Iconic gaming giant Nintendo has been forced to cut its full-year financial forecast by 70 per cent, after the Japanese console manufacturer reported first-half 2012 losses in excess of previous predictions.
In the six months ending 30 September, the firm registered a net loss of nearly ¥30 billion, or about £235 million – a significant improvement on last year's loss of some ¥70 billion (£550m) but a rocky result nonetheless.
As a result, the Wii maker and Super Mario Brothers creator lowered its overall profit and sales expectations for the fiscal year ending March 2013. Nintendo now expects to make a profit of just ¥6 billion (£47m), down dramatically from its original projection of ¥20 billion (£156m), according to a report released today.
The company's hopes of meeting its amended forecast seem to rest largely on improved sales of its 3DS handheld console - including the recent supersized refresh, the Nintendo 3DS XL, as well as the performance of the forthcoming Wii U console in the lucrative pre-holiday shopping season. Set to launch in the UK on 30 November, Nintendo has projected Wii U sales of some 5.5 million units by March 2013.
Insiders have attributed Nintendo's below-expectation performance in 2012 on the strength of the Japanese yen, and the continued growth of gaming on tablets like the iPad - as well as smartphones and social networks - where playable content is often free.
"Consumers are content to use their smartphones and tablet computers to play games. The 3DS is really failing," said Makoto Kikuchi, CEO at Tokyo-based investment firm Myojo Asset Management, according to Bloomberg.
Partly in response to the present gaming zeitgeist, the Wii U - Nintendo's first full hardware offering for over half a decade - will feature a tablet-like touchscreen controller and its own dedicated social network.