Nintendo Posts $456 Million Operating Loss as Wii U Console Struggles

Wii U sales have fallen short of expectations.

The video game specialist predicts a return to profitability for the current financial year, though its forecasts have been extremely optimistic recently.

TOKYO – Nintendo posted a bigger-than-expected operating loss of $456 million (¥46 billion) for the year to March, as sales of its Wii U console continued to disappoint.

The Kyoto-based video game maker saw global sales fall by more than 26 percent to $4.4 billion (¥448 billion), despite a somewhat better performance for the 3DS and 2DS handheld consoles, which shipped a combined 12.24 million units. Nintendo has forecast sales of another 12 million handheld consoles in the year to March 2015.

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Nintendo's forecast for the current financial year is for sales of $5.8 billion (¥590 billion) and operating income of $392 million (¥400 billion), though the company has acquired a reputation for overly optimistic predictions.

Games on smartphones generated higher sales than those on Nintendo's and Sony's handheld consoles combined for the first time last year, a sign of the struggles facing the two Japanese game-makers. However, Sony's PlayStation 4 console has beaten expectations with sales of more than 7 million since its release in November.  

Shares in Nintendo fell 2.7 percent to $104.74 (¥10,670) in Tokyo before the earnings announcement.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair