Could the huff finally be running out of Nintendo's recent puff? As far as the current generation of hardware is concerned, it certainly looks that way.
Nintendo released its annual fiscal report today, and perhaps the most interesting finding is that hardware sales for both the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS are down, in the Wii's case significantly, from the previous year.
For the financial year running from April 2008 to March 2009, Nintendo sold 25.95 million Wiis. Over the same period last financial year (Apr 09 - Mar 10), sales were down to 20.53 million. Still a remarkable number overall, yes, but it's also a 21% drop in sales over a single year, which is surely cause for concern at Nintendo.
Ironically given the recent reveal of the Nintendo 3DS, the DS family fared a little better. Although sales were also down for Nintendo's handhelds, from 31 million to 27 million, this is "only" a 12% drop, something the company had to be expecting, given the fact the DS is five and a half years old.
Projections for the current fiscal year predict further decline for the Wii, down to 18 million sold, but the impending launch of the 3DS - which Nintendo shrewdly is including as a "DS" console, despite earlier claims to the contrary - has DS sales climbing back up to 30 million.
Software too was down, Wii game sales down 6% from 204 million to 191 million, with DS software down 23%, from 197 million to 151 million.
Before you get too doomy and gloomy, though, bear this in mind: even though sales are down, this was still Nintendo's third-best year ever.