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Is Nintendo doomed? Not likely. Just take a look at how much money it's got in the bank

Fiscal projections. Capital budgeting. Shareholder investment. Yadda yadda yadda. Unless you like accounts and annual reports and stock markets and banks and all that, the world of corporate finance is really boring. But not today. Check this out for a completely not boring financial fact about Nintendo: Nintendo has £6.7 ($10.5) billion in the bank and, even if making big losses every year, that considerable nest egg would keep the company going until 2052. That's, like, 40 years away.

Above: Nintendo big boss Satoru Iwata and a big bag of money

Here's the exact quote taken from a feature in the latest issue of the UK's Nintendo Gamer magazine: "Buried in reams of financial data is the revelation that Nintendo have 812.8 billion Yen (£6.7/$10.5 billion) in the bank - enough for it to take a 20 billion Yen loss (£163/$257 million) every year until 2052. Then there's almost 469 billion Yen (£3.8/$6.0 billion) held in premises, equipment and investments. When that runs out - we're in the year 2075 by this point - they've got some of the most valuable intellectual property in gaming to sell off before the company goes out of business."

Taking all of those exciting numbers into account, even if the worse case scenario happens and assuming Nintendo continues to release, on average, three new Mario games a year - we've still got... 189 new Mario games ahead of us. Also, there's a pretty good chance that we'll get another F-Zero at some point within that timeframe.

So Wii sales may be plummeting like a lemming, 3DS needed a hefty price cut to counter sluggish sales and generally things have been looking a bit bleak for some time, but don't be hasty predicting the end for Nintendo. Even if it all goes properly down the toilet for the Japanese behemoth, it's got more than enough stashed away for a rainy day. In fact, it's got enough for 22,995 rainy days.

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42 comments

  • Stealth20k - March 30, 2014 11:05 a.m.

    Nintendo was number 1 in hardware sold and software sold last year.
  • Stealth20k - March 30, 2014 10:51 a.m.

    Nintendo is doing great
  • hahaNintendo - March 30, 2014 4:59 p.m.

    Yup, just like THQ was "doing great" while it was losing money for 5 years, spending down it's cash reserve, looking for a buyer at the last minute, then going bankrupt. JUST LIKE THAT. Nintendo is gone.
  • RPGrinder - March 30, 2014 5:14 p.m.

    THQ was not growing. Nintendo is. Nintendo has also only lost money for 1 year. Sony? A decade straight. Apples and oranges.
  • hahaNintendo - March 30, 2014 5:39 p.m.

    Nintendo is NOT growing, it is shrinking. They've lost money 2 years in a row, not one year. They've gone from 10.5 billion cash to 7.4 billion in 18 months. Bankrupt in 4 years.
  • nintendork67 - April 18, 2014 3:59 p.m.

    How is opening a new dev building and hiring new staff members shrinking exactly?
  • hahaNintendo - March 30, 2014 10:19 a.m.

    Wow Nintendo is rapidly headed for bankruptcy. In June of 2012 when this article was written Nintendo had 10.5 billion cash. As of January 2014 Nintendo has 8.6 billion cash and announced they will buy back 1.2 billion in shares. That leaves them with 7.4 billion cash. So, out of the original 40 years this author claims they have left, they've only got 28 left. That's right, they spent through 12 years of cash in only 1.5 years. If that doesn't have bankruptcy written all over it, I don't know what does. I expect Mario and Zelda to be bought by Microsoft and released only on Xbox One in a couple of years. Sony will probably pick up some games as well. Nintendo is gone.
  • alecbeals - March 16, 2014 11:50 a.m.

    All I see when I read this is " wow look how much money nintendo has made that it hasn't invested in either R&D, price drop cushions or really anything else that might have helped prevent it from the situation it's in at the moment. " The last 2 consoles have been made as cheaply as possible and their sales are a joke. It's a greedy company and while I'm super glad they can continue to lose money for 42 years straight, all that tells me is how much they've been able to get off their ridiculously loyal and devout fan-base that any other company on earth would foam at the mouth to have.
  • nintendork67 - March 20, 2014 11:20 p.m.

    "The last 2 consoles have been made as cheaply as possible and their sales are a joke." If by a joke you mean the Wii sold 100 million units and the DS sold 150 million units, then yes.
  • hahaNintendo - March 30, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    Nintendo has already spent through 12 years of their 40 years of cash and it was all done in 18 months since this article was written. Lets recalculate now based on the new numbers. So since the author wants to calculate how long the company can last at the spend rate, lets figure out now that we know the REAL numbers...Oh yeah Nintendo to go bankrupt in 4 years. I expect them begging for a buyout in about 2 years, 3 tops. Mario on Xbox One and Zelda Kinect coming soon.
  • jmcgrotty - February 14, 2012 4:33 a.m.

    Always love people who have no understanding of finances trying to explain why this is a good thing. Trust me, that amount of money in the bank is NOT indicative of the health of a company. For example, AMD has $2 1/2 billion in the bank and short-term investments, but no one would ever consider them a healthy company... to the extent that last quarter, they lost $177 million. (and will be even uglier when Ivy Bridge kicks their ass) I'm not trying to say that Nintendo is on the verge of an utter financial collapse (though they better realize soon they need to quit making -- well, trying to make. They haven't had a new console since 2001 -- consoles ASAP), but this article doesn't put the numbers in a real-world prespective.
  • smashbrolink - February 25, 2013 4:09 p.m.

    Yeaaahhhhhh, no. I'm sorry, but Nintendo has NOT made horrible consoles since 2001. You're only saying that because you didn't want something less powerful than the absolute best a console could reasonably afford to put into it. That, or you didn't want to be caught dead playing "a kiddie console" even though you'd have loved to play the games on it. Nintendo is more than healthy right now. You're just downplaying their recent financial straits. Sony and Microsoft have taken far heavier losses yet I don't hear anyone here saying that they'll drop out, and that's because they just damn well won't. None of the big three will. They've got good consoles backing them and enough capital to keep them afloat for decades to come, that includes Nintendo.
  • Facelord - April 16, 2013 10:20 p.m.

    You think that Nintendo's "just barely as good as the last-gen offerings" systems are made with "reasonably affordable" in mind? Haha, no, not how it works. Their systems are disgustingly mediocre. It's not that they "aren't playing the hardware arms race," it's that they're not even trying to keep up. At all. Even a little. I grew up with Nintendo's consoles, I stuck with them even through the mediocre Wii, but when I got the 3DS and it left me with complete and utter disappointment, I decided I'm done, it's over, my love affair with Nintendo was just a sham at that point. Nintendo gave up on providing their consumers with a good end-user experience. They are perpetually last-gen, all because they are frugal, yet their products don't offer as much value as the competition at similar price points. They might be able to use monopolistic tactics to fight off the competition (like how they almost certainly paid off Capcom for Monster Hunter exclusivity), but that doesn't fix the underlying problem. Nintendo may have gotten lucky with the Wii and the DS, but their casual gold mine is all over smartphones and tablets and they've alienated their core market. I hope they either go third-party, so their development teams have better hardware to make games for and they have a larger base of potential customers, or that they at least replace their mediocre abominations, the 3DS and Wii U, with decent hardware. Until then, they can forget about my dollar vote, and the dollar vote of anyone else who wants quality products for their money and don't become complacent with the sight of a Nintendo logo.
  • BackwaterRifle - July 16, 2013 12:49 p.m.

    "Nintendo gave up on providing their consumers with a good end-user experience." So when they price cut the 3DS, and gave early adopters 20 free games, ten of which I believe weren't even set to be for sale on the Nintendo Virtual Console, they weren't being fair to early adopters. Last time I checked, no company has really ever gone so out of its way to make good with its fanbase.
  • talleyXIV - July 17, 2013 3:54 a.m.

    They also provide Club Nintendo, giving away free things just for buying their products. They currently have a promotion that gives you $30 for their E-Store just for buying 2 games. They offer an incredible amount of fan service in each game and actually continue to change their games even though we all know Mario would still sell if they kept it exactly the same.
  • talleyXIV - July 17, 2013 3:52 a.m.

    Their consoles are good because their games are good. A console can have the greatest technical specs known to man but if you can't make a game for it I don't give a shit about it. Sure the Wii had downright bad graphics in comparison to competitors but Nintendo made it work. Super Mario Galaxy looks really good, as does every other game Nintendo put out for it, dumb developers tried too hard to make games look realistic on a console that just couldn't do it. Developers didn't know how to use a good console and the same is now happening with the Wii U but Nintendo will save itself once again.
  • alecbeals - March 16, 2014 11:54 a.m.

    The Wii was made explicitly as cheaply as possible to help fix Nintendos financial woes at the end time of the game cube, they latched it with a motion gimmic and it sold like hot cakes. Instead of using that money to invest in their consumers, development or third party outreach they pocketed it and pushed out a wii U, which has a concept that I personally love but is so woefully behind in both its hardware and software/online infrastructure that it's selling like crap. Hell I'll buy one I think its neat.. when its $100 on ebay.
  • budango - March 17, 2014 9:29 a.m.

    You really don't understand business do you? They have almost no debt and 10 billion dollars. The gaming crowd is totally different from ten years ago. People of all ages play games and only the teen to middle age people will obsess about powerful consoles and graphics. That leaves kids and old people to buy all the cute and tame games nintendo hasto offer (the best part is they aren't picky so they will pretty much want anything that looks slightly appealing). It's a business that is profitable and barely has any debt, sounds like they aren't doing bad even if they got you butt hurt haha ;).
  • budango - March 17, 2014 6:14 a.m.

    Are you serious? Now let's first take a look at amd who actually has around 1.5 billion cash on hand and 2 billion dollars in debt. Can you see how that is completely different from Nintendo's almost zero debt and 10 billion dollars cash on hand? You are comparing a chip maker to a console company, a console company that has assets in intellectual property that might even eclipse it's debt free cash on hand. Also have you ever heard of the ds? Which came out around 2004 and was themost successful handheld CONSOLE ever? Guess not. Sounds to me like you have money invested in amd. You need to do better research if you do (no offense), don't fall in love with a stock. I know people invested in amd but I don't get the hype, it could pay off but I don't feel like jumping into another high risk stock all in right now. They definitely can pay off but you have to watch the pps and the news like a hawk. Good luck
  • Ravenbom - February 13, 2012 4:12 p.m.

    So, basically too big to fail? Why does that sound familiar? Still, it's nice to know they'll be secure for a while.

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