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Wii U sold under 500k in six months

Nintendo reveals "negative impact" of console in six-month financial report, scrapes a profit due to exchange gains

Nintendo sold fewer than 500,000 units of its Wii U console in the last six months, though favourable exchange rate saw the company turn a small profit.

Despite the launch of key first-party titles like Pikmin 3 and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Nintendo failed to gather some much needed momentum around its faltering console. In the six months ended September 30, 2013, the Wii U hardware sold 460,000 units worldwide, along with 6.3 million units of software.

This actually represents a relative improvement in performance: the Wii U sold only 160,000 units in the first quarter of the six-month period, meaning that it almost doubled sales in the second quarter. However, thanks to a price-cut on the hardware that increase hasn't helped the company's bottom line.

"The Wii U hardware still has a negative impact on Nintendo's profits, owing mainly to its markdown in the United States and Europe," Nintendo said in a statement released today.

The company reported an operating loss of ¥23.2 billion ($236.2 million) for the period, which it attributed to "advertising activities" for the Wii U and research and development for new software. The amount invested in these pursuits was not given, though the fact that Nintendo made a gross profit of ¥62 billion ($631.4 million) for the period gives some idea of the scale.

Nintendo booked ¥196.6 billion ($2 billion) revenue during the six-month period, down 2.2 per cent on the previous year. Net profit was ¥600 million ($6.1 million), a relatively small sum but a massive improvement over the ¥28 billion ($186 million) loss a year before.

However, Nintendo suggested that its return to profit was largely due to a favourable depreciation of the Yen, leading to "exchange gains" of ¥18.3 billion versus the same period in the previous year.

But it's not all gloom and doom. The 3DS remained Nintendo's driving force, selling 3.89 million units and a further 27.38 million units of software. The platform's top performers included Tomodachi Collection with 1.63 million units sold and Animal Crossing: New Leaf with 2.49 million.

Nintendo's forecast for fiscal 2014 remains positive, with an expected ¥920 billion ($9.3 billion) in revenue and ¥55 billion ($560 million) in profit.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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