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Nintendo woes continue as Wii U launch trails Wii

The company has watched its revenue slide and has slashed its forecast "to reflect a lower-than-expected sales outlook."

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Wii U sales...so far.
Total sales through December since the launch of these products. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Nintendo had a rough end to 2012, and the situation might become a bit more difficult in the coming months.

The company today announced its earnings (PDF) for the nine months ended December 31. During that period, Nintendo generated 543 billion yen (about $6 billion) in revenue, dropping 2.4 percent compared with the same period in 2011. Despite that decline, Nintendo was able to muster a small profit of 14.5 billion yen, up significantly from the 48.4 billion yen it lost a year earlier.

The Nintendo 3DS handheld game player was the highlight of the company's financials during the period, tallying 12.7 million unit sales, up from the 11.4 million sold a year earlier. The Wii U, however, turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for Nintendo, selling only 3 million units since its launch in November. During the same period on store shelves, Wii sales were 3.2 million and would have been higher if Nintendo's production efforts could have kept up with the massive demand.

The Wii U's seemingly sluggish performance compared to the Wii hasn't gone unnoticed. Whereas the Wii was hard to find on store shelves for an extended period, consumers can easily find a Wii U. Even the Wii U's software sales are slow compared to the Wii, with 11.7 million units sold, compared with over 17 million for the original Wii.

Not surprisingly, the Wii and DS also saw losses during the nine-month period, with total Wii sales reaching 3.5 million units, compared with 9 million during the same time frame in 2011. DS sales were down to 2.2 million, compared to 4.6 million in 2011.

Given such unit sales, it's no surprise that Nintendo was forced to revise its forecast (PDF) for the fiscal year ending March 31. The company said today that it has dropped its revenue forecast from 810 billion yen to 670 billion yen due to a "lower-than-expected sales outlook based on sales performance in the year-end sales season and afterward."

Still, Nintendo is a bit more positive about its chances of turning a profit. The company has upped its full-year net income by 8 billion yen to 14 billion yen.

To try to reassure investors, the company said that it expects "new entries in the Mario Kart, Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, LEGO City, Wii Fit and Pikmin franchises [to] help Nintendo regain momentum for Wii U."