January 26th, 2005, 11:04
Nintendo's normally fat profits have taken a serious hit in the three months between October and December, falling 43% and forcing the company to slash its full-year target by one fifth.[br]But it's not all bad news: the Nintendo DS smashed its December 2004 sales target of 2.8 million by shifting a grand total of 2,840,000 million units in the US and Japan. [br][br]Nintendo has reacted enthusiastically to the figures by raising the March 31 sales target from 5 million to 6 million units. The touchscreen handheld will get a beefy sales injection in March when it goes on sale in Europe - we'll know the exact date and pricepoint tomorrow.[br][br]Ironically, Nintendo has identified the DS as one of the reasons for poor software sales in the last quarter. Speaking to Reuters, Nintendo's Senior Managing Director Yoshihiro Mori said, "DS software is not selling because users are playing the pre-installed PictoChat game. Even if they buy a game, multiple players can use it to play against each other, eliminating the need for each to buy their own game." [br][br]"We also included a demo game with the DS machine in the United States," he added, "and pushed back some game releases into the next business year."[br][br]Of course, the DS can also play the GBA cartridges new owners will probably already have, which will also have done its part in keeping game sales quiet.[br][br]More worryingly, weak sales of GameCube were also singled out as a reason for the profit drop. Nintendo shifted 3.46 million Cubes between October and December, causing the company to drop its year end sales estimate for the home console by 12.5%.[br][br]Nintendo must be thanking their lucky stars for the GBA. Even though the plucky little handheld has effectively been superseded by the DS, Nintendo still managed to flog 14.34 million of the little buggers before Christmas. In the UK alone sales shot up 45% to 1million in the three months before Santa popped down the chimney - making it the best-selling hardware over Christmas and taking the total number of GBAs in this country alone to 4 million.[br][br]Don't worry though. It's not the end of the world for Ninty. Even though profits fell last quarter the Japanese gaming giant is still expected to make a net profit of 70 billion Yen when the financial year ends in April, so it's unlikely that Miyamoto-san will be selling his stocks anytime soon. Plus, Nintendo announced earlier this month that they'd be increasing spending on advertising and research and design to ensure a smooth launch for the DS and support work on the next-gen home console, Revolution.[br][br]All the latest Nintendo news is right here. Stay tuned.