Shigeru Miyamoto, the man behind "Mario Bros." and "The Legend of Zelda," says Nintendo is working on a new gaming console.

Story highlights

Nintendo is working on a successor to its Wii U console, designer tells Associated Press

"Mario" creator says new hardware is under way

Sales of the Wii U have been disappointing for Japanese company

CNN  — 

The successor to Nintendo’s troubled Wii U may be on the way.

Shigeru Miyamoto, the man who created Nintendo classics such as “Mario Bros.” and “The Legend of Zelda,” says the Japanese gaming giant is at work on a new gaming console.

“For the time being, our focus is on the Wii U hardware, but Nintendo as a whole has groups working on ideas for new hardware systems,” he said, via a translator, in an interview with The Associated Press. “While we’re busy working on software for the Wii U, we have production lines that are working on ideas for what the next system might be.”

‘Mario,’ ‘Zelda’ creator says give the Wii U time

One of the most iconic names in video gaming, Nintendo dominated the market with its Wii console, which sold more than 100 million units after its release in 2006. But the follow-up, Wii U, with its handheld second-screen controller, failed to make a similar splash.

The company lost more than $15 million in the final nine months of 2013, largely due to disappointing sales numbers for the Wii U. A sales forecast of 9 million Wii U units in 2013, the console’s first full year, was slashed to a mere 2.8 million.

This year has seen a slight uptick in sales, with the release of popular titles such as “Mario Kart 8” and “Bayonetta 2.” But the console still trails the rival PlayStation 4 and Xbox One badly in popularity.

Things got so bad that there was speculation Nintendo would abandon hardware entirely, instead focusing on developing popular franchises such as Mario and Zelda for other consoles.

In the AP interview, Miyamoto focused on more positive recent news for the company.

Released in October, “Super Smash Bros.” has joined the new “Mario Kart” title as a hot seller as have “amiibos,” action figures of popular Nintendo characters that can both be collected and used in conjunction with some video games.

And there have been reports, via the Sony email hack, that a “Super Mario Bros.” feature film may be in the works.

While the Wii U was released a year earlier than last year’s PlayStation and Xbox updates, it’s unlikely gamers will see a new Wii in 2015.

Several major software releases for the Wii U, including new “Star Fox” and “Legend of Zelda” titles, already have been announced for the coming year, making it unlikely the company would compete with itself with new hardware.