Booming Switch sales – buffed by big launches for Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Pokémon Sword and Shield – have provided a stonking set of new financial figures for Nintendo.
But there’s a cautious feeling for the second half of this year – as game development schedules “may be impacted” due to remote working, Nintendo told investors, while a weaker software release slate will make for tougher year-on-year comparisons without a new Pokémon or Animal Crossing this Christmas.
Nintendo shifted a further 21m Switch consoles worldwide, up 24 per cent year on year, boosting the Switch’s lifetime hardware sales total to 55.77m.
Software-wise, 169m Switch games were sold over the past year – up 42 per cent year on year. Total Switch game sales now stand at 356m.
Pokémon Sword and Shield sold a combined 17.37m copies – one of the best sales totals for any pair of Pokémon launches. As we reported in January, the games are on track to eventually become the second biggest Pokémon titles to date behind Game Boy classics Gold and Silver.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons, meanwhile, sold 11.77m copies in just 12 days until the end of March, when figures for this round of financial reporting cut off. It’s a stratospheric launch and one that makes it the fastest-selling Switch game to date.
Across the board, Nintendo software sold well – with 18 games shifting more than a million copies in the past 12 months. Evergeen giants Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (24.77m lifetime sales) and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (18.84m lifetime) continued to swell their sales totals.
Nintendo is yet to date any software for Switch beyond this summer, though plans for the company’s release of a slate of Mario games old and new to celebrate Super Mario Bros.’ 35th anniversary in September leaked online last month. Eurogamer also understands Nintendo has pushed back its regular June E3 announcement livestream until later in the summer while it works through the difficulties of adjusting to remote development.
“If the effects of COVID-19 are prolonged or worsen further, development schedules may be impacted due to the difference in development environments between working from home and in the office,” Nintendo told investors. “In particular, the impact to overseas subsidiaries and other affiliated companies involved in development is anticipated to be even more difficult to predict than within Japan.
“As a result of these factors, we may not be able to proceed with the release of Nintendo products and the start of services as planned. This is also true for other software publishers, so it may not be possible to provide game content on Nintendo platforms as planned.
Nintendo also cautioned of the impact of lockdown on consumer spending, with people unable to get to retail stores, and potentially unwilling to spend as much due to the impact of a global recession.