Nintendo profits soar as people play more games during pandemic

An employee stands next to a screen displaying Nintendo game character Mario at a Nintendo store in Tokyo on November 5, 2020. (Photo by BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images)

Nintendo, the Japanese company behind Super Mario and Pokemon video games, reported Thursday that its fiscal first half profit more than tripled as passed time while stuck at home during the pandemic playing games.

Kyoto-based Nintendo Co.’s profit for the six months through September soared to 213 billion yen ($2 billion), up from 62 billion yen a year ago. Six-month sales soared to 769 billion yen ($7.4 billion) from 444 billion yen.

Nintendo said more than 5 million units of “Super Mario 3D All-Stars” game software for the Nintendo Switch were sold during the period, and nearly 3 million units of “Paper Mario: The Origami King” were sold.

Earlier releases also continued to sell briskly, including “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” which has now sold a cumulative 26 million units globally, according to Nintendo.

Nintendo’s online downloads and mobile sales also did well, it said.

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Nintendo said it expects the positive results to continue. The latest in its other hit game lineup, such as “Pikmin 3 Deluxe," will go on sale this year, it said.

Nintendo raised its full year profit forecast through March to 300 billion yen ($2.9 billion), up from an earlier projection of a 200 billion yen ($1.9 billion) profit. The latest forecast, if realized, would mark a 16% improvement from 259 billion yen in profit recorded in the previous fiscal year.

Although rising COVID-19 cases have hurt large chunks of the global economy, including Japan’s, some sectors, such as online retailing and at-home entertainment, are booming.