Nintendo hikes profit forecast as Switch battles on

By Sam Nussey

TOKYO (Reuters) -Nintendo on Tuesday raised its operating profit forecast for the financial year ending March by 11% to 500 billion yen ($3.32 billion) as heavy-hitting franchises continued to attract gamers to its aging Switch console.

The Kyoto-based gaming firm has extended the lifecycle of the hybrid home/portable device, now in its seventh year in the market, through incremental hardware updates and software releases featuring its popular roster of characters.

Nintendo sold 6.84 million Switch units in the first six months of the financial year, a slight increase on the 6.68 million units it sold in the same period last year.

Critically acclaimed titles this year include “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom”, which went on sale in May, and “Super Mario Bros. Wonder” which launched in October.

Nintendo’s broad pop culture appeal has also been underscored by the success of a Super Mario Bros. movie.

Nintendo maintained its full-year forecast for the console of 15 million units, which would be a 16.5% decline on a year earlier.

The target is neither conservative nor aggressive but reasonable, Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa told reporters.

This year has been a stand-out one for the release of new games across the industry, after the pandemic caused widespread disruption to development.

“Tears of the Kingdom” has sold 19.5 million copies as at September-end, Nintendo said. The company raised its full-year software forecast by around 3% to 185 million units.

Nintendo’s line-up for the critical year-end shopping season will likely also be bolstered by some new additions including “Super Mario RPG”, which launches on Nov. 17.

($1 = 150.3800 yen)

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by David Dolan and Christopher Cushing)