Nintendo profits up on healthy Switch demand for Christmas

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FILE – In this July 30, 2019, file photo, a Super Mario figure is displayed at a showroom in Tokyo. After months of being tight-lipped, Comcast executives on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, said the fourth park at Universal Orlando would be based on characters from Nintendo. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)

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TOKYO (AP) — Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co. reported Thursday a 29% rise in quarterly profit, as its earnings got a lift from solid demand for the Switch console during the year-end shopping season.

Kyoto-based Nintendo’s October-December profit totaled 134 billion yen ($1.2 billion), up from 104 billion yen the same period a year earlier.

It raised its full year Switch sales forecast to 19.5 million machines, up from 18 million projected earlier.

The Switch is a hybrid game machine that works both as a console and a tablet. More than 52 million Switch consoles have been sold since sales began about three years ago.

That number includes the handheld Switch Lite, launched in September, which is a compact and lightweight version, meant for on-the-go playing.

Nintendo, which makes Super Mario and Pokemon games, said Switch game software like “Pokemon Sword” and “Pokemon Shield” have sold briskly, as well as “Luigi’s Mansion 3” and “Super Mario Maker 2.”

It also said Nintendo Switch sales in China, which began recently, also helped results.

Nintendo said it will continue to offer games for mobile devices, not just its own consoles like the Switch and 3DS, to attract more consumers.

Income from its mobile operations rose nearly 11% over the nine months through December, compared to the previous year, according to Nintendo.

Nintendo is also branching into other businesses, such as its own branded stores, an event space in Tokyo which has already opened and a Nintendo park set to open at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, central Japan, later this year.

The company hopes to cash in on its rich content with products like Pikachu dolls and other merchandise featuring Nintendo characters.

Nintendo raised its annual profit forecast to 210 billion yen ($1.9 billion), up 8% from the previous year, and better than an earlier projection for 180 billion yen ($1.7 billion) profit.

It kept unchanged its sales forecast for the fiscal year through March at 1.25 trillion yen ($11 billion), up 4% on year.

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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