Nintendo reports 428% jump in profit as Animal Crossing wins over stay-home gamers

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Nintendo is displayed at Nintendo Tokyo, the first-ever Nintendo official store in Japan, at SHIBUYA PARCO department store and shopping mall complex, in Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 19, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Nintendo Co Ltd on Thursday reported a 428% jump in first-quarter profit, driven by ongoing demand for the Switch console and hit title Animal Crossing: New Horizons as the coronavirus outbreak boosts the games industry.

Operating profit for April-June was 144.7 billion yen ($1.37 billion). That compared with an average estimate of 71 billion yen from 12 analysts polled by Refinitiv SmartEstimate.

The firm sold 5.7 million Switch consoles in the first quarter.

Nintendo has proved a winner of the pandemic as stuck-at-home gamers flock to titles like Animal Crossing, with its stock price touching a 12 year high in July.

The Kyoto-based gaming firm maintained its sales forecast of 19 million Switch consoles in the current financial unit. Chief Executive Shuntaro Furukawa has said the boost from the coronavirus is transitory.

The games pipeline for the Switch is unusually bare. Nintendo said on Thursday it would release an enhanced version of Pikmin 3, originally released for predecessor console Wii U.

The pandemic has impacted Nintendo’s real-world plans, with Comcast Corp’s Osaka-based theme park Universal Studios Japan pushing back the opening of a Nintendo-themed land.

Rival Sony Corp on Tuesday posted a sharp rise in software sales for its aging PlayStation 4 console aided by titles like system exclusive The Last Of Us Part II, released in June.

Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Edmund Blair

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