updated 05:05 pm EST, Thu January 31, 2013
New console approaches Wii sales pre-holiday, slips in 2013
Sales projections released by Nintendo cast significant doubt on the Japanese company's Wii U console reaching the heights of demand that the Wii console reached. Nintendo sold 3.06 million Wii U consoles worldwide since November through the end of 2012, but expects momentum to falter. The company has cut sales expectations from 5.5 million units through the end of March to four million.
The launch of the Wii U has had a "negative impact on Nintendo's profits," with a second straight loss expected for the fiscal year. Gaming consoles are often partially subsidized by the manufacturer in the first year of sales, with profits made up by game sales.
Nintendo sold 11 million Wii U games through the end of the holiday season, with two million for both New Super Mario Brothers U and NintendoLand. The reduction in expected console sales is being matched with a reduction in software sales estimates, down to 16 million, from 24 million. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata denied the possibility of a price cut to support flagging sales, saying "we are already offering it at a good price."
TiVo and Netflix integration with the console have also been delayed from an expected January release to some point in "early 2013." Google Maps integration shown in pre-launch videos of the console, called Wii Street U, was also expected in January but is now arriving in the "first quarter of 2013."
The console has attracted some criticism from the gaming press for not being significantly more powerful than the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, both more than six years old. Despite some bad press, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, said that Wii U demand will increase when people try it out and "see it is fun."