This chart shows accumulated sales number from launch for three of most popular game devices of all time: Wii, DS and PS2. If you were planning production for Wii, what would you have done? You look at PS2 which still is the best selling console of all time and make more than PS2 or make few million and see how sale goes and increase the production. If you remember when Wii launched, everyone expected it to end up last place after PS3 and Xbox 360.
About stock splits, why would you be happy to get 4 quarters for a dollar bill? Warren Buffet never split his stock and he seems to be doing well. Nintendo is a conservative company. They plan to be around for next 100 years and not blow themselves up like all the banks or dot com companies few years back. If you want to invest your money on companies that spends 18 million dollars for 3 weeks of work, you can, but don’t bash Nintendo for trying to save money for shareholders.
Sony made enough PS2 that they were on the shelf when a customer wanted to buy one, except maybe the week before December 25th. Nintendo is not making enough Wii to keep them on the shelf in September. Since the product is not on the shelf customers are not able to buy it. Last holiday season Reggie estimated that Nintendo missed a billion dollars in sales. Reggie is a VP of Nintendo. If a company fails to meet demand for their products year after year then their sales are lowered. Investors use sales as a metric of stock valuation. If sales are lower then earnings are lower. Investors use earnings as a metric of stock valuation. Lower sales and earnings mean lower share price. Investors typically prefer higher share prices. Right now an investor in Japan wanting to purchase 7974 must put up the equivalent of about $45,000. Most small investors just don't have $45K to plow into one stock. In all other stock markets an investor must purchase shares on the equivalent of the pink sheets. These shares are backed by banks. Have you noticed any news regarding banks lately? Many small investors are not sophisticated enough to read thru quarterly statements and balance sheet. Yet to make an investment decision regarding a stock on the pink sheets the only source of information is quarterly statements and balance sheets. This limits the number of investors holding Nintendo shares. If there are fewer investors, the share price will be lower and more volatile.
If I remember correctly, Sony dropped price of PS2 from $299 to $199 after about two years and Wii is still at $249. Nintendo is making more Wii now than Sony ever did with PS2 and you are complaining about 1 billion in sales Nintendo may or may not have made last year? Of course it would’ve been great to get that extra 1 billion in sales, but that would’ve meant capital spending to increase production and lower margins. With economy slowing down, Nintendo may have too much inventory by now and forced to cut prices on Wii or even worse lose money on Wii. Currently, only US is experiencing shortages and even that may disappear after this holiday season with current production number. What if Wii is just a fad and nobody wants to buy them next year would you prefer explosive growth for two years and crash and burn or steady growth for years to come? Take a look at all the banks now. They were making big bucks few years ago betting housing prices will go up forever, but the party ended and now nobody is around to clean it up.
Yes, I agree $45,000 is a lot of money to invest into just one stock for us mortals, but that’s about price of a nice car and I see a lot of people driving car that costs more than that. If you want to invest $45,000 on a stock, you are not going to just jump in and out for quick profit. Nintendo wants that stability. They don’t want to chase some hot trend and burn money. They want long term growth. If they split their stock it will likely attract those kinds of investor who wants quick growth and even quicker profit. There are a lot of stocks that trade below $5 and then there is Berkshire Hathaway (brk-a) which trades $135,000 a share. Berkshire used to trade $45,000, but that didn’t stop people from buying them. If company is doing well and shares are reasonably priced, no matter what the stock price is people will buy it.
I am not going to pretend I know what will happen to NTDOY or stock market because I don’t know and nobody does. All I know is that conservative company like Nintendo won’t be likely to get into trouble like all the banks are in now and will likely be around for a long time. They employ some of the most creative people in Japan and have been successful by being different. I think they will be successful for number of years to come. Just try to buy it when it’s cheap and collect the dividends. In few years, who know what they will come up with next?