Struggling Nintendo Announces New Console for 2017 as Profits Dive

By AFP-JIJI
April 27,2016
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(AFP)--Japanese videogame giant Nintendo on Wednesday said it would release its new games console next year, after the success of its foray into smartphone gaming, but added sales had slipped and a resurgent yen hammered profits.

The Super Mario maker -- which said its first-ever mobile game drew more than a million users within three days of its release -- plans to roll out the new console globally in March.

Last month, the firm released "Miitomo" -- a free-to-play and interactive game that allows users to create "Mii" avatars -- as it tries to compete in an industry that has increasingly gone online.

Users can customise the avatars' outfit through in-app purchases and interact with characters created by other people.

"Our first smart device app, Miitomo, was released globally in March and it started off well," Nintendo said.

The robust start of the smartphone game is good news for the Japanese gamemaker -- long reluctant to stray from its console-only policy -- as it looks to turn around slowing demand for its Wii U console.

It did not give further details about new console, codenamed NX.

The announcement came as the Kyoto-based company posted a 16.5 billion yen ($148 million) net profit in the fiscal year through March, down 60% from a year earlier.

Revenue was down about eight percent to 504.5 billion yen, it added.

Japanese exporters such as Nintendo have seen their profits, which are calculated in yen, soar in recent years as the unit weakened sharply against the US dollar and other currencies.

The fall made them more competitive overseas and meant the profits earned abroad were worth more at home.

But Japan's currency has reversed course as a plunge in equities and commodities fuelled by fears about the world economy boosted buying of the yen, which is seen as a safe bet in times of turmoil.