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Nintendo slashes Wii U sales outlook

by on31 January 2013

Down 30 percent

Nintendo’s new Wii U game console doesn’t appear to be doing too well. The Japanese video game maker said Wednesday that it is revising its sales outlook and the announcement comes as no surprise.

The Wii U launched to much fanfare back in November, but reports of lackluster sales started emerging in late December, when it was rumoured that Nintendo managed to ship fewer than one million units in the first month of sales. Now the company is saying it managed to ship just 3.06 million units since launch and it expects sales to hit the 4 million mark though March. This is almost 30 percent lower than Nintendo’s earlier projection of 5.5 million units. To make matters worse, Nintendo also downgraded its 3DS sales forecast and it now hopes to sell 15 million units through March, down from 17.5 million units.

Microsoft and Sony are expected to launch their next generation consoles later this year and many analysts believe we could be looking at the last generation of powerful mainstream consoles. The focus is slowly shifting to mobile gaming platforms, open source solutions like the crowd-funded OUYA Android console and emerging technologies, such as streaming and cloud gaming. Cheaper platforms based on lean and open operating systems could render consoles obsolete in the long run, but for the time being they are not going anywhere, although upcoming consoles will probably never sell in huge volumes like the ancient PlayStation 2.

In spite of weak Wii U sales, Nintendo somehow managed to return to the black for the last nine months of 2012, with sales in excess of $6 billion and profit of $160 million. The company benefited from the weak yen and now there is also talk that China could overturn its decade-long ban on sales of video game consoles, which could reinvigorate the console market.

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