Nintendo reported strong third fiscal quarter earnings for the three months ended December 31, with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fueling sales of the Switch video game console. But Nintendo still cut its forecast for the Switch in the fiscal year, saying it will now sell only 17 million Switch units by March 31, rather than 20 million.
The Switch had its best quarter in history, with 9.4 million consoles sold, up 30 percent from a year earlier. Sales of software were also good because of big holiday sales for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (12 million copies sold), Pokémon: Let’s Go (10 million copies), and Super Mario Party (5.3 million copies).
Quarterly operating profit was 158.6 billion yen, or $1.45 billion, up 36 percent from 116.5 billion yen a year earlier. Revenue was 608.4 billion yen, or $5.6 billion, in the quarter. Analysts had expected $1.31 billion in operating profit on revenue of $5.17 billion.
Since April, Nintendo has sold 14.5 million Switch consoles, but the first quarter (Nintendo’s fourth fiscal quarter) is usually a weak one for hardware sales. Overall, the Switch has sold 32.27 million consoles since launching it in March 2017. Overall, Nintendo has sold 163.6 million Switch games.
The Switch is a smashing success compared to the Wii U, which sold 13.56 million units and 102.7 million games over six years. The most successful Switch game to date is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which has sold 15 million copies.
Nintendo has quite a war chest. The company has $6.7 billion in cash as part of its $13.6 billion in current assets, with only $3.6 billion in total liabilities.
Nintendo delayed the launch of its mobile game based on Mario Kart, and it also recently said it was rebooting the whole development of Metroid Prime 4. Bayonetta 3 doesn’t have a launch date yet either. But this year, Nintendo plans on shipping Switch titles that include New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe (launched January 11), Yoshi’s Crafted World (coming March 29), Fire Emblem: Three Houses (spring 2019), Pokemon RPG (late 2019), Animal Crossing for Switch (2019), Luigi’s Mansion 3 (2019), Daemon X Machina (2019), DragonQuest Builders 2 (2019), and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (2019).