back to article Wii-U boat torpedoes Nintendo's '¥20bn profit' into ¥20bn loss

Facing a looming $219m loss, Nintendo today restated its mission “to pursue its basic strategy of compelling products that anyone can enjoy, regardless of age, gender or gaming experience”. This is marketing speak for targeting occasional players, in particular the very young and the old, folk who might not normally be …


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  1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    The Wii-U isn't something I'd touch. That's pretty telling for a Nintendo product, given that I've owned most of the things they've pumped out over the years and been pretty happy with them.

    The "screen" controllers are too expensive (the backward compatibility might be there in some games but there's no real guarantee of that, and thus it's much more expensive that the Wii was for many years in comparison). The Mario game is too much about having two half-decent players trying to do everything on the same screen (which is not the thing to do in the casual market, because it either gets crowded, or you have to suffer fools, quite a lot). And I haven't seen much else that actually entices (about the only other thing I've stumbled across is that zombie game, and that's just NOT something that anyone who owns a Wii for casual gaming will rush out to buy - wrong genre, too much stress on quick action, etc. from what I saw).

    As such, I honestly haven't even looked at it in a shop. I have a Wii, it does for what I bought it for (quick, cheap console to plonk a child in front of, or to bring out at random dinner parties where random adults - mostly non-gamers - just want to bowl a few balls on something they understand even if they never game). I don't see the point of the Wii-U.

    Can I even transfer my store games from Wii to Wii-U? How does that work? Do I have to abandon the games I bought on the store for the Wii?

    Personally, I think Nintendo would have made a lot more money with a Wii (or Wii upgrade) that allowed multiple Wii-Fits, had HD graphics and let you use an Android / iPhone app to turn them into additional controllers (or even screens, maybe) over Bluetooth (though that would have hit their controller sales, it would have made the console much more appealing, especially in the "we need one more controller for everyone to be able to play" scenario).

    I didn't "get" the Wii-U. I owned a Gameboy, a SNES, an N64, a Gamecube, and a Wii. But I don't "get" the Wii-U at all.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Nintendo have been coasting on gimmicks for years now. Perhaps people bitten by all the shit accessories pumped out for the Wii vs the quality of games and are hesitant about repeating their mistakes all over again.

      1. Andrew Moore Silver badge

        In fairness, their motion controller gimmick was pretty awesome. However, the article is spot on, since my daughters got an iPod (the eldest) and a Android Tab (the youngest) I don't think the Wii has been switched on once.

        In other news- anyone notice how all the kids are playing MineCraft these days??? Take that, Club Penguin, Moshi Monsters, Panfu, Bin Weevils and all the rest.

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

          "kids are playing MineCraft these days"

          *Spits out Tea*

          :O does that mean I am young and youthful again, btw did you grief my house?

    2. Chad H.

      I can see the possibilities in the Wii U controller... Fallout Fans, think Pipboy, etc.

      But its the titles, or lack thereof that bug me. There should have been a metroid or Zelda at launch... You need to have that 1 title that will make people spend hudreds.... And as good as Mario might be, it aint that good.

      1. Sooty

        @Chad H

        You've hit the nail on the head, there's a lot of great stuff it could do, but isn't used for.

        But Nintendo aren't the only ones, using your fallout example, xbox smartgalss, or ps3 remote play could be used to do a pipboy on your smartphone/ipod/ipad/psp/vita... a bit of sellotape to attach it to your arm :)

        That could be patched into the game today and most of the game's owners could use it with no extra hardware costs over what they already own

        They might have been better off providing a cheaper controller along with something more generic such as a smartphone app.

    3. Rob Beard

      So basically, you don't know much about the Wii U but you still feel the need to put it down? Hmm...

      As a Wii U owner with kids I can tell you the Wii U gamepad is a great idea. At the moment the console only supports the one Wii U gamepad, but out of the games I've tried (albeit a limited amount as there isn't really much out there right now) it works well, feels a little bit like playing on a big DS in some of the games.

      It also works with existing Wii controllers (I bought a couple of compatible motion plus controllers as my original Wii controller was pre-motion plus). You can transfer saves and downloaded games, the Wii store has an app available which downloads your content to an SD card (doesn't need to be a massive one, 2GB would probably do) and then transfer them to the Wii U to play in Wii mode, although you can't keep content on the old Wii, it's moved rather than copied. I've only briefly looked at the Wii mode and it's a little clearer over HDMI from the Wii U to the TV (42" Panasonic Plasma) than the Wii to the same TV using component video (and some rather cheap phono extension cables).

      I've got Nintendo Land as I bought the premium console, it's not a bad game, has a few Nintendo themed mini games in it. I wouldn't pay £45 or whatever it is for it but as a freebie with the console I couldn't complain. I also bought Mario Bros U and I'm enjoying that, and so are the kids. It can be played on the TV or on the game pad in single player mode or with other players on a Wiimote.

      Other than that the new Rayman game looks interesting and makes good use of the gamepad, and Little Inferno is well worth a look (and on sale in the Nintendo shop).

      As for your idea of using an Android tablet as a controller over Bluetooth? Wouldn't have worked, Bluetooth is just too slow. Wifi maybe, but then you've got the faffing around downloading an app, support costs for Nintendo if it doesn't work on a specific device and all that.

      While you may not see the appeal of the Wii U (despite not having tried by the sounds of things) others do, I personally like the idea of being able to play on the Gamepad, I can either let the kids play games on it while I'm maybe watching TV or playing on one of my other consoles (PS3/XBOX360 or even my old PS2 or Wii) or I can be playing on the Wii U on the gamepad alone, or we can be watching something on LoveFilm or Netflix... whatever, it's stopped some arguements in the house and means I don't need to run a long HDMI cable from my consoles to my desktop monitor.

      Oh and for me, Pikmin 3 is the killer app :-)

      Maybe considering this loss and poor sales Nintendo might even drop the price a bit like they did with the 3DS.


  2. Thomas 4

    I really wish people would stop doing this

    "The 3DS fared better, with Q4 sales up 11 per cent year on year, from 11.43 million to 12.71 million. But that’s still far behind 217 million smartphones that shipped in the last three months of 2012, according to market watcher Strategy Analytics."

    When you can make phone calls, plan appointments & meetings, send emails, send texts and take camera-quality photos with a 3DS, then it will be a fair comparison. But as it stands now, it's like comparing a car with an iPod. Both have the capability to play music but they're for two completely different purposes.

    Compare like with like, please.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: I really wish people would stop doing this

      3DS are still £130 ish though. I bought a galaxy tab 2 10 for £230 with £50 cashback winging its way to me. I could have have a tab 2 7 for £130. The tab 2 is far more flexible for most things than the 3DS. Chinapads can be grabbed for half the price of a 3DS if you are looking for kids pressies.

      Whilst the devices might not be the same, the comparison with casual gaming devices is similar. Same goes for the wii u. Only one master controller so might has well stick to the wii or get tablets for all for a fraction of the price.

      1. Thomas 4

        Re: I really wish people would stop doing this

        You make a good point about price but then you might also have to factor in a 24 month contract as well with some of the devices.

        Don't get me wrong; having seen some of the gaming phones are capable of, there will be a few 3Dses and Vitas unbought as a result (Sony, why did you have to make such a f*** up of the Xperia Play? >.<) . I guess my point is that not everyone buys a smartphone purely for the gaming capabilities of it, whereas everyone buys a handheld gaming console for pretty much only that, so comparing sales figures is misleading.

        1. Chet Mannly

          Re: I really wish people would stop doing this

          "You make a good point about price but then you might also have to factor in a 24 month contract as well"

          Those were uncontracted prices. Also smartphones are generally free if they are on a contract.

          "I guess my point is that not everyone buys a smartphone purely for the gaming capabilities of it, whereas everyone buys a handheld gaming console for pretty much only that,"

          Think you are missing the competitive dynamic here - virtually every potential Wii-U buyer will already have a smartphone, many will have tablets. If you are an occasional gamer, it may not make sense to spend an *additional* few hundred, plus the cost of games, just to get an occasional gaming fix which you can get for less than $5 by buying a game for the smartphone you already have.

          Those that want to spend a few hundred for their gaming fix will likely look at a PS3 or Xbox instead.

          Its the peril of aiming at a market that doesn't value your product all that much - far cheaper alternatives that are "good enough" will eat at your market (as any point and shoot camera manufacturer will tell you with the rise of phone cameras).

          "Sony, why did you have to make such a f*** up of the Xperia Play? >.<"

          Amen Thomas, Amen!

          I swear Sony didn't want it to succeed...

        2. A J Stiles

          Re: I really wish people would stop doing this

          (Sony, why did you have to make such a f*** up of the Xperia Play? >.<)

          So as not to interfere with sales of PlayStation 3s, obviously.

      2. Ted Dannington

        Re: I really wish people would stop doing this

        Read again: "217 million smartphones". Phones. Not tablets. Tablets are just a portion of that. Gnnhh.

      3. Ian 55
        Thumb Up

        Re: I really wish people would stop doing this

        After five minutes with a Nexus 7, I put all of the games I bought for a DS up for sale on Amazon. Had I had any shares in Nintendo, I'd have sold them. The only reason there's a DS still in the house is that my daughter likes her games on it, but no more are going to be bought unless they are very cheap s/h.

        We're keeping the Wii, but there's no chance of buying a Wii U for exactly the reasons you give.

    2. Daniel B.

      Re: I really wish people would stop doing this

      Agreed. People buying smartphones aren't going to buy a smartphone vs. gaming console; there will be somef who do, but those wanting mobile gaming might go for the 3DS or PSVita for that. In fact, the 3DS started selling strong when they dropped the pricetag, so I'm guessing the real limiting factor on those is actually related to pricetag, not to "smartphone defeats gaming consoles".

      The Wii U, however, sucks.

    3. veti Silver badge

      Re: I really wish people would stop doing this

      if an iPod were a ton of metal that you had to keep in a special room and sit inside in order to listen to and cost several months' pay, then you'd have a point.

      But the DS/3DS and the mobile phone do have a lot in common. They're the same size bracket, and the same price bracket. On top of that, they both compete for the same resources (pocket space and charger slots), and they both fulfil the role of 'cheap on-demand electronic entertainment'.

      The fact that the phone has a whole bunch of other functions as well just makes it harder for the DS to hang on to its niche. The 3DS was a nice gimmick, but it's only a gimmick. In the long run, handheld consoles are dead in the water - unless they can come up with something that smartphones just can't do, and they haven't managed that yet.

      I say this with regret, as a longtime Nintendo fan and owner of all major versions of the DS (one original, one DSi, one XL and one 3DS). But the comparison of sales between the DS (all models) and smartphones is not inappropriate.

  3. Joe K

    Typical casual......

    "Can i have one of those new Wii controllers please?...........

    £300?!? For a controller?............

    Whats a "console"? I thought it was a controller?"

    Nintendo have only themselves to blame, naming it like they've named every other peripheral (Wii Fit, Wii Wheel, Wii Zapper, etc), branding it identically the same, and so barely registering on the consciousness of an easily-confused, bored-with-Wii, customer base.

  4. Simon 4

    Won't take my money

    Several times I've wanted to play an old Nintendo game on my iPhone or iPad but, alas, none of these games are available in the App Store.

    Surely Nintendo could figure out a strategy of not losing console sales while selling limited versions of its games in the App Store.

    They've done this to themselves.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Won't take my money

      gameboy emulator is about the best you can do. Legality questionable of course.

    2. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: Won't take my money

      " not losing console sales"

      It is refreshing to see that console sales were not unleashed, thanks.

      1. Comments are attributed to your handle

        Re: @Elmer Phud

        Let's try that one again, shall we?

      2. Tom Maddox Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Won't take my money

        @Elmer Phud:

        I see what you did there, even if no one else did.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The G Bomb!

    >Sales to gaijin account for 70 per cent of Nintendo’s business.

    What exactly is the need for this? You know one of the Japanese words for foreigner... well done. Why wasn't debusshou used instead of "overweight and wheezy" while you were at it trying to inject "offensive" foreign words into the article?

    1. andy mcandy

      Re: The G Bomb!

      calm down dear :)

    2. Juillen 1

      Re: The G Bomb!

      Nothing wrong with it.. Gaijin and proud of it! And thoroughly enjoy their pride in being Japanese too..

    3. Chad H.

      Re: The G Bomb!

      To be fair, I tend to refer any large secretive insular company as a Zibatsu.....

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: The G Bomb!

        To be fair, I tend to refer any large secretive insular company as a Zibatsu.....

        Maybe you should switch to calling them "zaibatsu". Just a suggestion...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The G Bomb!

      Is gaijin offensive? What's the non-offensive version? If I don't know it's offensive, and the person using it doesn't know, is it still offensive? The public want to know!

    5. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: The G Bomb!

      What exactly is the need for this? You know one of the Japanese words for foreigner ... "offensive" foreign word..

      Pah. "Gaijin" is only offensive if it's used in a way that's meant to be offensive. That hardly applies here. I couldn't care less if someone calls me a 外人 or a 外国人. Or a Paddy or Mick, for that matter. You should save your ire for someone who's being deliberately offensive to you.

  6. chriswakey

    DLC rip off

    I'll not buy any more Nintendo stuff after how they responded when my first Wii went tits-up due to a knackered graphics chip (a known issue on the tech forums, caused by leaving it on standby rather than switching it off - it caused it to overheat and damage the chip...Nintendo denied this...)

    As it was well out of warranty, I bought a new one and then contacted them to transfer all my DLC over to the new one.

    They flat out refused, saying I should have sent my old one to them, paid for their repair, and they would have transferred everything over to a refurb unit so basically I was screwed.

    Oh, apparently everyone on any tech forums was wrong, and there's "no issue with the Wii, and if they've had problems, then they're obviously pirates who have broken their system." (direct quote)

    Fuck 'em.

  7. Lamont Cranston

    Probably a bit early to write off the Wii-U, just yet,

    but I don't really see a compelling reason to replace my existing Wii, so I'd expect the Wii-U sales to be rather sluggish (not seen much marketing, either).

  8. Goldmember


    The Wii, and the Wii-U, are novelty products. Yes, the original Wii sold in record numbers, but the problem with novelty is that it wears off. Quickly. We bought one, with WiiFit (plus board) and a few other games. The WiiFit quickly got boring, the novelty of WiiSports wore off, and the underspecced console with no HDMI meant the other games looked shite on our HD TV. Plus, they weren't that great to begin with. The end result? A Wii that has been sat in the corner, unloved and unused for over 2 years. Will we be getting a Wii-U? Absolutely not.

    Like the article said, there are a host of other options for casual gamers, as there are for more srious gamers. If I feel like a quick, casual game, it's the Vita, phone or laptop. A longer session and I fire up the PS3 or PC. Nintendo need to get their priorities right; either crack the mobile market (by releasing Ninty games on mobiles - I'd certainly pay for an Android Mario Kart), or manufacture a serious, non-novelty console that can compete with the big boys.

    1. Eponymous Cowherd
      Thumb Down

      Re: Novelty

      No, the original Wii sold because it offered something new (the controllers) and the ability to control a game by moving yourself instead of twiddling some knobs and buttons. An idea that was copied by both Microsoft and Sony.

      The original Wii had a big "Hey, cool, want one" factor, and was priced (£170 at launch) such that it was something people didn't mind taking a punt on.

      The WiiU has no "wow" factor, and its too expensive for casual gamers to consider. Result = big FAIL

      1. auburnman

        Re: Novelty

        "Something New" is just another name for novelty unless it gains a track record of being a worthwhile improvement. As you say Sony and Microsoft soon copied the movement bit leaving Nintendo with an underpowered console that didn't have a unique selling point.

        Many people did indeed take a punt on the Wii at launch due to it's price (myself included) but the lack of interesting titles after the launch fuss died down is the main reason that Wii's accross the world gather dust in cupboards and no-one has any interest in the new one.

      2. Chet Mannly

        Re: Novelty

        "the original Wii sold because it offered something new (the controllers) and the ability to control a game by moving yourself instead of twiddling some knobs and buttons."

        And for the Wii-U they went back to twiddling knobs and buttons again (Ok plus a touch screen).

        So they took away the key feature that differentiated them from the competition - many Wii buyers would have overlooked the lacklustre graphics etc just to get the motion controllers.

        Seems a strange business decision, but I haven't tried the new controllers - they may actually be as compelling, but I doubt it...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Novelty

      The big three console companies all look at the market differently , there is room for all of them and this isn't just about you.

      1. Goldmember

        Re: Novelty

        "this isn't just about you"

        Shit, thanks for pointing that out Mr. AC. I may not have realised otherwise.

        Anyway, my point was that Ninty got the market wrong, not that there's no room for them. The movement controllers are a novelty, and the Wii's lack of decent, playable non-movement games (and a half decent console) has banished millions of Wii consoles to dusty cupbaords/ corners/ attics. In short; the casual gamers got bored, the serious gamers had no interest to begin with.

  9. Pie

    I don't know anyone with a Wii-U, kids haven't asked for one, or even mentioned them. I had a go with one in a shop for 15 mins, some sort of platform game. The second screen could be good, but they used it in this game so you had to keep switching between the main screen and the secondary screen, my old eyes didn't like that and the game was certainly less immersive and less enjoyable as a result.

    As others have said the home Wii has long been packed away as it was just gathering dust, my mum still uses hers a bit but she hasn't purchased a game for it in over two years...

    Nintendo may be able to make the Wii-U sell but they are going to have to come out with another killer app for it.

  10. Atonnis

    Not a great time for consoles anyway...

    At the moment we're all in that post-Christmas depression where spending is down and games aren't really coming out.

    Having said that, since the Wii U came out I don't think I've actually really seen one in the flesh, so to speak. I've had absolutely no interest in some small-screen controller thing, and I'm not even sure if that's the console or if that's an addon to the console... the very fact that I don't have a clue is telling, to me, that it really hasn't made any impact. I've historically always made a point of keeping up to date and I keep an eye out daily for the PS and XBox updates and info, but Wii-U? Meh...

    But could someone actually tell me, is this small-screen like a PSP or is it just a controller, or what? I suppose I could look it up, but it's more effort than whining about it in a negative way on a comments page.

    1. Pie

      Re: Not a great time for consoles anyway...

      It's a bit of both, it's primary function is a controller, which can be used to display information to just the player using it, so you can have 4v1 battles. Only one of these controllers at a time is supported at the moment there may be a case for two in the future but not at the moment.

      For some games you can also switch the game from the tv to be played on the controller, you need to be within range of the wii-u and it needs to be turned on (it's doing the processing) but for some gamers this being able to continue to play when the other half's tv program has started is a useful feature.

  11. DrXym Silver badge

    I wonder how

    The Wii U doesn't exactly push the boat out from a technical perspective (achieving parity with the 360/PS3 6 years late is hardly a difficult achievement) and costs so much that it doesn't appear to be subsidized. How are they making such a loss?

    Anyway if they want to start shifting Wii Us they could start by dropping the price of the console and the accessories. The Wii U appeals to kids more than other consoles might but the price would make parents run a mile, especially when kids probably have a Wii or a PS3 or a 360 and there is little reason to buy another console anyway.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nintendo made a profit of M$159.37?

    "Video game giant Nintendo is back in profit a year after recording its first ever annual net loss .. Nintendo's financial statement also notes that the company is making a loss on Wii U sales" link

  13. wowfood

    My local game store has a small section I like to call "Death Corner" everything in that corner generally bombs badly. First it was the old PC games before PC games were removed from the shelves completely, then the PSPGo. there was some other stuff in between but I've totally forgotten what they were.

    Point is, the Wii U is too similar to the Wii to be sold. I've taken a look at some of the games, played the demos and honestly it doesn't feel all that different from the Wii, ZombiU is, to this point, the only game that really interests me on the console. The rest just feel like... wii games.

    Not to mention the price tag they're putting on it. £230 for a Wii U, now for a new console that doesn't seem too bad. But when you consider it lacks a library of games, the graphical quality of its games, to this point are about on par with PS3 / 360 and the PS3 costs £50 less right now well... It just isn't a good investment. That isn't to say that the graphical quality won't improve over time as the system or the libraries for the software are optimized. But by the time it gets to that point, the 720 / ps4 will be out, beating the Wii U in power from the getgo.

    Why would I buy a WiiU for £230 so I can buy a game for £50, when i already have a 360 / ps3, and I can get the same game, at the same quality, for the same (or often lower) price? I wouldn't, I don't think anyone really would. So the only draw would be the casual games. But then once again casual gamers as they were coined, aren't going to pay £230+games for a new console. They have the wii and lots of games to play on it, they have smartphones and tablets and a DS. Sure in the future when there's a bigger library of games which are very different to what's on the Wii, then there would be a reason to buy it. But right now there isn't. And the reason to buy it might not come around until the next competition consoles are released.

    I want a Wii U, I'll admit it, I'm a console whore, just not at what they have right now. I want to see at least 4 games on the console I want to play, right now it's ZombiU. What I'm waiting for are Monster Hutner 3 Ultimate. X, Shin Megami Tesnsei X fire-emblam. But none of those 3 have a concrete release date yet, one has a demo, the other two are listed as TBA, which generally means "Not until next year"

    But by next year, it might already be too late *shrugs* who knows.

    1. Kevin 6

      "Point is, the Wii U is too similar to the Wii to be sold. " umm you mean like how the PS3, and xbox 360 were too similar to the PS2, and Xbox to be sold?

      I've played a Wii U, and want one. Would have had one if I was able to locate one (the high end model not that base thing) before xmas, and now a tad too broke to get one. If I get a good tax return I might pick one up though as I like how they give the option for normal gamepads(in the games I tried on my nephews at least, and they had EVERY launch title), and the new controller I think is a good idea.

      I just hope they move away from the motion controls a bit, and make that an option in games as honestly there were a lot of games I would have bought on the wii if I didn't have to flail my arms around like a madman for hours on end to play.

      The motion controls are find for games like wii bowling or other multi-player party games, but for things like zelda no matter how much I wanted the game I refuse the have to hold my controller at certain angles to play as that is a game that lasts more than 10-15 mins at a time with no breaks in between. The motion controls like I said are fun with party games sometimes even if you are watching, hell one of the funniest thing I've seen are a pile of drunks playing wii bowling :D

  14. toadwarrior

    Mobile gaming is a joke

    Why do they insist on comparing the 3DS to mobiles? Why should Nintendo get into a market where they'd have to sell games significantly cheaper and sell fewer units?

    In case these people haven't realised most mobile owners don't use it as a games device. Angry birds is the best selling game by far and that's still only owned by maybe 5% of the phones out there.

    Mobile are poor for controlling games so its just not a good device for gaming which is why Nintendo did so well with the DS and the 3DS looks like it may out perform the DS.

    1. Kevin 6

      Re: Mobile gaming is a joke

      agree tried a few games out on my tablet, and honestly I don't see why people keep saying its going to decimate handheld sales. The on screen controllers I find inadequate for the majority of games outside stuff like angry birds or that one jewel matching game.

      And before people start chiming in you could use a wireless PS3 controller with a tablet or some other huge bulky thing that is not portable. You at that point need a dedicated stand, a surface to sit it, and something to carry the extra controller in as it doesn't all fit neat in your pocket.

  15. Semaj


    Casual gamers have messed up gaming over the past few years because of idiot developers trying to appeal to them with "accessible" (read - dumbed down and shit) games.

    The sooner they all bugger off with their phones and tablets and leave the consoles for us people who aren't going to be "confused" by having the ability to remap controls - the better.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Good

      I think your anger should be directed at the "idiot developers" rather than the casual gamers, whose only crime seems to have been to exist. Oh, and returning to the article, it looks like they *have* buggered off with their phones and tablets.

    2. TheItCat

      Re: Good


      Not because you're wrong about casual gamers ruining games, but because you claim that console gaming has ever been anything other than a casual paradise.

      What we really need is games developers to stop pandering to console limitations and start making games with depth and detailed UIs again. Doubt it will happen though.

      Console gamers have ruined everything #StillAngryAboutDragonAge2

      1. Semaj
        Thumb Up

        Re: Good

        Upvoted you because you are right. If consoles die out all together then even better. I just can't see it happening though where as they least they could do is throw the hardcore crowd a bone or two.


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