First ever loss for Nintendo as Wii sales falter

Nintendo’s posted its first ever annual loss, following disappointing sales of the Wii and price cuts for both the Wii and the 3DS.

It’s reported a net loss of $533 million, partly also because of the strong yen. But sales dropped 36.2 percent year on year to just under $8 billion.

Over the second half of last year, the company slashed the price of the 3DS, chopping it by 40 percent to below cost price and rolling out a spew of new games. But this failed to boost sales enough to compensate for the company’s poor performance in the first half.

Nevertheless, the company says it expects to shift 18.5 million 3DSs this year, up from 13.5 million last year. It’s also hoping to sell 10.5 million Wii consoles, including the forthcoming Wii U, compared with 9.8 million last year.

The Wii U is expected to hit the shelves in June, but will face stiff competition from Microsoft when it launches the next version of the Xbox – although this probably won’t be until next year.

Nintendo says it expects to return to profitability next year as the yen weakens again. It plans to get the 3DS selling at above cost price by the middle of this year.

And there are several new games in the pipeline, including a new Brain Age game and New Super Mario Bros 2 this summer, and a new Animal Crossing game in the fall. It expects to sell 73 million 3DS games this year.

The company’s also planning to push on with the Nintendo Network, its Xbox Live equivalent for the 3DS and Wii U.