Nintendo revises down outlook as profits slip, yen bites

Nintendo saw improved sales of its Wii and DS in the last three months of 2008 but revised down its full year sales and profits outlook due to the strong yen.

Nintendo saw improved sales of its Wii and DS gaming devices during the last three months of 2008, but revised down its sales and profits forecasts due to the stronger Japanese yen.

During the April to December period, which is the first nine months of Nintendo's financial year, saleswere 16 percent ahead of 2007 at ¥1.5 trillion (US$16.6 billion). However, net profit lagged that of 2007 by 18 percent, at ¥212 billion.

Sales of the Wii during the quarter were 10.4 million, up from 7 million during the same period a year earlier, while DS sales rose from 11.2 million units to 11.9 million, it said. During the quarter, sales of the DSi -- a revised version of the DS that was launched in Japan in November -- totaled 1.7 million units.

Despite the generally positive sales there are some clouds on the horizon.

Sales of the Wii are slowing in Japan. During the first nine months of the year, a total of 18.9 million consoles were sold versus 29.9 million in the same period of 2007. Sales of the DS have also been slipping in Japan and stood at 3.3 million during the nine-month period against 5.6 million during the equivalent period in 2007. The launch of the DSi has stoked sales somewhat, but they are still likely to be down for the full fiscal year.

For its fiscal year, which runs from April until March, Nintendo revised its sales forecasts for both the DS and Wii. It expects Wii sales to total 26.5 million units, down 1 million from its previous forecast, and DS sales to be 1 million units higher at 31.5 million.

It also revised down its financial outlook. The company cut its sales forecast by 9 percent to ¥1.8 trillion and shaved a third off its net profit forecast, which now stands at ¥230 billion.

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Martyn Williams

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