Nintendo has released its financial statements for fiscal 2016. One of the most fascinating pages comes at the very end where they reveal how many hardware units and pieces of software were sold for each machine. They also forecast what they expect to sell over the next 12 months (April 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018). It’s not uncommon for companies to sort of lowball this number so they don’t have to revise forecasts down in later months. Let’s get to the numbers!
First up, let’s go right to the Nintendo Switch, since that’s the latest and greatest from Nintendo and the data most people are interested in. It turns out that the Switch sold a staggering 2.74 million units from March 3, 2017 through March 31, 2017. 600,000 went to Japan, 1.2 million went to North America, and 940,000 went to Europe and other parts of the world. This is much higher than Nintendo’s original forecast of 2 million for the month, and bodes well for the longevity of the Switch. Nintendo has forecast to sell 10 million more Switches from April 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018. Assuming that happens, the Switch will have almost outsold the Wii U’s life-to-date final numbers (which stand at 13.56 million) in about 13 months on the market.
On the software side Nintendo sold 5.46 million pieces, of which 890,000 were in Japan, 2.86 million were in North America and 1.71 million were sold in Europe and other areas of the world. Nintendo is estimating that it will sell 35 million Switch games from April 1, 2o17 through March 31, 2018. This is a massive number of titles to shift, which means it has high confidence in its game lineup. Perhaps that much-rumored Pokémon game really will come out this year?
Moving over to the 3DS, it’s still chugging along quite well. It actually managed to sell more this past year than the year prior, which is unusual for a device this long in the tooth. Nintendo sold 7.27 million systems: 1.99 million in Japan, 2.55 million in North America, and 2.73 million in Europe and other areas of the world. They have sold a total of 66.12 million 3DS systems since it launched back in 2011. From April 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018 they estimate they will sell an additional 6 million 3DS consoles.
Not too surprisingly, software sales on the 3DS were higher this past year than the prior as well. Pokémon Sun & Moon had a lot to do with this, selling an amazing 15.44 million copies between November 18, 2016 and March 31, 2017. Total software sold on 3DS amounted to 55.08 million, pushing the life-to-date number up to 329.25 million. For the next fiscal year Nintendo estimates that they will sell another 40 million games.
Operating results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017
Nintendo Switch, a new home console system that diversifies the ways you can play games, launched during this period on March 3
worldwide and is off to a promising start. In particular, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has won immense popularity with recorded sales of 2.76 million units (the total units sold including the Wii U version is 3.84 million units) and 1-2-Switch has been generating buzz. Both of these games were released at the same time as the hardware. The sales volume for hardware and software during this period reached 2.74 million units and 5.46 million units respectively.
Sales volume for the Nintendo 3DS software also grew favorably. In addition to Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, which released worldwide in November and generated a tremendous amount of buzz with recorded sales of 15.44 million units, Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS sold 2.34 million units and Kirby: Planet Robobot sold 1.36 million units. The release of the smart device application Pokémon GO led to increased sales of software in the Pokémon series and drove the Nintendo 3DS family hardware sales growth outside of Japan. The worldwide sales volume for the Nintendo 3DS hardware this period was 7.27 million units (7% increase on a year-on-year basis), while the Nintendo 3DS software sales volume reached 55.08 million units (14% increase on a year-on-year basis).
For Wii U, while The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild released worldwide in March and reached sales of 1.08 million units, the Wii U software sales volume during this period was 14.8 million units (46% decrease on a year-on-year basis) and hardware sales were in alignment with our expectations at the start of the fiscal year, decreasing to a sales volume of 760 thousand units (77% decrease on a year-on-year basis).
On the smart device front, we released Super Mario Run, a new action game application featuring Mario, in December for the iOS and March for the Android. This title elicited a fantastic response from consumers worldwide. Furthermore, we released Fire Emblem Heroes, a full-fledged simulation RPG game application that can be enjoyed casually on smart devices, in February. The game is being enjoyed by both long-time fans of the Fire Emblem series and consumers who have never played the series on dedicated video game systems.
The Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition also launched in Japan and overseas in November to widespread popularity. Although the release of some new titles offering amiibo functionality restored some momentum, amiibo sales remained limited to 9.1 million units for figure-type and 9.3 million units for card-type. In addition, there were relatively fewer offerings of downloadable content during this period, so digital sales were also down to a large extent on the same period last year.
These factors resulted in an operating profit of 489.0 billion yen against net sales of 29.3 billion yen (of which 359.0 billion yen, or 73.4% of the total sales, were overseas sales). We have also included 50.3 billion yen share of profit of entities accounted for using the equity method related to The Pokémon Company and other investments, resulting in an ordinary profit of 20.2 billion yen. In addition, due to the sale of part of our equity in the company that manages the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball team, we recorded gain on sales of investment securities totaling 64.5 billion yen as extraordinary income, meaning that the net profit attributable to owners of parent was 102.5 billion yen.