Nintendo to launch new Wii in 2012
Osaka - Japan's Nintendo Company Ltd said on Monday it will launch an upgraded model of its popular Wii game console in 2012, in a bid to reverse a fall in profits as sales of the aging first version ebb.
Japan's leading game console will unveil a prototype of the new Wii in Los Angeles on June 7 at the E3 game show, it said in a statement.
Nintendo posted its second straight fall in annual profit on Monday, as sales of Wii games console slowed and the March 11 earthquake weighed on Japanese consumer spending.
To fend of increased competition from other game console makers such as Sony Corporation and makers of smartphones including Apple Incorporated Nintendo needs new hit machines to win back gamers.
As part of that fight back, Nintendo launched a glasses-free 3D-capable handheld games device, the 3DS, in late February in Japan and a month later in the United States and Europe.
In the business year just ended, Wii console sales fell to 15.1 million units from 20.1 million a year earlier. It expects sales to fall by a further 2 million units this business year.
Sales of its non-3D handheld DS shrank by almost 10 million units to 17.5 million, and the company expects that to slide to 11 million this term.
Operating profit fell 52% to 171.1 billion yen ($2.09bn) in the year ended in March from 356.8 billion yen the previous year, below a Thomson Reuters SmartEstimate of 200.8 billion yen. SmartEstimates put more weight on recent forecasts by highly rated analysts.
The maker of the DS handheld games device expects operating profit of 175 billion yen for the year to March 2012, compared with a consensus of 215.8 billion yen, based on eight analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S after the March 11 disaster.
Nintendo shares closed up 0.9% ahead of the earnings report, while the broader market fell 0.1%.