Forecasts slashed from 9 to 2.8 million sales
Nintendo have decimated their Wii U sales projections by nearly two-thirds following a torrid few months, predicting an enormous loss at the end of the financial year. Satoru Iwata is on damage control once again - but will investors "please understand" this time?
Without further ado, let's talk numbers. According to the latest Ninty forecasts, they now expect the Wii U to sell 2.8 million units over the current financial year: a dramatic and tiny fraction of their original 9 million estimates. Even the 3DS has been underperforming despite being the best-selling console of 2013, leading them to cut their projections from 18 to 13.5 million sales.
The net result is an expected annual loss of £146 million... instead of a profit of £322 million.
So how could things go so badly for Nintendo? We all know the answer to that: despite a handful of great games scattered throughout 2013, Nintendo failed to market or advertise the Wii U effectively, leaving punters blissfully unaware at best and contemptuous at worst at a time when they should have been flogging consoles by the boatload. Just when the Wii U finally started to pick up steam, the PS4 and Xbox One seized the limelight, all while Nintendo shockingly failed to secure anything resembling third-party support.
On the 3DS front... I don't know. Everyone should own one. Seriously.
Nintendo president Satoru "Please Understand" Iwata, however, suggests that the recent price cut was a key factor in their revised projections. "In particular, sales in the US and European markets in which we entered the year-end sales season with a hardware markdown were significantly lower than our original forecasts, with both hardware and software sales experiencing a huge gap from their targets," he wrote in the report.
"In addition, we did not assume at the beginning of the fiscal year that we would perform a markdown for the Wii U hardware in the US and European markets. This was also one of the reasons for lower sales and profit estimates."
The fact that he's still in a job continues to amaze and confuse us.
We expected the Wii U to receive a modest but appreciable upswing over Christmas, but Sony managed to accomplish the impossible by actually securing some semblance of a supply chain over the last few months, stopping Nintendo's console from fully capitalising on any next-gen stock shortages. However, December did herald their most successful month of Wii U sales to date in the US.
Is it crushing time? I feel like it ought to be; that magical paragraph where I pour scorn onto Nintendo's decision making and performance. But I'm not going to. In our New Year's Podcast, I promised to be more upbeat about the Wii U - seeing as I'm a day-one adopter - concentrating on the all-important games and the way playing them makes us feel, not grim and cynical numbers on a balancesheet.
I'll... erm... get right on that once Nintendo delivers Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros and Bayonetta 2 - then enjoys their own crushing time with X.
For now, tell us: did you buy a Wii U in the last year or over Christmas? If not, why not, and what would make you take the plunge?