Nintendo reported a 428pc surge in profits as people turned to gaming for entertainment and distraction during Covid-19.
Back in March, when it became clear that the only way to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 was to remain at home and limit close contacts, many people turned to video games to entertain themselves and keep in contact with others. Now, we are beginning to get an idea of the gaming boom caused by the pandemic.
Today (6 August), Nintendo shared its latest quarterly earnings report and while many expected increased sales of the Nintendo Switch console, few may have anticipated the company’s 428pc surge in profits.
The Japanese company reported an operating profit of 144.7bn yen ($1.4bn) from April to June, far exceeding analyst expectations and representing a sharp increase from the 27.4bn yen the company reported in the same quarter last year.
The impact of Animal Crossing
In March, after several delays, Nintendo released Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which was the latest game in a series that dates back to the company’s Nintendo 64 console.
The latest Animal Crossing title became the distraction of choice for many people in the early days of Covid-19 restrictions, due to the game’s charm and laidback, escapist theme – which was in stark contrast to the world around it at the time of its release.
In its earnings report, Nintendo said that of all the new Switch consoles that were played for the first time in this quarter, more than half played Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the first day.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons has sold 22m copies so far, marking a significant jump compared to the sales of the last Animal Crossing title, which sold 12.45m copies after its release in 2012.
This makes it the most popular game in the series to date, and the second best-selling Switch game of all time behind Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Nintendo Switch consoles have also proved popular in recent months, with 5.68m units sold in the latest quarter. Sales of the Nintendo Switch and the Switch Lite were up 167pc compared to the same quarter last year.
Digital sales on Switch software climbed 230pc in the quarter and accounted for more than half (56pc) of Nintendo’s software sales.