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Japan's Nintendo Profits Jump

Game sales got a boost from the hit Super Mario movie.

A Nintendo sign is seen outside Nintendo's official store in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020.
A Nintendo sign is seen outside Nintendo's official store in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020.
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

TOKYO (AP) — Nintendo reported an 18% rise in net profit for its first fiscal half on Tuesday, as sales continued to get a boost from its hit Super Mario movie, and the popularity of its software for various new video games.

April-September profit at Nintendo Co., which didn't break down quarterly results, totaled nearly 271.3 billion yen ($1.8 billion), up from 230 billion yen a year earlier. Sales surged 21% to 796 billion yen ($5.3 billion).

Demand remained strong for Nintendo Switch game software, which got a healthy lift from the film starring the jumping plumber, "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."

Among the games that sold well as a result of the film was "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe," which sold 3.2 million units during the period, for cumulative sales of 57 million games, Nintendo said.

This year's Super Mario movie is one of the top-selling animation films on record, second only to "Frozen II," and the top animation film based on a video game.

Also helping lift results was the popularity of "The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom" game, released in May. The latest in the hit action-adventure series, it sold 19.5 million units worldwide.

Hardware sales climbed to 6.84 million machines, including various Switch models, from 6.68 million the previous year, for total cumulative sales of 132.5 million.

Nintendo expects to sell 15 million machines for the fiscal year through March 2024, including sales over the crucial Christmas and New Year's shopping season.

Ahead of the holidays, Nintendo is planning to release the "Super Mario RPG" game software and Pokemon games.

Nintendo's software sales grew in the fiscal half to 97 million games from 95 million.

Also popular in its recent game lineup was "Pikimin 4," which went on sale in July. Nintendo is urging every household to buy several Switch consoles, not just one, so family and friends can play together.

Nintendo, based in Kyoto, started selling "Super Mario Bros. Wonder" last month, as the first totally new Super Mario series game played in side-scrolling mode in more than a decade.

It's hoping to get a boost from other software makers releasing games for Nintendo machines. "We will work to invigorate the platform by supplementing existing titles with a continuous stream of new titles and add-on content," said Nintendo.

Nintendo raised its full fiscal year profit forecast to 420 billion yen ($2.8 billion) from the 340 billion yen ($2.3 billion) estimate it gave in May. The new projection is still 3% lower than what was recorded the previous fiscal year, when at-home entertainment companies like Nintendo benefited from people staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The weak yen, which boosts the overseas earnings of Japanese exporters, is another plus for a company like Nintendo. It said it's expecting the U.S. dollar to trade at 140 Japanese yen, up from 130 yen. The U.S. dollar has recently been trading at about 150 yen.

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