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Nintendo Admits Virtually No One Bought A Wii U Last Year

17/01/2014 10:56 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 21:01 GMT
Invision for Nintendo of America and Southwest Airlines
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR NINTENDO OF AMERICA AND SOUTHWEST AIRLINES - Video game icon Mario greets Wilson N. from Ocoee, FL, one of the lucky passengers on Southwest Airlines flight 1883 from New Orleans to Dallas Love Field who received free Wii U systems on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 in Dallas. As the official video game partner of Southwest Airlines, Nintendo is partnering with Southwest Airlines to bring Wii U, Nintendo's newest home console, and family-friendly games to terminals across the country this holiday season. (Photo by Matt Strasen/Invision for Nintendo of America and Southwest Airlines/AP Images)

Nintendo's Wii U has been responsible for some of the very best video games of recent months on any system.

Unfortunately, it still isn't selling very many.

The confusingly named all-new follow-up to the hugely popular Wii has sold less units in more than a year than the Xbox One and PS4 did in their first month on sale, Nintendo has admitted.

The company initially expected to sell 9 million Wii U machines in the financial year to April. Now? Just 2.8 million.

It also cut forecasts for its actually-very-successful 3DS handheld, with estimates down from 18 million to 13.5 million.

Overall Nintendo said it expects to make a $240m loss in this financial year. While the company as a whole is pretty healthy - it has at least $6 billion in the bank - it will have to work hard to regain a foothold in the living room console market, if that remains a long-term goal.

Titles to be launched in 2014 include Mario Kart 8 and a Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. These could bring another boost to the Wii U's fortunes, but it seems unlikely they will be the big breakthrough the system needs.

"It is now expected that our sales will fail to meet our previous forecast by a large margin," said Nintendo president Satoru Iwata.

On the Wii U, Iwata said:

"Sales in the U.S. and European markets in which we entered the year-end sales season with a hardware markdown were significantly lower than our original forecasts, with both hardware and software sales experiencing a huge gap from their targets.

In addition, we did not assume at the beginning of the fiscal year that we would perform a markdown for the Wii U hardware in the U.S. and European markets. This was also one of the reasons for lower sales and profit estimates."

Iwata has now presided over an 80% decline in the company's value since 2007.