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Free smartphone games hit Nintendo sales

The soaring popularity of free and cheap games on tablets and smartphones appears to be hitting traditional consoles manufacturer Nintendo.

The Japanese video games giant behind the Wii and the DS yesterday forecast it is going to crash to an annual loss of around ¥45bn (£370m) after poor sales.

The company had previously forecast a ¥1bn operating profit for the financial year to March 2012.

Profits in the most recent three months to Christmas slumped by 61 per cent, not helped by the strength of the Japanese currency.

Nintendo has struggled particularly with its 3D hand-held console, the 3DS, and had to slash prices by about a third. The group now expects to sell 14 million 3DS devices this year against earlier hopes for 16 million.