Iwata laments Wii sales slump, hints at 3G-enabled portable

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata wasn’t too chipper when talking about the Wii earlier this week. And for good reason. The Japanese games giant saw their beloved waggle box take a major dive in sales recently, having fallen by 34.5% during the sales quarter that ended in September. “The Wii has stalled,” Iwata says. “Games of high demand could not be continuously released and the good mood has chilled.” With an accumulating number of rumors and reports on proposed upgrades to console, including Netflix and Blu-ray, it’s clear that Nintendo’s casual-friendly console is preparing to play a fair amount of catch-up before it gets back in the ring with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Iwata admits that the current state of the Wii “cannot be defined as healthy,” and claims that Nintendo will undertake an “urgent mission to recover the momentum of Wii during the holidays.”

The good news is that even amid Iwata’s Wii woes, Nintendo’s portable market has not lost its stride. Even with the DSi XL set to launch worldwide by early next year, Iwata is already mentioning ideas for the next Nintendo handheld, and how it could compete with Apple’s iPhone. One particularly interesting idea he mentioned was the possibility of a device that would provide users with free 3G wireless connections. “Only people who can pay thousands of yen a month [in mobile phone subscriptions] can be iPhone customers,” he said. “That doesn’t fit Nintendo customers because we make amusement products.” The concept certainly doesn’t seem too far fetched for Nintendo, especially when you look at products like Amazon’s Kindle, which allows users to access wireless data services for the purposes of downloading and purchasing e-books.

But with other concerns already on the table, the prospect of taking on the iPhone seems a lofty goal for Nintendo at this point. Either way, it’s beginning to seem as if this holiday season will be a rather important one for Nintendo.

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