Nintendo does badly at currency game

The video games industry may be looking on to see if Sony’s Move and Microsoft’s Kinect hurt sales of the Wii, but Nintendo has just lost a bunch of money for a very different reason.

The company has announced a loss of $289 million in the April-June quarter. That’s 25.2 billion yen, down from 42.3 billion yen profit in the same period in 2009. From a financial perspective that can be explained entirely by Nintendo deciding to mark up a 70.5 billion loss to take account of the money it has missed out on thanks to currency fluctuations. The yen has been particularly strong over the past year, meaning sales outside of Japan are worth less money to the company.

Still, even though without that adjustment the profit would have been slightly up on last year, the news from the financial figures is still somewhat gloomy. Most notably, revenue from the DS is in a slump: console sales have almost halved in a year, revenue dropped even more thanks to price cuts, and games sales are down more than 20%. The latter is being blamed on a lack of major new releases.

Things were mitigated by the Wii, which sold 3.04 million in the quarter, compared with 2.2 million in the same period last year, though game sales were down a little.

Nintendo is certainly hoping the release of a 3D edition of the DS boosts both hardware and software sales. Despite selling 3.15 million DS units since April, it’s predicting total sales of 30 million in the current financial year.

The company also confirmed that it will announce the 3DS pricing and release date on September 29. So far its only said the release date will be this fiscal year (ie before the end of March 2011), but both the September announcement schedule and common sense point to a pre-Christmas release.

Pricing remains a mystery: there’s some speculation of $250, while Nintendo’s UK marketing manager hinted that it won’t be ludicrously more expensive compared to existing models. My guess would be a $299 list price, giving a fair bit of room for retailers to play with discounts or game bundles.

(Picture credit: Flickr user supercharger5150)

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