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Nintendo reports 428 percent surge in profits, thanks to lockdown gaming boom

Nintendo's “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” quickly became a hit as players looked for a form of escapism while stuck indoors.
Image: Nintendo
Attendees line-up at the Nintendo booth at E3 in Los Angeles, Calif., on June 12, 2019.Mike Blake / Reuters file
/ Source:

Nintendo’s operating profits skyrocketed 428 percent in the fiscal first quarter, the company said Thursday, a wild jump that reflects just how much the video game industry has benefited from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Japanese gaming giant reported operating profit of $1.4 billion in the April-June quarter, smashing analyst expectations and representing a massive climb from the same quarter last year.

Net sales were up an impressive 108 percent, with sales of the company’s popular Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite consoles growing by around 167 percent to 5.68 million units in the quarter.

The numbers highlight the boom in demand for gaming during coronavirus lockdowns. Big game publishers like Activision Blizzard and Take-Two Interactive have reported solid results this week.

Nintendo in particular has gotten a boost from the pandemic. Its “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” title released in March quickly became a hit as players looked for a form of escapism while stuck indoors.

The company has now sold 22.4 million copies of the social simulation game, with units almost doubling from the previous quarter and surpassing sales of “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” which was released in 2018. Digital sales of software climbed about 230 percent for Nintendo and accounted for about 56 percent of total software sales.

Japanese peer Sony reported a 1 percent drop in profits in its first-quarter results earlier this week, also beating analyst expectations. Despite that decline, the company also got a boost from gaming, with game sales climbing 82 percent year-on-year to 91 million units. Of the total number of games sold, a record 74 percent was from digital downloads.