Nintendo 'holds back' finished games until after Christmas in wake of disastrous 3DS launch

  • 'Not all players' will find 3D 'wonderful', admits CEO
  • Launch line-up was a 'mistake'
  • Big titles being held back to ensure flagships such as Mario actually sell

 

Nintendo's 3DS wowed reviewers with its hi-tech no-glasses 3D, but the high price of the console, and the lack of games, ensured that the gadget didn't sell. Nintendo slashed the price only months after launch

Nintendo's 3DS wowed reviewers with its hi-tech no-glasses 3D, but the high price of the console, and the lack of games, ensured that the gadget didn't sell. Nintendo slashed the price only months after launch

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata admitted that the company was 'holding back' some finished games for its 3DS console, which has been blighted by poor sales since launch.

Putting off game launches until after Christmas - typically the big sales period for video games -is a highly unconventional move for a games company.

The 3DS has been an ongoing disaster for the Japanese game giant. Early sales were so poor that Iwata cut his own salary to apologise for the poor launch.

Nintendo is now heading for its first-ever annual loss - and analysts think even its revised, meagre sales predictions for 3DS could be hard to achieve.

Iwata said, 'Video games need to stay fresh, so it is not practical for us to put them on hold for too long, but we think that some of them may be held for a certain amount of time.'

'We are taking on this sort of challenge for the Nintendo 3DS. For example, when we look at the software lineup for the year-end sales season, it is so dense that, if we added any more software, the total sales would not increase.

'Accordingly, we have intentionally delayed the launch of some software titles to early next year.'

Sales of Mario's new glasses-free 3D console have been hit hard by the absence of game icon Mario. The first Mario game is due this Christmas - but other titles will have to make room

Sales of Mario's new glasses-free 3D console have been hit hard by the absence of game icon Mario. The first Mario game is due this Christmas - but other titles will have to make room

Iwata also admitted that the software for the launch period was an error - and that some players find the console's glasses-free 3D indigestible.

'Of course, not 100 players out of 100 will say that 3D is wonderful. But we have confidence in Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 3D and we believe that majority of people will realize how 3D viewing can be used in video games.

'If anyone asks, 'Shouldn’t these titles have been at the hardware launch?,' we cannot disagree at all.'

Nintendo expects an annual net loss of 20 billion yen (£165million), its first such loss in history and also slashed its full-year operating profit forecast to just 1 billion yen, down from 35 billion yen.

In the latest quarter, it tumbled to a 19.6 billion yen operating loss, a slightly bigger loss than the market had expected and much worse than the company had forecast.

That compares with a 30.9 billion yen profit in the same period last year.

Nintendo chopped its forecast for sales of 3DS software by 30 per cent to 50 million units for the year to March, but left its 3DS hardware forecast at 16 million units for the year, a target fund managers said might be hard to achieve.


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