Nintendo says full-year profit increased on strong game sales

Pokemon, Super Smash Bros gave an extra boost for the year as its shares surged

Afp April 25, 2019
A Nintendo Switch game console is displayed at an electronics store in Tokyo, Japan March 3, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO: Nintendo said Thursday its full-year net profit jumped nearly 40 per cent, lifted by strong sales of blockbuster game titles for its popular Switch console.

The Kyoto-based games giant said "Pokemon" and "Super Smash Bros" gave an extra boost for the year as its shares surged on expectations of its launch of Switch games in China.

Nintendo's net profit for the fiscal year to March rose 39.0 per cent from a year earlier to 194 billion yen ($1.7 billion), on sales of 1.2 trillion yen, up 13.7 per cent.

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"The results for this fiscal year showed strong software sales for Nintendo Switch, which contributed to the expansion of hardware sales," the firm said in a statement.

In particular, "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" recorded sales of nearly 14 million units, while "Pokemon Let's Go, Pikachu!", and "Pokemon Let's Go, Eevee!" sold more than 10 million units, it said.

For the current fiscal year to March next year, Nintendo forecasts its bottom-line profit would decline by 7.2 per cent but set a higher sales target.

Nintendo said sales of Switch hardware are projected to rise six per cent to 18 million units for the current fiscal year with plans to release "Super Mario Maker 2", "Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield" and "The Legend of Zelda".

Its latest portable console, the Switch, has become a huge global seller, helped by the release of innovative, family-friendly titles that have wowed critics and gamers alike.

The company's shares surged more than 12 per cent since news reports said earlier this month that its games and the Switch will soon be available in China via tech giant Tencent.

"Switch's expected launch in China is likely to be an extra boost to its growth for the current fiscal year," Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute in Tokyo, told AFP.

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The share gain was also backed by speculation that Nintendo would soon launch a smaller version of the Switch, "which will make up for a shrinking market share of its 3DS" portable games, said Yasuo Imanaka, an analyst at Rakuten Securities in Tokyo.

But analysts have warned that Nintendo and its gaming rival Sony may be forced to put the brake on growth as Google plans to release its Stadia platform that will let game players stream their titles to any device they wish.

Sony, the maker of the PlayStation console, is scheduled to release its full-year results on Friday.

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