Nintendo Co Switch sold better than expected after global home confinement helped Animal Crossing become the console’s fastest-selling title.
The Kyoto-based game maker’s operating profit tripled to 89.5 billion yen ($842 million) in the March quarter after it moved 13.4 million copies of the game in the six weeks since its launch. Animal Crossing became the breakout hit of the quarter after millions worldwide sought refuge in its virtual cartoon world. That helped Nintendo sell 21 million Switches in the year ended March, beating its own estimate and Morningstar Research’s expectation of roughly 20 million units.
Still, Nintendo joined fellow tech corporations in sketching out a cautious outlook for the year ahead, largely because of uncertainty over the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on production and services. It forecast a 15 per cent slide in operating profit, a decline in Switch console sales to 19 million and a drop in Switch game sales to 140 million. The company continues to wrestle with component shortages for its console but now expects disruptions to fade away over the summer, President Shuntaro Furukawa said.
“We expect the Covid-19 impact on our production to go away by summer, and our 19 million sales forecast is based on that. But we will revise the forecast if the virus impact is set to persist longer than we currently expect,” he told analysts on a call. “There’s a risk that we may need to delay releases of the games we plan for this fiscal year. But, at this point, we don’t expect any major delays,” he added.