Nintendo to Launch Wii Successor Next Year

Courtesy of Nintendo

In reporting a profit decline of 66% for its latest fiscal year, the company announced that it will show a model of the successor to its hit Wii console at the E3 Expo this summer.

TOKYO – Nintendo on Monday posted a full fiscal-year profit that was down 66 percent and also announced the successor to its hit Wii console, sales of which have been slowing worldwide.

Hit by the decline in Wii sales, a strong yen and the disruption to the launch of its 3DS portable console in Japan caused by the March 11 earthquake, Nintendo announced a profit of 77.62 billion yen ($945 million) for the year to March 31. Revenue fell nearly 30 percent to 1.014 trillion yen, following a 22 percent drop last year.

This is the second straight year of falling revenue and profit for the Kyoto-based firm, which posted net income of 228.64 billion yen for the year to March 2010, itself a drop of 18 percent. Nevertheless, Nintendo did manage to stay in the black throughout the global slowdown.

In a three-sentence statement on its website, media-shy Nintendo announced it "has decided to launch in 2012 a system to succeed Wii" and that it "will show a playable model of the new system and announce more specifications at the E3 Expo" in Los Angeles June 7-9.

The 3DS, the glasses-free 3D portable console that was launched at the end of February in Japan, and at the end of March elsewhere, missed Nintendo’s global sales target of 4 million units, racking up 3.61 million by the end of March.

Although the earthquake in Japan has affected nearly every industry, it doesn’t explain all of the 3DS’ lackluster sales: the new console has been outsold by Sony’s seven-year-old PSP for the last few weeks in Japan. A slim line-up of games for the 3DS launch is being blamed for low consumer interest.

Nintendo is forecasting a profit of 110 billion yen for the year to March 2012, although the company is famously conservative in its financial predictions.