February 2, 2018
Nintendo enjoyed a significant jump in profit with strong sales of its Switch console, unveiled on March 3, and affiliated software. The company, based in Kyoto, reports it sold 7.24 million Switch units in Q4 2017, bringing total sales since its debut to 14.86 million. One reason for the leap was that Nintendo ensured that stores had plenty of Switch consoles to sell over the holiday shopping season, following shortages during the summer. But, says the company, demand still outstrips supply.
The Wall Street Journal quotes chief executive Tatsumi Kimishima that strong Switch sales globally were “better than what we had anticipated.” To sell an anticipated three million units this quarter and 20 million for fiscal 2018 (which begins in April), Kimishima said the company “wanted to appeal to a wider range of customers, including children, their parents and hard-core gamers.”
Nintendo also announced its “Nintendo Labo,” a DIY kit to turn the Switch console into a piano keyboard. More such inventions — as well as peripheral hardware devices — are reportedly “on the way.”
In Q4, Nintendo surpassed analysts’ expectations with operating profits of ¥116.5 billion ($1.1 billion) on revenue of ¥483 billion, up from ¥32 billion profit on ¥174 billion revenue a year ago. For the full fiscal year, which ends March 31, Nintendo “forecast it would top ¥1 trillion in revenue for the first time in seven years.”
Switch games are also increasing revenue, with “Super Mario Odyssey” selling more than “nine million copies in about two months.” Nintendo had earlier forecast it would sell 50 million Switch games in fiscal 2017, but that number has now risen to 53 million. That’s also good news for third-party game makers. Capcom Co. chief financial officer Kenkichi Nomura said, “gamers welcomed the Switch’s portability, which enables it to be played on the go as well as in the living room.”
Engadet reports that Nintendo’s new Switch Online service will debut in September, about a year after gamers expected it. Until then, it notes, Nintendo didn’t reveal much information except that, “it will remain free to use until the official launch.” In addition, users will have access to archived titles, and Switch Online will cost $20 per year. Nintendo also announced that, “with the Wii Shop channel scheduled to close in a year, it will stop letting owners add Wii Points to their account on March 26th.”