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The best 'Mario Kart' ever steers Nintendo to profit

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Do not underestimate the power of Mario

This summer wasn't a happy time for Nintendo, in spite of the hugely popular and universally welcomed arrival of Mario Kart 8. In late July, the Japanese games company reported growing losses and decreasing revenues, which weren't stemmed by Mario Kart's boost to both software and hardware sales. Still, Nintendo managed to triple the number of Wii U consoles it sold in that quarter relative to its performance a year earlier, and it's kept that momentum going with another year-on-year doubling in sales. 610,000 Wii U consoles were sold in the past three months, adding to the 510,000 of the previous quarter and taking Nintendo's six-month total past the million mark.

Nintendo's financial situation hasn't improved dramatically, however the growing sales numbers have helped the company break even in terms of operating income and report a net profit of 14.3 billion yen (roughly $130 million) once foreign exchange gains are factored in as well. What's more, Nintendo forecasts having a profitable year overall with further improvements in sales anticipated as the holiday season ramps up.

Though the Wii U is showing signs of life and broader appeal, Nintendo may rightly be more worried about its portable console, the 3DS, whose sales declined over the past six months. The stalwart Wii console is also still selling, but in ever decreasing numbers and Nintendo's latest figures show that its software sales over the past half year were roughly a third what they were a year ago. To live up to its anticipated profitable year, Nintendo will have to keep delivering compelling games like Mario Kart to replenish the seemingly waning interest of gamers.