Faced with diminishing sales for their new console, Nintendo has lowered their Wii U sales projections for 2014 by over 70%, translating to a loss in $336 million.
As Wii U sales continue to falter, Nintendo is facing even more dire straits as their tenuous hold on the gaming industry continues to weaken.
In a recent shareholders statement, Nintendo revealed a revised sales forecast that reflects the console’s dwindling trends on the console market. The company previously expected to sell 9 million units in their fiscal year from April 2013 – March 2014, but now that number has been cleaved down to just 2.8 million–less than a third of the previous forecast.
This fiscal year marks the third consecutive loss in Wii U sales for the Japanese games maker, and Nintendo will forego 35 billion yen (~$336 million) from the 6.2 million units that were nixed from the estimate.
The company has since been kept afloat by strong sales of its 3DS system, but Nintendo will also prepares to take a hit on handheld and software sales as well; they estimated to sell 18 million handhelds, but this number has been culled to 13.5 million.
Nintendo has cautioned stakeholders of the impending 25 billion yen loss, a stark contrast to the 55 billion yen profit that the company predicted at the start of the fiscal year.
“We failed to reach our target for hardware sales during the year-end, when revenues are the highest,” Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s acting president, confided during the meeting.
With the PS4 and Xbox One consoles dominating the console market since their introduction during the holiday season, Nintendo is struggling to compete with the more powerful and high-profile systems.
Additionally the low-cost mobile gaming industry has put even more pressure on the company, and it seems that Nintendo is getting attacked on all fronts.
Even the recent $50 price reduction on the deluxe Wii U console (dropped from $349 to $299) wasn’t enough to improve sales figures over the holidays, as consumers opted instead for Microsoft’s Xbox One or Sony’s PlayStation 4.
Nintendo already took a loss when selling the console its original $349 retail price, and the reduction meant even further losses–a move that ultimately backfired as it still failed to meet expected sales.
Furthermore with low-cost Android-powered micro-consoles on the rise (such as the MadCatz MOJO or BlueStacks’ GamePop), Nintendo will be find itself competing with yet another platform. These devices give access to Android-based games in a console-based home environment, effectively pushing the mobile gaming sector into the living room.
The future of the beloved gaming titan has been somewhat jeopardized by these alarming trends, but Nintendo has enough assets and capital to keep its head above water for now. The ultimate question that arises, though, is how long can they keep re-hashing the same pool of iconic characters before they’re overwhelmed?
As it stands, the Wii U has its own brand of innovative features and content, however the lower-end specs and lack of third-party games make it a limited choice among its rivals. Nintendo has also left out many highly-desired features with many of its games, including online multiplayer, and although the Wii U has a dedicated following, it has failed to capture the attention of the gaming sphere as a whole.
It will be interesting to see what strategies Nintendo will utilize in order to maintain their hold in the industry–the fight isn’t lost, not yet–and whether or not a host of new games will be enough to keep their ground.
Stellar sales of 3DS hits like Animal Crossing: A New Leaf, Pokemon X & Y, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds have steadied the blow, but without new hardware or expanding to more third-party games, it’ll be tough to rely solely on first-party software to pick up the slack.