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Nintendo (TYO:7974) reported only mild gains in operating profit and sales Thursday, as sales of its flagship Nintendo Switch continue to be strong, but the console begins to enter the last stages of its life and new revenue sources emerge.
The Japanese gaming giant said that for the last quarter profit was 168.7 billion Yen ($1.54 billion) versus 158.6 billion Yen a year earlier. Analysts were expecting 175 billion yen, according to polls provided by Refinitiv. Between March and December 31 2019, Nintendo says that its net sales were up by 2.5% on year, compared to an increase of 16.4% from a year earlier; Operating profit was up by 19.5% for the period, compared to 40.6% from the same time last year; Ordinary profit up 14% compared to 23.5% from the nine month period ending December 31 2018.
In raw numbers, Nintendo's quarterly profit is the highest its been in a decade, though growth is showing the first signs of stalling.
Nintendo said that sales of the Switch had hit 52.48 million. For the previous quarter, which included the key Black Friday and Christmas buying season in the US, as well as the official launch of the Switch in China, the company said it sold 7.58 million Switch consoles and 3.24 million Switch Lite consoles. All-in-all, this amounts to an increase of 15% year-over-year for hardware sales.
Nintendo says that by the end of the 2020 fiscal year, which wraps in March, it will sell 19.5 million Switch units bringing the total to 54.24 million units if that goal was achieved.
Compared to Nintendo's previous consoles the Switch has now sold better than the Wii U, Gamecube, N64 and SNES.
During the last nine months, Nintendo experienced a notable uptick in software sales driven by the launch of a number of key titles. Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield were both blockbusters selling 16.06 million units, while Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Super Mario Maker 2, both shipped over 5 million units. In total, Nintendo reports that 310 million copies of games have been sold.
For the sake of comparison, the Nintendo 3DS has sold 75.7 million units and 382.2 million copies of games as of December 31. The Switch is far more successful than the "lost generation" of the Wii U, which only sold 13.56 million units and 103 million games.
Nintendo says that digital game sales are becoming a new source of revenue for the company up 48% year-over-year for the reporting period ending December 31, 2019. Overall, digital revenue is 28.6% of Nintendo’s total software and services revenue, compared to 21.8% in the same period last year. Revenues from mobile have topped $1 billion, analyst firm Sensor Tower estimates.
Nintendo says the annual sales forecast remains unchanged at 1.25 trillion Yen.
As Wccftech previously reported, according to 13F filings for Nintendo's ADR there was a 45% drop in institutional holdings of Nintendo during the last quarter with a big sell-off occurring late in the year and in the early weeks of January.