Nintendo’s Kirby toys are displayed in the Nintendo store in New York. Picture: REUTERS/BRENDAN McDERMID
Nintendo’s Kirby toys are displayed in the Nintendo store in New York. Picture: REUTERS/BRENDAN McDERMID

Tokyo — Nintendo said on Tuesday that its net profit jumped by more than a quarter for the six months to September as blockbuster game titles from the Donkey Kong and Mario series helped boost demand for its popular Switch console.

But growth slowed in the July to September period, missing market expectations, with no major software releases during the quarter to drive sales.

The Kyoto-based game giant reported net profit for the six months to September of ¥64.6bn ($574m) on sales of ¥388.9bn, which were up 4%. For the year to March, it maintained its optimistic annual targets, expecting a net profit of ¥165bn on sales of ¥1.2-trillion.

“Nintendo Switch hardware continued to be quite popular, reaching 5.07-million units sold” in the April-September period, it said. The firm has set a target of 20-million units sold by the end of this fiscal year in March 2019.

Nintendo’s latest portable console the Switch has become a huge global seller, helped by the release of innovative, family-friendly titles that have wowed critics and gamers alike.

Software sales so far this year were driven by Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, which has sold well over a million copies since its release in May, while Mario Tennis Aces, released in June, has sold more than 2-million units.

“Sales of other popular titles released during previous fiscal years and titles released by other software publishers continued to grow, bringing the total number of million-seller titles during this period to nine,” Nintendo said.

Nintendo shares plunged 15% this month on concerns about its outlook as well as the recent global sell-off in tech stocks. “But Nintendo is still expected to stay on course for growth for the rest of the fiscal year as promising line-ups, including Pokemon Go-related titles, are coming up,” said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute in Tokyo.

“The result was within expectations as no major software was released” in this quarter, he told AFP.

Nintendo is hoping for hits with several new software titles coming out later this year, including Pocket Monster Let’s Go! Pikachu/Let’s Go! Eevee, following the success of its smash hit Pokemon Go.

Among other promising titles, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to be released in December, and Super Mario Party, which hit the shelves in October.

“Like its rivals, Nintendo’s full-year earnings greatly depend on performance in the year-end shopping season,” said Yasuo Imanaka, an analyst at Rakuten Securities in Tokyo. “We want to see whether the company can show results in December.”