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Nintendo returns to profit but misses Wii U sales targets

Iconic gaming company Nintendo made a welcome return to the black in the fiscal year to 2013, posting an annual net profit of 7.1 billion yen (£47 million).

However, the Japanese firm missed a number of key targets and had offered up a 14 billion yen (£92 million) net profit forecast in January.

Nintendo also failed to meet sales expectations for its latest console, the Wii U, which sold some 3.45 million units - shy of the revised four million unit target issued in January. The console maker had originally estimated Wii U sales of 5.5 million.

Nintendo also posted a higher than expected operating-level loss of ¥36.4 billion (£239 million) – up from the ¥20 billion (£131.7 million) forecast in January.

"While foreign exchange gains in non-operating income increased, ordinary income and net income became smaller than forecast," Nintendo said in a statement.

Nintendo has blamed Wii U delays for its below-par financial performance. Things don't look set to get any easier, though, with rival console manufacturers Sony and Microsoft both gearing up to launch next-generation hardware in 2013.

However, Nintendo is expected to perform strongly on the software front this year, with new Mario Bros, Mario Kart, Pokemon, Zelda, and Wii Fit titles in the pipeline.

On the back of its 2013 results, Nintendo issued a bullish outlook for the fiscal year 2014 centred around an earnings target of 55 billion yen (£362.5 million).