TOKYO: Nintendo admits to being “caught off-guard” by a slowdown in Wii sales and believes that it will take some time for the games machine to regain its momentum.

Although Wii remains the undisputed leader of the console market with unit sales of more than 53 million since its debut in late 2006, Nintendo has in recent days been forced to scale back both hardware and software targets in the light of dwindling demand.

While the slowdown has prompted questions over whether Wii has now lost its three-year Midas touch, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata argues that the console's track record speaks for itself.

He told a meeting of analysts last week: “Right now, the mood is not one where people feel like they have to rush out to buy a Wii, so we need a little time for things to pick up.”

Iwata reminded the meeting that neither exercise game Wii Fit nor mental training product BrainAge – now two of the world's top-selling software products – had been expected to do well. Yet both had captured the imagination of the public.

He added that the firm would continue to introduce equally “unconventional products.”

“The message we can give to the market is that you have to look at our track record and believe that we can introduce software that will be a hit,” he said, before stressing that not every new game could become a top seller.

Wii transformed the entire video games market with its innovative motion-sensing controllers, but Nintendo's two biggest rivals are now catching up.

Sales of Sony's PlayStation 3 exceeded 24 million back in the summer, while Microsoft's Xbox reached the 34 million mark at the end of September. Both manufacturers intend to launch their own motion-sensing controllers next year.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff