Iwata: Think our sales "already peaked"?

Nintendo CEO says Wii "never" lost momentum.

Satoru Iwata has used a bunch of his favourite graphs to prove that Nintendo's Wii and DS are not doing badly in shops, despite posting a six-month profit loss of $25 million (£15 million) recently.

"I hope each and all of these charts will convince you that Wii, as a machine set to welcome its fifth holiday sales season, can never be considered to have lost momentum," Iwata said, splashing them liberally in investor's chops (as reported by Gamasutra).

His slides depicted impressive stuff such as Wii sales outpacing PS2 over a similar time-frame; Wii games having tremendously long sales tails; and phenomenal and unpredictable Christmas demand for Wii - 3.8 million were sold in the US last December ("The fact is, such unexpected things can happen when the seasonality throws its weight around.").

The "sole reason", he said, for Nintendo's financial blip, was the "huge re-evaluation of the assets" into Japanese yen - something all public companies there are forced to do.

"Many of you must have the impression that Nintendo's business, which surged with the sales of Nintendo DS and Wii, has already peaked," Iwata stated. The aim of his exasperatingly detailed presentation was to discredit that across the board.

Highlights included Iwata calling Europe "the market where illegal copies [of DS games] have spread most widely among all the advanced nations in the world". Still, he said it was "too premature" to conclude that bootleg games were the "sole reason" for flagging European DS game sales.

"We assume that several reasons are intertwined," he expanded. "The days when any Nintendo DS software could sell are over, and consumers have become more selective. As a result, the gap in unit sales between hit titles and non-hit titles has expanded and, almost at the same time, illegal copies have spread across Europe.

"Also, after the Nintendogs and Brain Training software titles showed explosive sales there, we have been unable to offer another software title that European consumers really feel like purchasing."

Iwata went on to note that the UK had the "smallest number" of Nintendo games in its chart - particularly on DS. "It looks like UK citizens are currently paying more attention to home consoles," he deduced.

"What is unique about the UK is - similar to the US - Xbox 360 has a strong presence. Multi-platform titles are selling more on Xbox 360. This situation is very different from Germany, France and Spain," Iwata said.

In closing, he agreed that the "situation surrounding us today does not allow us to be optimistic". "Even when we may be able to anticipate the exciting year-end sales, some may still argue that the company does not have a software line-up which can be compared with the strong titles from last year's holiday season."

Nevertheless, Iwata reckons Nintendo's on course to hit a combined 15 million sales of Wii and DS by the end of the financial year (March 2011).

Strange that he'd issue such an exhaustive defence in the face of Kinect and PlayStation Move. Or perhaps I'm reading between the lines.

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About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer  |  Clert

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.


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