Nintendo Switch sales surge as coronavirus keeps consumers at home, gaming

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Nintendo Co. beat its own forecast for sales of the Switch console in the last fiscal year, reflecting surging demand for games and other entertainment as people spend more time at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nintendo sold 21 million units of the Switch in the year ended in March, ahead of its estimate of 19.5 million. The Kyoto-based games maker reported operating profit of 89.5 billion yen ($842 million), compared with 29.7 billion yen a year earlier.


The Japanese gaming giant said it expects to sell 19 million Switch consoles and 140 million copies of Switch games in the current fiscal year.

The company warned that Switch production may suffer if the pandemic’s effects are prolonged, however it said the effects of the outbreak on its results in the last fiscal year were limited. Some services and software releases may have to be delayed if the virus persists, the company said.

Nintendo is benefiting from the rocketing popularity of its Animal Crossing: New Horizons game, which has been its fastest-selling hit, reaching 13.4 million sales in its first six weeks since launching in March. Arriving at a time when people were looking for ways to connect with friends while staying at home, the game has proven a haven from the outbreak.

Animal Crossing’s popularity has made the Switch hard to find almost everywhere in the world. The company asked suppliers to boost Switch production to about 22 million units for the current fiscal year, Bloomberg News reported in April. Still, a lack of components across the manufacturing sector could weigh on the company’s plans, while demand may subside once COVID-19 fears recede.

Rivals Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. both plan to launch their new-generation consoles with attractive game titles for the holiday shopping season. Nintendo said earlier this year it doesn’t plan to release any new hardware this year.

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