Wii sales begin to slow

TOKYO — Nintendo said on Thursday that it is lowering its profit forecast for the fiscal year to Y230 billion ($2.56 billion), down by 33% compared with its estimate in October.

It has also shaved 16% from its previous projection for operating profit, to Y530 billion ($5.89 billion) for the fiscal year, ending March 31.

Among the main reasons for the revisions are the strengthening of the yen against the dollar and euro, as well as the deepening recession that is slowing sales of the once red-hot Wii console.

Nintendo has accordingly revised its sales estimate for the Wii down 1 million units to 26.5 million for the fiscal year, while upticking its sales forecast for the DS handheld by 1 million unit, to 31.5 million.

The company now expects fiscal year 2008 sales to total Y1.82 trillion ($20.2 billion), an 8.8% year-on gain, but down from its previous projection of Y2 trillion ($22.2 billion).

Nintendo didn’t reveal third quarter profit figures, but said that for the first nine months of the fiscal year, net profit fell 18% year-on to Y212 billion ($2.35 billion). Sales for the period, however, gained 16%, to Y1.5 trillion ($16.67 billion).

Despite this rise, sales for the Wii slipped year-on in Japan, from 29.9 million in the first nine months of fiscal year 2007 to 18.9 million in the same period this year, while the DS also lost ground in its home market, falling from sales of 5.6 million units in 2007 to 3.3 million in 2008 in the same April-to-December frame.

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