Nintendo boosts profit forecast, cuts Wii U sales target

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese videogame giant Nintendo said today it returned to the black in the nine months to December, and lifted its full-year profit forecast as the company looks to shrug off a loss a year ago.

But the Kyoto-based firm also warned over its much-hyped Wii U, saying it was chopping its sales expectations for the new games console in the fiscal year to March and also slashing its overall revenue projections.

The company has been banking on the Wii U to boost its fading fortunes after the original Wii consoles, launched in 2006, proved to be a runaway success as they lured legions of casual gamers into the videogame world with the introduction of motion-sensing controls.

Nintendo said it swung to a net profit of 14.54 billion yen (S$197 million), from a net loss of 48.35 billion a year earlier, and upped its profit target for the year to March to 14 billion yen, from a previous target of six billion yen.

But Nintendo - which invented Donkey Kong and Super Mario, one of the best-selling video games of all time - said its profit upgrade was largely due to a weaker yen, as it slashed its revenue forecast for the fiscal year by 17 per cent to 670 billion yen and warned it would post an operating loss.

Nintendo said the Wii U, which sold out in the United States during its first week of sales in November, was now expected to sell four million units through March, from a previous estimate of 5.5 million.

The original Wii device has sold more than 99 million units around the world.

The videogame giant also cut its software sales hopes for the Wii U, and chopped its target on the struggling 3DS, the world's first video game console with a 3D screen that works without special glasses.