Resort, Fit Plus, NSMB will sell 10m each

Iwata puts his mouth where his money is.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has said he expects Nintendo's three big 2009 releases - Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit Plus and New Super Mario Bros. Wii - to sell 10 million copies each within this fiscal year.

Iwata made the bullish statement in the company's first quarter investor briefing. "I believe each of these three software titles have the potential to surpass 10 million copies worldwide in the whole fiscal year," he said.

Their E3 showings gave him confidence, he added. "They were highly evaluated by most of those who actually tried them. Distributors also gave feedback like 'The key player of this holiday season will be Nintendo as expected.'"

Iwata was responding to concerns that Nintendo's release schedule was too heavily weighted towards the end of the year. In its 2008/9 year, Nintendo released Wii Fit and Mario Kart Wii in its spring first quarter and sold over 15 million of each. However, Wii Music and Animal Crossing: City Folk floundered later in the year, and led to a slowdown in hardware sales for the company.

"Wii Music and Animal Crossing: City Folk did not fulfil our expectations and only sold through 2.65 and 3.38 million copies respectively," Iwata lamented. "Should those two titles have become long-term selling software, we would not have faced a shortage of software titles in the former half of this year."

He added: "So we find that the reason of downturn in Wii sales can be attributed to two main factors - we could not launch Wii Sports Resort earlier and could not make the software launched in the last holiday season have longer tails."

But "I am not worried about the launch schedules of Wii Fit Plus and Super Mario Bros. Wii," he concluded.

Having admitted that New Super Mario Bros. Wii's E3 unveiling was underwhelming, Iwata's faith in the game is surprising - but not unwarranted. It was our game of the show - and the DS New Super Mario Bros. has sold some 18 million copies to date.

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