Even Mario Kart can’t save Nintendo from losing money


It’s not news anymore that Nintendo isn’t doing well. The Wii U hasn’t sold as expected, and while a list of great games to play on the console there are few titles on that list which justify the cost of a console to play them on. While the company admits to an operating loss of 9.4 billion yen, Nintendo reminds everyone that sales in several markets have continued to rise and the releases scheduled for the next couple of months will be big for everyone. The most recent flash of excitement in the Nintendo camp came from the release of Mario Kart 8. While it is true that more than 2.8 million copies of the game have been sold so far, there’s very little evidence to suggest the game was enough to encourage a great deal of console sales.

It’s getting more and more difficult to make excuses for Nintendo , who for all intents and purposes had the best exclusive game of the quarter in Mario Kart 8, and still managed to post a sizable loss for that period. Mario Kart 8 performed admirably, showered with love by fans and critics, selling 2.82 million copies worldwide. That accounts for 60% of the Wii U’s software sold during the quarter, and now stands at a 42% attach rate with the console. And yet, Nintendo still posted a $97M loss for the first quarter of this new fiscal year. Wii U sales were up 160,000 over the same quarter last year to 510,000, but the relatively low install base of the console limited Mario Kart 8′s sales pretty heavily. 3DS sales were down about 600,000 over last year, dropping from 1.4M to 810,000. Despite all this, Nintendo believes they will still hit targets like 3.6M Wii Us sold this fiscal year, and $196 million in positive net income. Still, with these numbers, it seems like they’re off to a very slow start. Mario Kart 8 is arguably the biggest game of the coming fiscal year for them, perhaps even more so than Smash Bros. will be, and if 510,000 Wii Us were sold in this quarter, they would have to have a hell of a holiday season to hit that target. But the fact is, few major Nintendo games have firm release dates yet for the coming fiscal year, including Bayonetta and Super Smash Bros. in 2014, listed only as “October” and “Holiday” respectively, even this close to fall. Of Nintendo’s first party games, only Hyrule Warriors has a hard release date of September 26th.

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