Wii U's failure to wow leads to Nintendo profit warning
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Nintendo's Wii U video games console, intended to capitalise on the roaring success of 2006's Wii, has so far flopped – and is causing problems for the Japanese games company behind Mario the plumber.
In an announcement on Friday announcement the company dramatically slashed the number of Wii Us it expects to sell in the 12 months to April from 9m to just 2.8m, and said that it will make an annual loss, with total sales expected to shrink for the second year in a row, rather than growing by one-third. That will mark its third year in a row of making an operating loss.
Potential buyers seem to be favouring instead games on smartphones and tablets, a category which has exploded since Nintendo launched its best-selling Wii with the innovative "motion controllers" in December 2006 – just before the smartphone market began to boom.
But now the company has been left adrift as its audience of "casual" gamers has found other outlets. The reduced forecast comes after many observers had said that the 9m sales predicted earlier this year by management for the Wii U was unfeasible following its comparatively small sales of 3.45m in its first year in 2012.
Sony and Microsoft have each already outsold that figure with the new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles released in the autumn. They can rely on committed gamers who will wait for top-end games.