In the past, Nintendo had designed their consoles in a way that allowed them to profit from each sale since Day 1. That's not the case with the Wii U, which is currently being sold at a loss. However, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told Mercury News that when the Wii U is sold with at least one game, the overall package is a profit to Nintendo.
"As soon as we get the consumer to buy one piece of software, then that entire transaction becomes profit positive," Fils-Aime said. "In the end, the business model is still to drive the install base of hardware, and then to drive a strong tie ratio with all of the other software and experiences for the consumer. And if we're able to do that, then we will create significant profit for the company."
So far, it appears that Nintendo is succeeding in this regard. Gamestop reported that their attach rate for Wii U software to the console is 2.4:1, meaning Nintendo is more than doubling their goal at the games retailer. If Nintendo can keep similar ratios at other locations, they will not have to worry about profit.
Source: [Mercury News]