Plummeting sales have resulted in a $531 million annual loss for Nintendo.
The 2011 fiscal year was not a good one for Nintendo. The company reported sales of ¥647 billion [$7.9 billion] in its year-end financial report, a 36.2 percent drop over the previous year's mark of ¥1.01 trillion [$12.5 billion], which was itself a 29.3 percent slide from FY2009. Nintendo did manage to avoid a full-year loss in 2010, however, scraping by with ¥77.1 billion [$952 million] in net income, but could not dodge the bullet this time around. The company ended the year with a ¥43.2 billion [$533 million] loss, the first full-year loss in the company's history.
The Nintendo 3DS was a relatively bright light in the darkness, ringing up sales of 13.5 million units worldwide, including more than 5 million in Japan alone, which the company said "is the fastest record of all dedicated game platforms." Unfortunately, while Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 recorded strong sales, the company suffered from a slower-than-expected start in holiday season sales, which kept the company from achieving the expected bounce-back from the sales slump in the early part of the year. The strong yen continued to hurt Nintendo as well, costing the company ¥27.7 billion [$342 million] in exchange losses.
Nintendo remains optimistic, however, saying that it expects to begin turning a per-unit profit on the 3DS, which it is currently selling below cost, by the middle of the 2012 fiscal year. It also expects new releases in the Mario, Brain Age and Animal Crossing franchises to perform well, and of course hopes are high for the upcoming Wii U console. The company predicts net sales of ¥820 billion [$10.1 billion] and a net income of ¥20 billion [$247 million] for FY2012. That's a far cry from the days when Nintendo ruled the world with a iron fist, but it's a start.