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Nintendo: Don't blame slow sales on piracy

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata says company's expected slow gaming sales over next few months has more to do with a lack of "hits" than piracy.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata James Martin/CNET Networks

Nintendo expects slower game sales going forward, but the game company's chief doesn't want folks to think it's due to piracy.

Speaking at an investor conference late last month, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said he doesn't believe that "slower sales are solely due to piracy." Although he acknowledged that piracy plays some part, the real issue going forward for Nintendo, which said in its latest financial filing that it expects slower software sales through the end of its fiscal year, is that it doesn't have "hit" titles to carry it through.

"With the lack of such hit software titles, we had to come up with the unit shipment forecasts with the assumption of a slower sales pace than when we originally made this year's financial forecasts," Iwata told investors. He went on to say that Nintendo "has not been able to produce the titles which can be a great hit in the market."

But that doesn't mean that Nintendo isn't taking piracy seriously. Iwata said that as a console maker, his company has a "responsibility" to confront piracy. He said that Nintendo is currently working on improving piracy "countermeasures" in its upcoming 3DS gaming handheld, which allows gamers to play titles in 3D without glasses.

Iwata has every reason to fight piracy. Late last year, TorrentFreak tallied the most pirated games on the Nintendo Wii. It found that the New Super Mario Bros. was illegally downloaded 1.15 million times. Punch-Out and Wii Sports Resort followed it in overall downloads. Across the industry, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 took the top spot for most pirated games with a whopping 4.1 million illegal downloads.

However, Iwata knows that delivering desired games is what will inevitably drive software sales. And that's why, going forward, his company's goal is "to increase the number of our customers who are willing to shell out their money to purchase our products."