Nintendo Co shares fell for the first time in 12 days, snapping a winning streak that had been propelled by the launch of its latest game during the worldwide coronavirus lockdown.
Its shares dropped 1.5 per cent on Thursday after rising 27.3 per cent in the previous 11 sessions. As well as benefiting from a broad surge in interest in games with millions stuck at home in many countries, shares in Nintendo have also been boosted by the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons for its Switch console on March 20.
Having delayed a planned release in 2019, the timing of the colourful social simulator couldn’t have been better: the slow paced village life and virtual interactions have proved the ideal distraction and been hailed as “the perfect way to spend quarantine.”
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Animal Crossing had sold more than 2.6 million copies as of March 29, Japan game-market researcher Famitsu said Wednesday. While Japan hasn’t enforced lockdowns, the government has shut schools and called on people to work from home and avoid going out in the evenings.
“Animal Crossing has been selling amounts I’ve never seen before,” said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute in Tokyo. “The Switch itself is also seeing demand that you wouldn’t expect from a console now in its fourth year.”
Demand for the console is outstripping supply, which has been impacted by the outbreak. In Japan, electronics retailer Yamada Denki Co’s website showed all 14 colour and model variations of the console as sold out. The same was the case on Amazon, while on Japan’s leading flea-market site Mercari Inc, the standard Switch model released in 2017 was selling second hand for a third higher than retail price.
“Like many other game names that are outperforming because of the virus, we don’t think the trend will be sustainable,” said Amir Anvarzadeh, a strategist at Asymmetric Advisors in Singapore. “This has in my view brought more selling opportunity as the firm faces heavy competition going forward.”