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Nintendo sales up thanks to Animal Crossing’s success, Switch demand

Nintendo sold 13.41 million copies of Animal Crossing: New Horizons in its first six weeks. The company expects to sell 19 million Switch consoles this year.

Japanese video-game maker Nintendo Co. has scored a 33% jump in annual profit as people stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic turn to playing games.
Japanese video-game maker Nintendo Co. has scored a 33% jump in annual profit as people stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic turn to playing games. (AP)

Nintendo on Thursday published sales report for the fiscal year that ended on March 31. The company revealed it had sold 55.7 million units of Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite consoles so far. About 21 million units of the total sales happened in the last year, exceeding its own and analysts' projections.

Overall, the company reported sales of $12.31 billion. This is slightly higher than $11.30 billion it had reported last year. Nintendo, unlike other tech firms, also gave a forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021.

Nintendo, however, warned that sales may take a hit due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation. It confirmed that it has been gradually recovering after production and shipments suffered delays due to the pandemic.

"It appears that delays in production and shipping are gradually recovering," the company said in its earnings. "However, we may be affected if there continue to be issues involving the procurement of necessary components. In addition, if the impact of COVID-19 is prolonged or worsens further, it may disrupt the product supply."

The company shared a conservative estimate of $11.29 billion in sales for the coming year. It expects to sell 19 million of Switch consoles and 140 million copies of Switch games. This is lesser than what it reported this year, but it's not a big hit considering the economic disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic around the world.

While Switch sales have been on par, the real game-changer Nintendo has been the Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The viral game sold 13.41 million copies in the first six weeks of its launch. The company also had a success with Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield which sold about 17.37 million units on the Switch. Nintendo said that Luigi's Mansion 3 and Super Mario Maker also did well in terms of sale.

"Fiscal year 2020 software sales, if normal conditions, should be at least 180 million to 200 million. The 140 million figure could be a sign from Nintendo that there would be release delays of major titles," said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute told Bloomberg.

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