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Nintendo reports surprising sales drops

Jan. 18, 2014 at 10:41 AM   |   Comments

OSAKA, Japan, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The president of Japanese video game giant Nintendo said the company is rethinking its position on mobile devices after a disappointing fourth quarter.

"Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business," Satoru Iwata said at a news conference in Osaka, Japan.

The company was seeking "a new business structure," which could include licensing brands such as Mario or Donkey Kong or releasing versions of those game characters for mobile devices. Nintendo's disappointing fourth-quarter results were largely due to a slow embrace of mobile devices, which have become a major focus of the digital gaming industry, the New York Times reported Saturday.

Nintendo this week said it sold 70 percent fewer Wii U consoles in the quarter than it had expected and fell short of projections for its 3DS game platform. It missed its profit expectations by a long shot, reporting a loss of $240 million as opposed to an expected profit of $527 million.

Nintendo dropped its 2014 sales estimates sharply, even for the 3DS, which it now says will hit 13.5 million, a 25 percent drop from an earlier prediction.

Nintendo's 3DS sales are about half of what they were in in 2008, the Times said.

Nintendo's new forecast is "one of the most surprising pre-announcements we've seen in the industry. Not in terms of the Wii U not doing well, but the magnitude by which they had to revise their forecast," said industry analyst Evan Wilson of Pacific Crest Securities.

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