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Nintendo Q1 oper loss worse than expected, outlook unchanged

TOKYO, July 30 (Reuters) - Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co Ltd posted a worse-than-expected operating loss in the April-June quarter as it struggles with shrinking sales and dull demand for its Wii U console.

The company kept intact its outlook for a return to profit in the year to next March, however, counting on hit games such as Mario Kart 8 to give the Wii U a much-needed sales boost.

Nintendo's 9.47 billion yen ($92.70 million) operating loss in its first fiscal quarter exceeded expectations of a 4.93 billion yen loss based on four analyst estimates cited by Thomson Reuters StarMine. Sales fell 8.4 percent to 74.7 billion yen in the quarter.

Nintendo sold 510,000 Wii U consoles compared with just 160,000 in the same quarter last year, when its full-year sales also fell well short of a target of 9 million. Cumulative sales of the Wii U, released in late 2012, totalled 6.68 million at end-June, well short of 8.7 million for the Sony Corp PlayStation 4 which was released a year later.

Nintendo expects a full-year operating profit of 40 billion yen, above analysts' average estimate of 25.02 billion yen according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. ($1 = 102.1600 Japanese Yen)

(Reporting by Sophie Knight and Edmund Klamann; Editing by Chris Gallagher)