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Finding Success During the Crisis: Nintendo Sees Sales Jump

Erik Totten
3 min read
May 18, 2020

Japanese video-game manufacturer, Nintendo Co., has seen a surge in sales in recent months. Many of those sales have been for the popular Switch gaming platform and games that are for the Switch. Overall, Nintendo posted a 33% increase in annual profits in the last fiscal year.

Announced earlier this month, Nintendo sold 21 million, after forecasting 18 million, Switch units for the most recent fiscal year. In March alone, the Kyoto-based company sold more Switch consoles than they did during its 2017 launch. Additionally, March saw Nintendo sell more game consoles in a month than have been sold for any platform over the last 10 years.

“Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” a new game recently released for Switch, saw 13.4 million units sold in the first six weeks it was on sale. Those numbers make it the fastest-selling title for Switch, with it already outselling every other “Animal Crossing” game.

Although Nintendo has long been known for holding up well in times of crises, it’s not because Nintendo is recession-proof, but more about the market they exist in.

“It’s not that Nintendo [is] strong in a recession,” said Masashi Morita, an analyst at Okasan Securities. “It would be more accurate to say that the recession is irrelevant to them … even in a strong economy, boring products don’t sell.”

Nintendo isn’t the only gaming company to see an increase in sales. Both Sony, with their Playstation 4, and Microsoft’s Xbox One have seen sales soar in the last few months. In the third week of March, game console sales increased by 155%.

It should come as no surprise that stay-at-home orders and self-quarantining have created more demand for in-home entertainment. Since the early days of Atari and Pong, playing video games at home has gone together like peanut butter and jelly. Combine our new reality with video games’ built-in capability of playing at home and what you what get is increased revenue for many gaming companies.

However, even with surging revenue and sales, all is not rainbows and unicorns for Nintendo. There is concern at the company that their supply chain could be disrupted and that research and development could suffer.

“The situation regarding COVID19 is changing day-by-day around the world, so we will carefully monitor trends while continuing to gather information and taking the measures necessary to minimize the impact of these concerns,” the company said.

While many businesses around the world have taken extreme hits to their bottom line, some are proving more resilient. Consumer buying patterns are adapting to the new state of the world, and some businesses are benefiting from those changes. This is the first part in a series I’ll be writing this week covering businesses that are performing well during the COVID-19 pandemic.