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Nintendo profits boom as people stuck at home play games

Nintendo Co.’s profit for the fiscal year that ended in March jumped 86% on healthy sales of its Switch handheld machine as people stayed home due to the pandemic, turning to video games for entertainment.

Annual profit for the Japanese maker of Super Mario and Pokemon games totalled a record 480.4 billion yen ($4.4 billion), up from 258.6 billion yen the year before. The results, released Thursday, were better than the company’s internal profit forecast of 400 billion yen ($3.7 billion).

Sales rose 34% to 1.76 trillion yen ($16 billion), the company said.

In game software sales, demand remained strong for “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” with 20.85 million units sold for cumulative sales of 32.6 million units. “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” and “Ring Fit Adventure” also were popular.

Kyoto-based Nintendo said digital downloads for the Switch also did well, helping to support its bottom line.

But Nintendo said it didn’t expect such good fortune to persist through the current fiscal year, which ends in March 2022. It is forecasting a 29% drop in profit to 340 billion yen ($3 billion).

Nintendo said it has attractive games in the works, including a collaboration in the mobile sector with Niantic on an application featuring Pikmin for smart devices. It expects to release that in the second half of 2021.

Other software titles planned for global release later this year include “Mario Golf: Super Rush,” and “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD.” A new Pokemon game is planned for late 2021, according to Nintendo.

Nintendo is among companies that have thrived during the pandemic, which is wreaking havoc on the global economy overall.

Its Super Nintendo World theme park in Osaka, Japan, built with Universal Studios, opened in March after a delay due to the pandemic.

But it closed soon afterwards because Osaka is one of several areas under a state of emergency due to a surge of new coronavirus cases.

The state of emergency began last month and is certain to be extended beyond its May 11 end, as all such large-scale facilities are being asked to close.


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