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Nintendo posts first annual loss in at least three decades

Mario

Nintendo on Thursday posted losses of more than $500 million for its fiscal year -- its first annual loss since the Japanese gaming company began publicly reporting its financial results in 1981.

The maker of Mario and Zelda games in January telegraphed that it would post steep declines in sales and a substantial loss for the year ended March 31. Thursday's results were roughly in line with its grim forecasts, as both sales and losses came in slightly lower than expected.

The Kyoto company, which manufactures the Wii and DS game consoles, recorded a $534.6-million loss on $8 billion in revenue, compared with a $960.5-million profit on $12.6 billion in sales the year before. On Jan. 26, Nintendo warned investors that it would likely post a $804.3-million loss on $8.2 billion in sales.

While sales came in lower than expected, losses narrowed as a result of a weaker Japanese yen. 

Still, the rapid rise of inexpensive smartphone applications for mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad and Android phones have weakened Nintendo's once-dominant grip on the portable games market. In addition, sales of its Wii console have slipped precipitously as players gravitate to the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, both of which have higher graphical processing power and a more robust online entertainment offering than the Wii.

The 123-year-old company, which started in 1889 selling playing cards, is pinning its hopes on its upcoming Wii U, its next-generation console that is scheduled for launch later this year in time for Christmas.

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-- Alex Pham

Photo: Super Mario Galaxy 2. Credit: Smithsonian American Art Museum

 
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