Nintendo posts first annual financial loss, iPhone continues leading portable gaming
Nintendo recently posted their full-year financial results, which included their first operating loss amounting to a deficit of $458 million. Over the whole year, Nintendo sold 13.5 million 3DS portable systems worldwide; to put that in perspective, Apple sold about 9 million iPhones in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2012 alone. Nintendo is optimistically forecasting $247 million in net income by the end of 2012.
After hearing this news, all eyes drifted to the iPhone for hoarding the attention (and disposable income) of casual gamers who are prone to play on the Nintendo Wii system. Meanwhile more hardened players have been long-entrenched with PC, Xbox, and PS3 consoles. On more than one occasion, Nintendo has called out the smartphone world and Apple for devaluing games, and who can blame them with so many awesome free games available? Steve Jobs shot back that the iPod touch was more popular than the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP combined. One of Nintendo's top developers admitted that Angry Birds was actually one of his favorite games in the last year, but Nintendo itself isn't showing any signs of easing its stubbornness.
It's too bad that such a venerable gaming company isn't able to progress with the times. Microsoft and Sony are having a reasonable amount of success by supporting mobile initiatives alongside their gaming consoles; I can't imagine what's stopping Nintendo from jumping into the smartphone world head first, especially in light of a rough 2011. They're already digitally distributing classic gaming titles through the Wii's Virtual Console at a healthy margin - $5 for a 27-year-old game isn't bad mileage at all, and they could milk that even further on the App Store. Investors have pressured Nintendo to get its titles on mobile, and it's really just sensible; Penny Arcade really put it best.
As is, Nintendo's going to push a new console called the Wii U this year, which will highlight a new 6-inch tablet-style controller. Good luck with that, Nintendo - you'll need it.
Now where's out Super Mario for iOS?