Uh oh: Nintendo cuts Wii U sales forecast by 69 percent

The company hoped to sell 9 million Wii U units between April 2013 and March 2014. It now expects to sell just 2.8 million units.

Don Reisinger
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

Nintendo is in a world of trouble, and it's not clear what might change its luck.

The game company on Friday announced that it needs to revise its Wii U sales expectations from an anticipated 9 million units sold between April 2013 and March 2014 to 2.8 million units during that period -- a 69 percent drop compared with previous estimates.

Wii U software sales, meanwhile, were halved in the modification, with Nintendo now saying that it expects software sales to hit 19 million units, rather than the 38 million it initially expected.

The trouble isn't just with the Wii U. Nintendo has revised its 3DS sales down to 13.5 million units, compared with 18 million in its previous forecast. Nintendo won't even hit the 2 million Wii units it had hoped to sell, saying instead that it will only muster 1.2 million unit sales during the period.

Nintendo's admission of trouble is no surprise to those who have been watching the game industry closely. Each month, the Wii U has failed to capture consumer attention in the US, and competing consoles have been doing a far better job appealing to gamers.

Not surprisingly, all this has forced Nintendo to revise its financials down. The company now says that it will lose 25 billion yen ($240 million). Nintendo previously hoped to generate a 55 billion yen profit.

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata attempted to explain his company's troubles to investors on Friday, writing a long letter explaining the modifications. Pointing to the Wii U, Iwata admitted that sales of its console "were significantly lower than our original forecasts."

So, what's next for Nintendo? In the note to investors, Iwata said he'll have more to share at the end of the month at a company briefing. However, according to Bloomberg, Iwata told reporters at a press conference in Osaka today that Nintendo is considering a more drastic change.

"We are thinking about a new business structure," Iwata said, according to Bloomberg. "Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business. It's not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone."