Published: Fri, April 28, 2017
Industry | By Faith Ward

Hot Switch sales boost Nintendo sales, trim quarterly loss


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild shipped 2.76m units on Switch and 1.08m on Wii U, for a total of 3.84m units.

In the fiscal year that ended in March, Nintendo's profit jumped more than six times from the previous fiscal year to 102.6 billion yen ($924 million), up from 16.5 billion yen.

Meanwhile, the Nintendo 3DS sold 7.27 million units with a 7% increase on a year-per-year basis. Just in case you missed that, that's actually more copies of the game than there are Switch consoles now. The sales volume for hardware and software during this period reached 2.74 million units and 5.46 million units respectively. Despite several games releasing with heavy amiibo compatibility, sales were limited to 9.1 million figures and 9.3 million cards for the entire fiscal year.

The console-handheld hybrid sold more than 2.74 million units in March, better than the 2.4 projected by analysts and crushing the 2 million goal by Nintendo itself before the Switch launched.

Like games for PS4 and Xbox One, a new Switch title can cost as much as $60 (more for special edition versions). The holiday push could propel the Switch past the Wii U. All of the Switch sales hinge on whether Nintendo can keep the Switch in stock at retail stores, which it's struggle to do.

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But the popularity of one game - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - is believed to be a driver for numerous sales. And, unlike its two rivals which are sold as bundles with a game at those prices, Switch does not come with one. But if they are still releasing major titles that would bolster their new hardware on their older hardware, that is bad, and gamers will see that and respond accordingly.

Shown at the Game Developers Conference just prior to the Breath of the Wild release and then as part of a behind-the-scenes video series a few weeks later, it's unlikely that Nintendo's 2D prototype will make it into the public sphere in a playable format. Sales have actually increased over the a year ago, most likely due to popular titles like Pokemon Sun & Moon. The company's last console update failed to do the business, so Nintendo needed the Switch to succeed in a big way.

For Wii U, the system sold 760,000 units during the fiscal year, down 77 percent year-over-year. Super Mario Run was also mentioned, but no numbers were listed for the game. "But there is a concern that the sales could slow down quickly like the short-lived boom of Wii-U".

Analysts are more optimistic about Nintendo's earnings prospects than the company.

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