Japan's Nintendo Co Ltd on Thursday said it expects to sell 24 million of its Switch games consoles in the year ending March 2021, up 26% from a previous forecast of 19 million, as a Covid-19 pandemic-driven gaming boom continues.
The Kyoto-based gaming company also revised its operating profit forecast up 50% to 450 billion yen ($4.31 billion) as titles like "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" bring new consumers to the Switch, which launched in 2017.
Operating profit for July-September alone more than doubled from same period a year earlier to 147 billion yen, Reuters calculations showed, with Nintendo reporting first-half operating earnings were 291 million yen.
Nintendo said it sold 12.5 million Switch devices in the first half of the financial year, comprising 8.4 million hybrid home-portable Switch consoles and 4.2 million portable-only Switch Lite devices.
Home of the perennial "Super Mario" franchise, Nintendo had been reluctant to hike forecasts despite blistering sales of its Switch system, saying the boost from stuck-at-home consumers may prove transitory.
The resolution of Switch production issues that affected the company earlier in the year fed into strong sales that prompted the forecast revision, Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa told reporters during an earnings briefing.
Lockdowns and curbs imposed around the world to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus mean entertainment options remain curtailed for many as consumers look toward the year-end shopping season, pointing to continued demand for gaming.
The Switch has continued to sell well into October, Furukawa said.
Sony Corp and Microsoft Corp will both release next-generation consoles next week, adding to competition for the mid-cycle Switch.
Sony's gaming chief said last week that pre-release demand for its upcoming console, the PlayStation 5, is exceeding expectations, with the tech giant raising its full-year forecast.
($1 = 104.3700 yen)