Factory Fire in Japan May Impact Wii U Shipping Numbers
A post on CVG today reports that a fire broke out in a Wii U assembly factory in Japan, and an analyst believes that it could negatively impact Nintendo’s ability to meet customer demand next month. David Gibson, a Tokyo-based analyst for the Australian bank Macquarie, Tweeted his revised forecast of the Wii U’s projected shipping numbers:
Nintendo – we downgraded WiiU units by 1m to 7.3m as production is impacted by fire at assembler, company to revise down outlook Oct 24
— David Gibson (@gibbogame) October 10, 2012
However, CVG quotes a statement issued to them by Nintendo, which said, “As of now, we see no impacts on our Wii U console production scheme.”
It’s entirely possible that Nintendo wouldn’t want to alarm investors who are relying on the Wii U’s launch next month to bring the company’s fortunes back to their formerly lofty perch. For the last several years, Nintendo had dominated the console market, with the Wii managing to capture the casual gaming market. The Wii console was an inexpensive system that allowed the company to reap lots of profit for quite a while—but their fortunes reversed last year due to poor exchange rates, a severe cool-down in Wii sales, and an initially under-performing 3DS system launch. The company posted its first loss in decades last year.
This year, though, the trend has started to reverse. Sales of the 3DS jumped with the system’s mid-year price cut, and after the initial loss of profit that created, the company managed to expand its install base and sell plenty of software. The fact that the Wii U has managed to sell out in pre-order just about everywhere was definitely a good sign that the company would be profitable again, making 2011’s financial tumble a mere blip in the grand scheme of things. While I’m sure even a million fewer units wouldn’t impact the company too terribly in the long run, it’s a sensitive time for Nintendo, and they need to avoid any setbacks until after the system’s launch—perceived or actual.
Let’s watch and see what they say on October 24. For my part, I better get my damn system. Or else I’mma be real mad.