Nintendo has reported its third annual operating loss, ending fiscal year 2014 46.4 billion yen ($457 million) in the red on the back of slow Wii U sales.
Just 310,000 were purchased during the last quarter, a 20 per cent drop from the same period a year previously, leading to total life-to-date sales of 6.17 million. The PlayStation 4, by comparison, had sold seven million units by April 6th despite only launching last November while the Wii U was released in the same month a year previously.
The financial report states:
"The Wii U hardware still has a negative impact on Nintendo’s profits owing mainly to its markdown in the United States and Europe, and unit sales of software, which has high profit margins, did not grow sufficiently."
Of the 6.17 million Wii U's sold so far, just 2.72 million were purchased in the last 12 months.
Nintendo's handhelds performed somewhat better, with 590,000 3DS family systems being sold during the quarter for lifetime sales of 43.3 million of which 2.2 million are the lower priced 2DS varient which launched last October. 3DS games were also the company's biggest software releases with Pokemon X/Y at 12.26 million copies sold worldwide followed by Animal Crossing: New Leaf at 7.66 million units to-date.
The company has predicted a profit of 40 billion yen ($394 million) for the current fiscal year and predicts Wii U sales of 3.6 million and for 3DS to shift 12 million units.
Last night, the latest longterm IDC report on the console sector predicted that Nintendo will cut the price of the Wii U by $50 later this year or early in 2015 but this is not expected to make a significant impact in the company's race to catch up with Sony and Microsoft.
Nintendo has issued a statement on its financial report in which the company vowed to leverage its strengths moving forward. The statement reads:
"Regarding Wii U, which still faces a challenging sales situation, Nintendo will focus on efforts that seek to stimulate the platform.
"By providing software that takes advantage of the Wii U GamePad, utilising its built-in functionality as an NFC reader/writer, and adding Nintendo DS Virtual Console titles to the Wii U software line-up, Nintendo will seek to enrich the value of the Wii U GamePad, the most important differentiator of Wii U, and as a result expand the sales of the Wii U platform."
Nintendo pointed to Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. as key titles to look out for.