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Drop in Nintendo Wii sales hits bottom line

The Japanese company says profit fell 60% to $442.8 million in its latest quarter as sales of its game console declined 57%.

July 31, 2009|David Colker

Remember when the Nintendo Wii game console was so popular that it was hard to find in stores?

Now Nintendo Co. is having trouble finding customers, and profit at the Japanese company is slipping more than a wee bit.

Nintendo, based in Kyoto, reported Thursday that profit for the three months ended June 30 fell 60% to $442.8 million, down from $1.1 billion in the same quarter last year.

Much of the plunge in profit was caused by a 57% drop in sales of Wii consoles -- Nintendo sold 2.23 million of them in its latest quarter, down from 5.17 million last year.

The slip was especially dramatic because during the 2008 holiday shopping season, new game titles such as Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit were flying off the shelves. But they're old hat now in an industry that needs constant renewal.

Industry analyst Satoru Kikuchi told the Associated Press that casual gamers were "getting bored."

"Nintendo needs to keep their attention with new software, but that hasn't happened," he said.

Nintendo wasn't the only Japanese game company to hit a bad patch.

Sony Corp.'s business unit that makes the PlayStation game machines reported sales down 37% in the quarter.

Third-party game developers have urged Tokyo-based Sony to reduce the $400 price of its PlayStation 3 to spur sales and thus create a larger market for them.

But Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer has resisted, saying during a recent interview, "I lose money on every PlayStation I make."

U.S. companies have not been immune from the downturn. Microsoft Corp. reported last week that quarterly sales of its Xbox 360 game consoles were the softest in two years.

--

david.colker@latimes.com

Times wire services were used in compiling this report.

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