Nintendo announced its highest annual profit in history on Thursday after virus lockdowns boosted sales of its successful Switch console, but the Japanese gaming giant warned that the year of the exceptional pandemic would be difficult to predict. repeat.
As new waves of infections have dashed recovery hopes across many industries, successive rounds of restrictions have helped extend the luck for video game companies as people seek out indoor entertainment.
The firm said the surge in sales was propelled by the skyrocketing popularity of the Nintendo Switch and the family game Animal Crossing, which has become a lockdown hit.
Net profit jumped 85.7% from a year earlier to 480.4 billion yen ($ 4.4 billion, or about 32,447 crore rupees) for the fiscal year through March, exceeding the company’s forecast of 400 billion yen.
It broke its previous profit record set in 2008-09, when it generated massive revenues from its Wii and DS consoles.
Sales rose 34.4% to JPY 1.76 trillion, Nintendo said, with 28.8 million Switch units sold – the highest number since the console, which can be portable or used with a TV. , launched four years ago.
But the Kyoto-based company is forecasting a tougher outlook for the current 2021-2022 fiscal year, projecting net profit of JPY 340 billion on sales of JPY 1.6 trillion.
“Regarding the risk associated with COVID-19 … product supply could be affected if production and shipments are hampered,” Nintendo said in a statement.
“In addition, product production could be affected by barriers to parts supply, including increasing global demand for semiconductor components,” he said.
The world is facing a shortage of chips, driven by increased demand for electronic devices during the pandemic and made worse by a fire at a Japanese factory and a drought in Taiwan.
“The global semiconductor shortage could hit the gaming industry hard this year as other essential industries such as the automotive sector wage a fierce battle over chips,” Yasuo Imanaka, analyst in Chips, told AFP. chief at Rakuten Securities.
Tricky fifth grade
The Switch was the best-selling console in the United States in 2020, a year that saw record sales of video games, consoles and accessories, according to NPD Group, a market research company.
Nintendo expects worldwide sales of 25.5 million Switch units for this fiscal year.
“Nintendo has made strong sales, taking full advantage of the lockdown demand,” Hideki Yasuda, analyst at the Ace Research Institute in Tokyo, told AFP before the results.
“I don’t think the outlook is so pessimistic, as Nintendo gained new game users during the pandemic,” he added.
The lower profit target comes as the Switch enters its crucial fifth year. Previously, sales of new Nintendo consoles tended to peak in the third year after release and then decline.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the last title in the Animal Crossing series, was released in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic pushed many countries to impose strict lockdowns.
The game sees players guide their digital characters around an uninhabited island, slowly transforming the landscape with a house, garden, and eventually a thriving community of adorable cartoon animal neighbors.
Its leisurely pace struck a chord with gamers around the world, many of whom yearned for a virtual escape from heavy movement restrictions.
Nintendo’s very first theme park, a Super Mario-themed area at Universal Studios Japan, also opened in March after months of pandemic delays, but was forced to close by new virus restrictions a bit over a month later.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: Which is the best “next generation” console in India? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.