Nintendo doubles profits with bumper Switch sales

1 Feb 2021

Image: © Andrey Armyagov/

Super Mario Bros and Animal Crossing remain popular titles for the gaming stalwart’s flagship device.

Nintendo has doubled its profits after seeing an upsurge in sales of its Switch console.

According to its latest financial report, which covers the last nine months of 2020, the Japanese gaming company sold 24.1m Switch units. It now expects to sell 26.5m in the full 12-month period, higher than previously forecast.

The company booked revenues of 1.4trn yen ($13.4bn) in the nine months ending 31 December. It reached 521bn yen ($4.98bn) in operating profit, double that of the year prior.

Switch sales remain strong for the company in the face of complaints about the device. Most recently, Nintendo was accused by a European consumer rights group of failing to address faults in the controller of the device, while there are a number of civil cases being taken in North America over the persistent problem.

Sales of the Switch and other gaming devices saw an upswing in the last quarter due to the Christmas spending period.

The last few months have seen the company capitalise on the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros, its star franchise, with a series of new game releases. Download-only content for the Switch, including Pokémon titles, was “steady”, pushing digital sales up 104pc.

“For the mobile business, many consumers continue to enjoy playing our mobile applications, and our mobile and IP-related income reached 42bn yen (an increase of 13.8pc year-on-year),” Nintendo said in its financial statement.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Animal Crossing: New Horizons are the two highest selling titles for the Switch, according to the company. “Titles released in previous fiscal years also retained momentum and continued to sell well, making significant contributions as drivers of hardware sales,” it added.

While Nintendo’s performance last year may have been boosted by a home entertainment boom related to the pandemic, it is also up against stiff competition from Xbox and PlayStation, which both released new consoles in late 2020.

Last month, Nintendo announced plans to acquire Canadian games studio Next Level Games. The Vancouver-based studio is already a close partner as it is the developer of the Luigi’s Mansion games.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin