updated 09:30 am EDT, Thu May 6, 2010
Nintendo thinks iPad can coexist with its lineup
Nintendo on Thursday reported a rare downturn in the number of consoles it sold over its just-ended fiscal year. The company sold 13 percent fewer DS handhelds, falling to 27.1 million, and saw the Wii drop even faster by 20.8 percent to 20.5 million consoles. Its profit also dropped for the first time since 2004, sinking 36 percent to just over $3.8 billion.
The company didn't explain the drop but was optimistic it could recover at least its handheld sales on the back of the 3DS, which should get its formal unveiling at E3 next month. It hopes for DS sales to jump back to 30 million units over the course of its current fiscal year. Wii sales in the US may be given an at least temporary boost by the black Wii bundle coming out this Sunday.
Some of the drop over the past year is known to have come from the effect of the iPod touch and, to a lesser extent, the iPhone. Games for Apple's platform have been taking revenue share from Nintendo as gamers opt for the newer platform, which is technically more advanced but also offers considerably less expensive games even with the same prices.
More immediate rivals Microsoft and Sony had significantly improved sales this year but rarely did so at Nintendo's expense.
The company doesn't, however, expect the iPad to have a detrimental effect to its sales. The company's US president Reggie Fils-Aime told CNBC in an interview this week (below) that the company as of April has had the best four-month opening to a calendar year for the DS since it was launched in late 2004. He didn't see the $499 Apple tablet and the $170 DSi having significant overlap and believed that both companies could "succeed at the same time."