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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?