Nintendo swings to full-year profits

Nintendo on Thursday reported its earnings for the fiscal year ended March 31, showing profits that were boosted by a favorable exchange rate.

Nintendo on Thursday reported its earnings for the fiscal year ended March 31.

Sales were down 4 percent for the year to 550 billion yen ($4.6 billion), compared to last year, continuing Nintendo's trend of annual revenue decline. Profits were 42 billion yen ($351 million), better than the 23 billion yen net loss the prior year.

Kyoto-based Nintendo attributed the swing to profits to a more favorable exchange rate against the U.S. dollar. 75 percent of Nintendo’s sales come from outside Japan.

Exchange rates aside, Nintendo was able to gain some positive financial momentum thanks to some hit games. Major sellers for the company during the financial year were the 3DS games Pokemon Omega Ruby/Pokemon Alpha Sapphire (9.94 million) and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (6.75 million), as well as continued sales of Tomodachi Life, Mario Kart 7, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (all these had 2 million-plus additional sales each this year).

Wii U games that drove sales were Mario Kart 8 (5.11 million) and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (3.65 million).

Global software unit sales for the year for 3DS were 62.74 million, while global Wii U software sales were 24.4 million.

Annual software revenues for the year were up, albeit slightly, by 0.6 percent to 255.3 billion yen, but digital game revenue (which is part of this number) grew from 24 billion yen to 31.3 billion yen. That's notable because it shows physical game sales went down year-on-year, and that overall software growth was up thanks to digital game sales.

Hardware sales for the year included 3.38 million Wii U sales, and 8.73 million 3DS sales. Nintendo forecast current-year Wii U sales to stay relatively flat at 3.4 million. The company anticipates 3DS hardware sales to drop to 7.6 million.

Life-to-date 3DS sales stand at 52 million; Wii stands at 102 million; Wii U at 9.5 million.

Nintendo forecast sales of 570 billion yen for the current year, and profits of 35 billion yen.

Nintendo this year said it would enter a partnership with mobile game company DeNA to bring Nintendo games to mobile devices, a big move for a business that previously remained solely committed to selling its games on its own hardware.

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