Struggling Nintendo reported a surprising quarterly operating profit as new game "Mario Kart 8" stoked sales of its Wii U console. Nintendo said on Wednesday it made an operating profit of around 215 million yen ($2 million) in its fiscal second quarter, compared with an 18 billion yen operating loss a year earlier.
Nintendo has lagged behind Microsoft and Sony in the home video console market. The growth of free mobile games played on smartphones and tablet computers has also harmed its prospects, with Nintendo games not available on those devices.
Nintendo said that "Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS" released in Japan in September, showed extremely strong initial sales, and marked 3.22 million units in sales globally, partly because shipments for the October release in the overseas markets began in September. "Tomodachi Life," released in June in the overseas markets, continued to show steady sales, and marked 1.27 million units in sales worldwide during this fiscal year (3.12 million units on a cumulative basis). As a result, the global sales of the "Nintendo 3DS" hardware and software were 2.09 million and 23.3 million units respectively.
With respect to Wii U, Nintendo released "Mario Kart 8" globally in May, which has continued to show steady sales, as well as "Hyrule Warriors," released in September in the overseas markets, which has gained popularity. The worldwide sales of the Wii U hardware and software were 1.12 million units and 9.4 million units respectively.
In addition, Nintendo plans to release "Super Smash Bros. for Wii U in November in the United States, and in December in Japan and Europe. Moreover, the company will launch character figures called "amiibo," which are categorized as a brand-new product genre, in conjunction with the release of "Super Smash Bros. for Wii U." Players can enter a Nintendo character into a game through the Wii U’s GamePad tablet.
For Nintendo 3DS, due to a lack of strong titles especially in Japan, the sales momentum had slowed down; however, since this summer, the Nintendo 3DS platform has been gaining sales momentum as a result of releasing key titles one after another. Nintendo expects to expand sales in the year-end sales season with "Pokémon Omega Ruby" and "Pokémon Alpha Sapphire" to be released globally in November, and a number of key titles from third-party publishers.
Nintendo added that the new Nintendo 3DS/3DS XL, launched as the newest
members of the Nintendo 3DS family in Japan in October, are off
to a good start.
The company also reiterated its forecast for a full-year operating profit of 40 billion yen.