Nintendo eyes record profit

2008-10-31 14:31

Tokyo - Japanese gamemaker Nintendo said on Friday it was on course for record profits in the current fiscal year, bucking the deepening global financial crisis on surging demand for its blockbuster Wii home console.

Nintendo eyes a record net profit of ¥345bn (R35.7bn) in the year ending March 2009. The latest forecast was lowered 16% due to a stronger yen, but the new projection is still up 34% from the previous fiscal year.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said worldwide sales of the Wii and the DS portable machine remained brisk in the face of a global downturn, and US and European retailers complained they could hardly keep up with demand.

'We can meet the sales target'

"As far as the overseas market is concerned, I have not seen any signs of slowing demand for the Wii and the DS due to the financial crisis," Iwata told a news conference a day after the company released earnings results. "We can surely meet the sales target of the Wii."

Nintendo Co expects to sell 27.5 million units of the Wii worldwide in the fiscal year, far outpacing its rival Sony Corp.'s sales target of 10 million units of the PlayStation 3 console during the same period.

Iwata said the soaring sales of the Wii were due to popular game software, including the hugely successful "Wii Fit" exercise game.

"In the United States alone, we are selling 100 000 copies of the Wii Fit game every week," he said.

Blockbuster exercise game

On Thursday, the company said its fiscal half-year profit through September rose 9.4% to ¥144.8bn (R14.9bn) and sales rose 20% to ¥836.9bn (R86.5bn).

Kyoto-based Nintendo sold 8.76 million copies of the Wii Fit game worldwide in the six months to September, and Iwata said he expected to sell 10 million copies of the blockbuster exercise game around the world by the end of this year.

"We keep hearing from European and American retailers saying, 'Don't you have more the Wii, the Wii Fit and the DS.' It's a welcoming headache for us," the president said.

Nintendo's overseas sales, mainly in Europe and the United States, account for 88.5% of the company's total revenue, with the remaining 11.5 percent from Japan.

Iwata said the next challenge for Nintendo is to expand its market in Asia.

Asian market

"We would like to focus on expanding our Asian market next year," he said without elaborating further.

On Saturday, the company is to start domestic sales of the Nintendo DSi, a variation of the DS that comes with a digital camera that will allow players to mix images, scribble on photos and create new faces.

Iwata said the DSi will be available overseas in early next year.

Nintendo sold 13.73 million DS hand gaming systems in the first half, up 3 percent even though the device has been on the market for four years.

With the launch of the DSi, Iwata said Nintendo's ambition is to sell the DS machine for everyone.

"We are aiming to sell the DS for every individual, not for every household," he said.

- AP

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