Pandemic boost for Nintendo as Covid-19 drives Switch sales

Operating profit rises 428% in first quarter as gamers flock to Animal Crossing

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

Nintendo on Thursday reported a 428 per cent jump in first-quarter profit, driven by demand for the Switch console and hit title Animal Crossing: New Horizons as the coronavirus outbreak boosts the games industry.

Operating profit for April-June was 144.7 billion yen (€1.16 billion). That compared with an average estimate of 71 billion yen from 12 analysts polled by Refinitiv SmartEstimate.

Nintendo has proved a winner of the pandemic as stuck-at-home gamers flock to titles such as Animal Crossing, which sold 10.6 million units in the first quarter, bringing its total sales to 22.4 million.

The firm sold 5.7 million Switch consoles in the first quarter, breaking down as 3 million of the hybrid home/portable Switch units and 2.6 million units of the portable-only Switch Lite, which went on sale last September.

The Kyoto-based gaming firm maintained its sales forecast of 19 million Switch consoles in the current financial unit. Chief executive Shuntaro Furukawa has said previously he believes the boost from coronavirus to be transitory.

The games pipeline for the Switch is unusually bare. Nintendo said on Thursday it would release an enhanced version of Pikmin 3, originally released for predecessor console Wii U.

The pandemic has affected Nintendo’s real-world plans, with Comcast Corp’s Osaka-based theme park Universal Studios Japan pushing back the opening of a Nintendo-themed land.

Rival Sony on Tuesday posted a sharp rise in software sales for its ageing PlayStation 4 console, aided by titles such as The Last of Us Part II, released in June.