sales for the Wii U came in way below expectations over the crucial Christmas sales period. 

It said it sold 2.72 million Wii U consoles globally over the 12 months up to March.

This was less than a third of its earlier prediction for 9 million and dealt a blow to hopes it would match the blockbuster success of the original Wii.

Sales were "not as high as expected", the firm said, adding that price cuts and slower sales of the console's high-margin software weighed on results. 

The maker of the Donkey Kong and Pokemon franchises has fallen on hard times in recent years, piling up losses as rivals Sony and Microsoft outpaced it in console sales, while all three companies fight off a trend toward cheap - or sometimes free - downloadable games for smartphones and other mobile devices. 

Nintendo has previously blamed weak earnings partly on high development and marketing costs for the Wii U, which was launched in late 2012, although sales of its 3DS handheld console and related game titles fared better. It cut prices on both consoles to boost sales.