Nintendo is looking to use a new 3D DSi to get itself out of trouble after reporting a loss of $24.6 million during the first half of its fiscal year, compared with a profit of $857,000 a year ago.
Sales ofr their once popular DSi have slumped 43% to 6.7 million units in the April-September while sales of DS software titles dropped 23%. Some analysts are now questioning whether the handheld gaming market will survive as consumers move to gaming on Smartphones and tablets.
The company’s operating profit for the period dropped 48%, to $644 million, while revenue was down 34% to $4.48 billion.
During the first half of Nintendo’s fiscal year which runs from April to September the company sold 4.97 million Wii consoles, down 14% from a year ago, and 6.69 million DS handheld systems, a decline of 43%.
Using a 3D screen developed by Sharp that eliminates the need for 3D glasses the Japanese company is banking on their forthcoming 3DS portable videogame system to turn around their slump in revenue.
Nintendo’s 3DS game machine goes on sale in Japan in February, and in March in Australia.
The 3DS is the first major overhaul of Nintendo’s hand-held game system since it launched the popular Nintendo DS in 2004. With the 3DS Nintendo will upgrade how gamers can share information and play wirelessly with friends online.
Nintendo is hoping that the new DSi will curb the threat from inexpensive social games played on Apple’s iPhone and new Smartphones running on the Android operating system.
The Wall Street Journal reprts that Nintendo’s new communication tool, StreetPass, finds and connects to a nearby 3DS machine even if the other party is a total stranger. The person doesn’t need to be using the 3DS at the time in order to wirelessly link up and share data with another 3DS machine in the vicinity using a Wi-Fi connection.
The idea isn’t entirely new. Certain games available on the current Nintendo DS offer a similar function called “Tag Mode” that lets players share game data, such as maps or character information. However, both parties need to be playing the game at the time in order to connect wirelessly from DS to DS. Nintendo said StreetPass offers broader potential for social interaction.
For example, Nintendo has showed a social network-like application called the StreetPass Plaza. On any given day, a 3DS owner may unknowingly cross paths with many other 3DS users. The virtual playpen displays a day’s encounters, each as an avatar with some basic but not too revealing information: the person’s screen name, the last game they played, when the “pass” took place and how many times the two have come across one another.
In a nod to privacy concerns, Nintendo says users will be able to disable these wireless features if they choose.