TOKYO (AFP) – Japanese gaming giant Nintendo said yesterday its first-half net profit soared 243.6 per cent on-year as it upgraded its full-year sales and profit forecasts, with coronavirus lockdowns driving extraordinary demand.
The gaming industry has been one of the few sectors to thrive during the pandemic, with people forced to stay at home often turning to games for some escapism and to pass time.
That has translated into soaring sales and demand, with Nintendo saying its bottom line profit jumped to JPY213.1 billion (USD2.0 billion) for the six months to September.
Sales climbed 73.3 per cent to JPY769.5 billion, with demand for its popular Switch console showing no sign of dying down as the device enters the crucial fourth year since its launch.
Nintendo’s new console sales have tended to peak in the third year after release, and then taper off.
With the holiday season approaching, and a new wave of infections forcing governments in Europe and elsewhere to reinstate lockdowns, Nintendo upgraded its net profit forecast to JPY300 billion for the fiscal year to March 2021 from an earlier estimate of JPY200 billion.
Full-year sales now are projected at JPY1.4 trillion, compared with JPY1.2 trillion forecast earlier.
Nintendo is seeing “another blow-out quarter”, said strategist Amir Anvarzadeh at Asymmetric Advisors, calling the results “a major pandemic-led positive distortion”.
“We will have three Christmas quarters in one term,” he added, because of the unusually high demand associated with the pandemic.
The brisk results come on the back of runaway success of the Switch and Nintendo’s hit Animal Crossing game.
The leisurely game has struck a chord with players around the world, many of them enjoying a virtual release from the restrictions on movement and social activity imposed to contain coronavirus.
“Nintendo’s Animal Crossing appeared to have hit a peak but it remains chart-topping,” analyst Hideki Yasuda at Ace Research Institute in Tokyo, told AFP ahead of the results.