With the reveal of its financial results for the year Nintendo has certainly caused some shocks, such as The Legend of Zelda for Wii U being the only playable Nintendo game at E3 (also delayed to 2017 for both Wii U and NX), Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing coming to smart devices and, of course, the Nintendo NX being confirmed for a March 2017 release.
While that's all hot stuff, we should also consider the actual financial results for the 2015 / 2016 year, which have delivered profits as expected from previous projections that Nintendo had revised down following its Q3 results. It's been a year where the Wii U narrowly missed its goals, but the 3DS hit its revised targets while still having its poorest 12 month period since its launch.
To begin with the nuts and bolts of the financial figures — covering 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016 — we have a net income profit of 16,505 million Yen, which amounts to around $148.5 million / £101.8 million / €131.2 million, down 60.6% on the previous year. The core business of making and selling products also brought an operating profit of 32,881 million Yen, which is roughly $295.9 million / £202.9 million / €261.3 million and up 32.7 % on last year; currency exchange problems are cited for impacting the net profit against operational profit. Net sales, for reference, saw a decline of over 8% compared to 2014 / 2015.
The financial report says the following regarding these figures, providing sales updates on key releases:
During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016, for Nintendo 3DS, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon were released globally and both became hits, selling 3.04 million and 1.22 million units respectively. There were also multiple hit titles from third-party publishers. However, due to the lack of major titles like Pokémon Omega Ruby/Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, which energized the entire 3DS business during the prior fiscal year, the worldwide sales of the Nintendo 3DS hardware and software were 6.79 million and 48.52 million units respectively.
With respect to Wii U, Splatoon sold 4.27 million units and Super Mario Maker sold 3.52 million units, both becoming blockbusters and contributing to energizing the Wii U platform. In addition, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, which was released globally in March, got off to a good start. The global sales of the Wii U hardware and software reached 3.26 million and 27.36 million units respectively.
In addition to the above, amiibo sales continued to maintain momentum and showed strong performance globally. The figure-type and the card-type sold approximately 24.70 million units and approximately 28.90 million units respectively. Furthermore, sales of additional download content for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U increased and total download sales reached 43.9 billion yen. Moreover, our first smart device app, Miitomo, was released globally in March and started off well.
In terms of the coming year — 1st April 2016 to 31st March 2017 — Nintendo estimates continued profit but a decline in overall sales; the NX platform will only have a month or less on the market, for example, in the current financial year. A 0.9% decrease is expected in net sales, with an operating profit of 45,000 million Yen, around $404.9 million / £277.8 million / €357.8 million, and a net income profit of 35,000 million Yen, roughly $314.9 million / £216.1 million / €278.2 million. Pokemon Sun and Moon and Metroid Prime: Federation Force have been highlighted as key 3DS titles, while amiibo, NX and upcoming mobile titles will also be notable contributors.
Moving on to hardware and software sales, revised sales targets were hit for the 3DS, while the Wii U missed its mark. Also of note are the hardware sales projections for the coming year, which are down for both the 3DS and below one million for Wii U, which is a clear acknowledgement that the system - at a mainstream level - is rapidly declining. Figures are below.
Hardware Sales (financial year) — 3.26 million units
Hardware Sales (life to date) — 12.8 million units
Hardware Sales Projection (2016 to 2017) — 800,000 units
Software Sales (financial year) — 27.36 million units
Software Sales Projection (2016 to 2017) — 15 million units
Hardware Sales (financial year) — 6.79 million units
Hardware Sales (life to date) — 58.85 million units
Hardware Sales Projection (2016 to 2017) — 5 million units
Software Sales (financial year) — 48.52 million units
Software Sales Projection (2016 to 2017) — 55 million units
Hardware Sales (financial year) — 110,000 units
Hardware Sales (life to date) — 101.63 million units
Hardware Sales Projection (2016 to 2017) — None given
Software Sales (financial year) — 7.33 million units
Software Sales Projection (2016 to 2017) — None given
The 3DS market is projected to dip in hardware again for the coming year, but the increase in expected software sales shows the confidence Nintendo has in the Pokemon effect. As for Wii U, its hardware and software expectations are extremely worrying, and point to a system in a rapid decline in the market; at this momentum it's likely to end its life as Nintendo's worst-selling home console.
We'll provide more detailed coverage throughout the day, but let us know what you think of these figures in the comments below. Are you concerned about the Wii U numbers, in particular, or have they been inevitable?