Nintendo to release Wii 2 in June; sales down in past year

Gimmicky accessories like Wii Zapper — a gun-like contraption that allows users to physically target in-game foes on the television screen — haven’t been enough to turn a Wii sales slide.

Nintendo said it would launch a successor to its aging Wii game console in 2012 as it struggles to win back users from rivals Microsoft and Sony and seeks to reverse a slump in profit.

Nintendo said yesterday that it expects profits to remain almost flat in the current financial year, despite the launch of its much-touted 3-D handheld games device, whose sales in Japan have been overshadowed by the devastating March 11 earthquake.

The maker of the DS handheld game player, which is also facing competition from smartphone and tablet makers including Apple, said it will demonstrate the Wii’s replacement in Los Angeles on June 7 at the E3 game show.

Nintendo is looking to repeat past successes in the gaming market. The Wii took the industry by storm five years ago by offering motion-based gaming that appealed to a broad audience rather than just “core” video game fans.

This time around, however, Nintendo will find it harder to sidestep its competitors and must also contend with a burgeoning smartphone market that didn’t exist in 2006, says Mitsushige Akino, Chief Fund Manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management.

“Core users and game lovers will certainly buy it,” he said, “but I think it will be hard to capture buyers outside of that group.” 


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