Nintendo hikes annual Switch sales forecast to 24 million units as pandemic boosts home gaming

FILE PHOTO: An event employee of Nintendo attends the presentation ceremony for the Switch game console in 2017
FILE PHOTO: An employee attends Nintendo's presentation ceremony for its Switch game console in Tokyo, Japan January 13, 2017. Picture taken January 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

November 5, 2020

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Nintendo Co Ltd on Thursday hiked the sales forecast for its hit games console Switch to 24 million devices in the year ending March 2021 from 19 million previously, as the COVID-19 pandemic boosts consumer spending on home gaming.

The jump in the sales forecast came as the Kyoto-based gaming company reported operating profit for April-September tripled to 291.4 billion yen ($2.8 billion) from 94 billion yen in the same period a year earlier.

Nintendo, home of the perennial “Super Mario” franchise, had been reluctant to hike forecasts despite blistering sales of its Switch system, saying the boost from stuck-at-home consumers may prove transitory.

But lockdowns and curbs imposed around the world to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus mean entertainment options remain curtailed for many as consumers look toward the year-end shopping season, pointing to continued demand for gaming.

Sony Corp and Microsoft Corp will both release next-generation consoles next week, adding to competition for the mid-cycle Switch, which launched in March 2017.

Sony’s gaming chief said last week that pre-release demand for its upcoming console, the PlayStation 5, is exceeding expectations, with the tech giant raising its full-year forecast.

($1 = 104.3800 yen)

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)