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Nintendo painted red in first-half fiscal year results


We'll be the first to admit it's nigh impossible to grasp the nuances of just what in the world is going on with the global economy, but things are clearly up you-know-whose creek without a paddle when Nintendo reports a ... loss?! Sure, earnings were seriously down for Nintendo during the same six-month period last year (April–September), but even then, as other companies suffered tremendous hits, Nintendo enjoyed ¥69.5 billion in profit (which was roughly $766 million by the rate of exchange a year ago).

The problem is that the yen has appreciated wildly against the dollar since that time -- what was $766 million a year ago, would be more like $850 million today. In and of itself, that kind of appreciation might look spectacular, except 81.4 percent of Nintendo's sales have been overseas during the current fiscal year. When the yen is this strong, earnings on Japanese exports (sold with importers' currencies) are dashed on their way back to Japan (where they are converted back to yen). According to Nintendo's first-half report (April–Sept. 2010), "foreign currencies generated exchange losses totaling 62.1 billion yen," and, in turn, the company suffered net losses of ¥2 billion (about $24.6 million) for the period.

Keep in mind, this loss comes after selling 4.07 million copies of Pokémon Black and White since September 18 (in Japan alone); 5.1 million units of Super Mario Galaxy 2; and a million-plus Wii Party games. Worldwide, DS software sales totaled 54.84 million units, while Wii games accounted for 65.21 million units sold in the first-half of the fiscal year.

As for hardware, the various DS models combined to move 6.69 million units (including 2.26 million DSi and 3.21 million DSi XLs), as Wii racked up another 4.97 million units sold during the period. And did you hear? The new red Wii and DSi XL are going to be released next month to celebrate ... uh, the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros., of course!

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