Is the tide changing for Nintendo’s Wii U?

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Beyond positive stories like the latest Pokémon selling like proverbial hotcakes, and Smash Bros being a critical and commercial darling, there’s not much in the way of good news for Nintendo right now. The Wii U still isn’t selling nearly as well as anyone would like,  and if reports are to be believed, Black Friday hasn’t changed that much. Still, some are bullish about Nintendo’s future, and one of them is rather surprising: Michal Pachter.

The Wedbush Securities video game analysts usually has nothing but doom and gloom predicted for the Big N, but he’s now got some actual kind words.

“There hasn’t been much good news to report regarding Nintendo’s financial situation since the company’s historic annual loss way back in the 2011 to 2012 period,” Pachter said. “That may be changing. Strong sales of new Wii U and 3DS software helped raise the company to a surprising quarterly profit of 24.2 billion yen (about $224 million) in net income for the three months ending September 2014. That’s quite a turnaround after a loss of over eight billion yen (about $74.2 million) in the same period last year.”

He expects strong sales of Smash Bros and the newly released Skylander-like Amiibo to help drive Nintendo’s fortunes – though it’s unlikely to help sell more consoles. It could, however, add $200 to $300 million to the company’s annual income. “Amiibo is a positive for Wii U hardware, but they are more of a collectible initially than a console-driver,” Pachter said. “As they get better incorporated into games, the Wii U will have greater appeal and will skew younger. Amiibo will have very limited impact on Skylanders and Infinity. Obviously, Amiibo gives people another choice, but it is arriving late to the party.”

Scott Moffitt, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Nintendo believes this will be the strongest holiday for the company is years.

“The name of the game for Nintendo is games,” Moffitt said. “When you have a great launch like Mario Kart 8, a single launch can change your momentum fairly quickly. Our Wii U hardware business is up 47 percent this year versus last year and our Wii U software is up 84 percent. Those are testaments to a strong launch like Mario Kart 8 that has universal appeal. And Super Smash Bros. Wii U will be the next catalyst for hardware sales.”

After two lacklustre years on the market, is the tide finally changing for Nintendo’s newest home console?

Last Updated: December 1, 2014

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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