TOKYO:

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Nin­tendo Co. halved its an­nual profit out­look on weak sales of 3DS hand­held play­ers and the im­pact of a stronger yen, high­light­ing the im­por­tance of mak­ing the com­pany's smart­phone de­but next month a suc­cess. Net in­come will be 17 bil­lion yen ($151 mil­lion) in the year end­ing March, the Ky­oto-based com­pany said in a state­ment on Fri­day. That's 51 per­cent below its pre­vi­ous tar­get and com­pares with the 35.2 bil­lion yen av­er­age of an­a­lyst es­ti­mates com­piled by Bloomberg. Nin­tendo cut its 3DS sales out­look 13 per­cent and kept the fore­cast for Wii U con­sole sales un­changed. Nin­tendo plans to re­lease its Mi­it­omo game for mo­bile devices next month, set­ting the stage for its big­gest shakeup since the 1970s, as it tries to cap­ture play­ers who have shifted to mo­bile gam­ing. Nin­tendo's tra­di­tional busi­ness of games on its own hard­ware, an­chored by leg­endary hits like Su­per Mario Brothers and Don­key Kong, has strug­gled with slid­ing sales. The stock has fallen 33 per­cent in the past six months.

"Lack of hit ti­tles dragged down 3DS sales dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son and looks like the slump ex­tended to Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary," said To­moaki Kawasaki, an an­a­lyst at Iwai Cosmo Se­cu­ri­ties Co. "Nin­tendo is at the end of the hard­ware cy­cle, so nei­ther 3DS nor Wi U are likely to see much growth." Op­er­at­ing in­come will be 33 bil­lion yen this fis­cal year, down from an ear­lier pro­jec­tion of 50 bil­lion yen. The cur­rency fluc­tu­a­tion re­duced profit by 20 bil­lion yen, Nin­tendo said. The com­pany cuts its pro­jec­tion for sales 12 per­cent to 500 bil­lion yen, the low­est rev­enue level in at least 15 years. "Sales of the 3DS fell short of our tar­gets from Jan­uary," Nin­tendo spokesman Ya­suhiro Mi­na­gawa said. "Af­ter adding the im­pact of stronger yen, we had no choice but to re­vise."

The fore­cast cut shows how much is rid­ing on Nin­tendo's foray into mo­bile. The shares rose 33 per­cent last year, fu­eled by the March an­nounce­ment that the com­pany planned to de­velop ti­tles for mo­bile devices made by other com­pa­nies. Much of the gains were lost, how­ever, af­ter Nin­tendo de­layed the de­but in Oc­to­ber. Ear­lier this month Nin­tendo started reg­is­tra­tion for Mi­it­omo, a free-to-play mes­sag­ing-based ap­pli­ca­tion. Pres­i­dent Tat­sumi Kimishima has said the next smart­phone game will fea­ture one of Nin­tendo's beloved char­ac­ters, with­out giv­ing fur­ther de­tails. Kimishima has also said the com­pany's work on a suc­ces­sor to the Wii U, code-named NX, re­mains on track.

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