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Nintendo profits down. Is the bubble starting to burst, or is everyone just waiting for the 3DS?

Yup, after several beyond-healthy years of printing money, Nintendo has reported a pretty hefty profit drop. Obviously this news is going to launch Wii naysayers into a tirade of "LOL! BABYFADGIMMICK IS OVER!", but while the number sadness looks fairly significant (and at a 33.7% income drop, it sort of is), it's maybe not the financial tombstone the Ninty doom -mongers might like to think it is.

That said though, it does raise some interesting questions regarding Nintendo's white waggle box.

The biggest losses came from falling DS sales, which came in at 6.69 million for the six months leading up to September 2010, just over 40% down on the 11.7 million from the same period last year. Wii sales were down by nearly a million, clocking 4.97 million in contrast to last year's 5.75.

In the case of the DS, this is all far less disasterous that it seems. After all, a console's sales are bound to drop once everyone in the world has seven each. And with the 3DS about to start printing money all over again, shortly before firing the receipt right out into your face via the wondrous third dimension, it's no big surprise that people are holding off buying its soon-to-be predecessor.

The Wii situation is a little more interesting though. Sales will probably pick up again in the run up to Christmas, but if day-to-day numbers are down, perhaps it's time for Nintendo to start thinking seriously about the follow-up that Reggie so steadfastly refuses to talk about. The 360 and PS3 continue to grow on a slow-burn basis because of their upgradability in terms of hardware and services, while the Wii has evolved relatively little, whilst alo side-stepping the price drops the other two have taken. The Wii's insanely rapid sales have been a flash fire as opposed to the HD machines' smouldering cigar, and as is the case with any product enjoying rapid market saturation, they're bound to burn out eventually.

How much life the Wii still has left in it remains to be seen. It's still doing well, after all. But with its once-unique capabilities looking increasingly less special in light of PlayStation Move and the impending Kinect, now might well be the time for Nintendo make the leap-frog to the next big idea. What do you reckon?

Sources: Here and here 

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Nintendo

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15 comments

  • GameManiac - October 29, 2010 10:29 p.m.

    This doesn't matter to Nintendo once the 3DS comes out. The fact that they're showing people what it's capable of and NOT keeping it under wraps is saying that they have a ton of confidence in their new handheld. Even though I can't see the 3D for myself, I know for a fact that it's impressive by opinions alone.
  • Sinosaur - October 29, 2010 9:01 a.m.

    If I was still raking it in like Nintendo when profits were down... I'd still be plenty happy. Oh no, I can buy a few less solid gold toilets than I was expecting, guess I'll have to settle for solid gold seats instead.
  • n00b - October 28, 2010 9:07 p.m.

    please nintendo. whatever you make, just make it powerful enough so that third parties can put their games on in and in HD so i can look pretty on my tv. I just got muramasa and its great except that its so blurry on my eyes after being spoiled by HD. Oh and a working online would be nice too
  • GwaR - October 28, 2010 5:16 p.m.

    As Tylerwildesbloodalcohollevels and garnsr pointed out, these are PROFIT losses -not actual losses. This means Nintendo is making LESS of a shit-ton of money, not that they aren't still making a absolute crap load of money. The Wii is still kicking the PS3's ass in sales every month. It has lost to the 360 a few times, but even when it does does lose to the 360, it tends to lose by less than 50,000 units. So even if the 360 was beating it in sales by 100,000 units a month, it would take A LONG ASS TIME for the 360 to narrow that 30 million+ unit gap between it and the Wii. So yeah... proclaiming the Wii's death is, as always, very premature. Let's not even mention that despite the DS's sales drop it still sells more than all the other consoles combined EVERY month. As Nintendo themselves said, their only real competitor that they have to worry about these days is Apple.
  • TylerWildesBloodAlcoholLevelIsTooDAMNHigh - October 28, 2010 5 p.m.

    Well when your banking huge your going to come down, but it's not like they're starving. It's like saying Oprah made less money in 2009 than she did in 2010, she still banking.
  • garnsr - October 28, 2010 4:51 p.m.

    They're down from 150 bajillion to only 100 bajillion. Nintendo doesn't give me the feeling that they're really planning anything, they just seem to bumble along, and the Wii and DS happened to hit.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - October 28, 2010 4:38 p.m.

    What goes up must come down.
  • FoxdenRacing - October 28, 2010 4:25 p.m.

    I'm with bluscorp: All we're seeing is market saturation. Almost everyone that wants a Wii already has one. Almost everyone that wants a DS already has one.
  • CH3BURASHKA - October 28, 2010 4 p.m.

    So basically, buy Nintendo stock the week before the 3DS comes out?
  • Felixthecat - October 28, 2010 3:27 p.m.

    Seeing as Satoru Iwata is the equivalent of Scrooge McDuck, I'm pretty sure that Nintendo don't really care. Once the 3DS comes out, Nintendo will be raking in the moolah by the elephant load.
  • db1331 - October 28, 2010 1:36 p.m.

    I doubt N is sweating this too much. I mean apart from Kirby, have they even put anything out since Galaxy 2? 3DS will be a goldmine, and Skyward Sword will sell some systems too.
  • SONSET - October 28, 2010 1:31 p.m.

    Nintendo stuck with the 5-6 year generation plan that companies use to do until this gen. PS3 and 360 probably have another 5 years left in each of them. I don't want new systems any time soon except a new Nintendo. The Wii came out in 2006, so if history tells us anything, the next system should be out 2011. Nintendo made a killing off of Wii, As a company they are now worth more than sony and there only business is video games which makes them worth more than microsoft's game division. They need to spends some money and make a good system, The wii was the first nintendo system that sucked to me. Nintendo should purchase a couple of third parties to ensure a constant flow of good games are being released. This 2 or 3 good games a year thing has to end. They been getting away with it since N64. Nintendo franchises only can carry them for so long. I love there games but i didnt buy the last metroid or mario galaxy...and im not too excited about zelda skyward sword. I hope nintendo makes a good system this time..its a shame there biggest successful system since the nes is there worst system to me. Wii was a waste of money. What nintendo is doing with 3ds needs to be the same model for the next home console. Great games for everyone, casual and hardcore. I've never cared much for handhelds but the 3DS is so bad ass, Im buying it day one. Nintendo needs to hit a home run for its core fans next go around because if it looks like a wii 2 count me out, and i've always bought nintendo systems. To think i waited in the cold at 5am to preorder a Wii and again to pick it up. The joke was on me. Not again Nintendo.
  • tomthespesh - October 28, 2010 1:20 p.m.

    Yeah everyone has a DS now (I do me mum does as does my nan, grandad, aunties, cousins, neices and most of my mates) so I guess that would be cause for people to stop buying them along with 3DS coming.
  • Kitsuta - October 28, 2010 12:51 p.m.

    I think the 3DS IS their leap-frog - for the time being. Although we normally think of home consoles and portable consoles as being separate, the 3DS may cost as much of a home console. There is a limit to how much money people can spend at one time, so I wouldn't expect a Wii2 to even be announced before the next (inevitable) 3DS hardware refresh. No reason to compete with oneself, after all. As notoriously tight-lipped as Nintendo is, I would be surprised if Wii2 isn't already half-finished.
  • bluscorp - October 28, 2010 12:24 p.m.

    Well they where bound to go down sooner or later, there's only so many people in the world that want a DS/Wii, and there not going to buy the same console over and over again are they. I don't think Nintendo are worrying, especially with 3DS just around the corner.

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