Nintendo's third quarter profit jumps on Pokemon game sales
Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co.'s third-quarter profit more than doubled from a year earlier on healthy sales of Pokemon game software, the company said Tuesday.
Nintendo, which makes Super Mario games and will start selling the Switch console March 3, reported a better-than-expected October-December profit of 64.7 billion yen ($569 million), up from 29.1 billion yen in the same period of 2015.
Kyoto-based Nintendo raised its full year profit forecast to 90 billion yen ($792 million) from an earlier 50 billion yen ($440 million). That would mark a more than five-fold increase from what it earned the previous fiscal year.
It kept its sales forecast unchanged at 470 billion yen ($4.1 billion). Nintendo's quarterly sales slipped 21 percent to 174.3 billion yen ($1.5 billion).
Nintendo's bottom line also was helped by a relatively weak yen, which lifts the overseas revenue for Japanese companies like Nintendo that do much of their business abroad.
Nintendo has a lot riding on the Switch, the new game system that combines a portable hand-held device with a dock to use at home, and comes with detachable controllers. Although new machines tend to sell briskly at first, it's difficult to maintain sales momentum.
Nintendo's previous devices struggled against competition from smartphones and other mobile devices, which also offer entertainment.
The company said in a statement the success of the "Pokemon Go" augmented-reality game for smartphones last year led to bigger Pokemon game sales for Nintendo's own portable 3DS machine in recent months.
After resisting switching to games on cellphones for years, fearing that could erode sales of its own consoles, Nintendo made its big push into mobile with "Super Mario Run" for the iPhone, which launched late last year.
At first, it was a big hit but the interest has quickly fizzled out. Nintendo said an Android version of the game will become available in March.
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