Now that the dust has settled and the holiday season is over, Nintendo has a better idea of just how successful its latest home console has been this past year. And the verdict is: not successful at all. In fact, the company has had to lower its sales forecast for the fiscal year from 9 million all the way down to 2.8 million.
Company president Satoru Iwata shared the disheartening news in the latest earning's report, providing the following explanation on why Wii U's sales forecast has required such a drastic revision.
Wii U sales, on the other hand, showed some progress in the year-end sales season as we released various compelling titles from the summer onwards, launched hardware bundles at affordable price points and also performed a markdown of the hardware in the U.S. and European markets; however, they fell short of our targeted recovery by a large margin.
In particular, sales in the U.S. and European markets in which we entered the year-end sales season with a hardware markdown were significantly lower than our original forecasts, with both hardware and software sales experiencing a huge gap from their targets. In addition, we did not assume at the beginning of the fiscal year that we would perform a markdown for the Wii U hardware in the U.S. and European markets. This was also one of the reasons for lower sales and profit estimates.
Interestingly enough, Nintendo's handheld also underperformed, forcing the company to update its sales forecast from 18 million to 13.5 million. According to Iwata, this is primarily due to the hardware's underperformance outside of Japan. "Nintendo 3DS did not reach our sales targets in the overseas markets, and we were ultimately unable to achieve our goal of providing a massive sales boost to Nintendo 3DS in the year-end sales season," he explained.
"Using the U.S. market as an example, Nintendo 3DS became the top-selling platform in the last calendar year, according to NPD, an independent market research company, with its cumulative sales exceeding 11.5 million units; however, the estimated annual sales of the Nintendo 3DS hardware remain significantly lower than our initial forecast at the beginning of the fiscal year."
But the United States isn't the only territory to blame, as the performance of 3DS across the pond was underwhelming as well. "In Europe, while the individual markets showed different results, France was the only market in which we experienced relatively strong sales, and we failed to attain our initial sales levels by a large margin in other countries."
2013 certainly wasn't the best year for Nintendo. Do you think the company's fortunes will chance in this new year? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.