Nintendo’s third quarter earnings report released earlier today and contains a few notable pieces of information. Most of the report is relatively good news for the company as it looks to roll out the Switch in just a few weeks. The company now shows an operating income of over 26 billion yen, which is a big improvement over last quarter’s nearly 6 billion yen loss.
Most of this improvement is due to its move into the mobile market. The popularity of Pokémon GO increased sales of the 3DS Pokémon Sun and Moon games, as well as the 3DS systems themselves. Sales of 3DS hardware increased 10% over the same period last year while software for the system saw a 20% boost, thanks largely to the Pokémon GO effect and the release of Pokemon Sun and Moon. Empty shelves where 3DS systems used to be sold can attest that this sale uptick caught retailers and Nintendo a little off guard. The only hope the report can offer to continue this 3DS sales trend is to “continue the buzz” around the new Pokémon games and the million-selling Super Mario Maker for the system. Super Mario Sports Superstars is the only upcoming release highlighted in the report, which makes it seem like 3DS Pikmin is definitely getting pushed deeper into 2017.
The Wii U had no such lift in its sales as hardware continued to slump at 75% below last year’s levels, and game sales were similarly dire. Amiibo sales remained flat, mainly due to a lack of significant new products being released that use the figures.
The real bright spot is Nintendo’s big push into the mobile space, with Super Mario Run being their biggest bragging point; they continue to tout the forty million downloads in four days statistic instead of providing updated figures. The disappointment for them to some degree is they saw only roughly 5% of that convert into purchases of the full game. Looking ahead, they are releasing Fire Emblem Heroes for mobile on February 2nd and a port of Super Mario Run for Android in March. Supporting these releases (either from the development side or the promotional side is unclear) has pushed the Animal Crossing mobile game “into the next fiscal year", which puts it into at least April.
What are your thoughts on Nintendo moving into the mobile space now that it is clearly a big boost for their bottom line? Do you think they can continue to count on mobile game sales to carry them through if the Switch fizzles? Share your thoughts in the comments below!