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Nintendo records first annual loss: $531m in the red

But results are still better than predictions, thanks to strong 3DS

Nintendo has released its full year financial report for the period ending March 31, 2012, recording a ¥43 billion (£328.7m/$531.1m) net loss despite ¥647 (£4.925bn/$7.976bn) billion in sales. Sales were down 36.2 per cent from the year prior.

Last year, the company posted sales of ¥1.01 trillion and a profit of ¥77.6 billion, with those figures already representing respective drops of 29.3 and 66.1 per cent from the full year before that.

Over the course of the year, 13.53 million 3DS units were sold worldwide, with over 5 million units in Japan. However, a weaker than expected Christmas for software sales meant that there was no time for recovery from the poor performance which marked the first months of the 3DS' schedule. 36 Million units of 3DS software were sold worldwide, with unspecified third party titles being identified as strong sellers alongside the perennial favourites of Mario Kart and Mario Land.

The Wii may be in fast decline, but the year leading up to March 31 was hardly a dry period for the platform. 9.84 Million hardware units were sold worldwide, backed up by 102.37 million software units.

Nintendo continues to pursue its basic strategy of "Gaming Population Expansion" by offering compelling products that anyone can enjoy, regardless of age, gender or gaming experience.

Nintendo financial report, year ending March 31, 2012.

As with Sony, Nintendo suffered greatly from the exchange rates imposed by a strong Yen and a largely foreign market. ¥27.7 billion was said to lost to exchange rates, with 77.1 per cent of the company's business taking place outside Japan. Depsite that, a higher percentage of sales took place on Japanese soil than in the year previous, likely reflecting the territories stronger 3DS sales.

22.9 per cent of revenues came from Japan in the last 12 months, compared to 16.6 per cent in the year before. The US represented a smaller slice with 38.8 per cent as opposed to 45.5 per cent, whilst Europe remained largely stable at 33.6 per cent from 32.5.

Despite the disappointing figures, representing the first full-year loss in the company's history, Nintendo was confident that the next year will show a return to profit, foreseeing a 26 per cent increase in sales to ¥820 billion and a profit of ¥20 billion. Part of that upturn should come from improvements in the efficiency of 3DS production, with Nintendo predicting that it should be able to sell each unit at profit within six months.

In the software stable, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is expected to be a top performer, along with Animal Crossing and a new Brain Age title.

Of course, the next results will also include the first three months or so of Wii U sales, which Nintendo says will be released in the US, EU and Japan at the end of this calendar year

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Dan Pearson