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Nintendo Releases Third Quarter Fiscal 2020 Results

by Donald Theriault - February 1, 2021, 7:02 am EST
Total comments: 6 Source: Nintendo

It's not whether they can pass the 3DS in lifetime Switch sales, it's "did they pass the GBA?".

Nintendo released their financial results for the third quarter of the 2020-21 fiscal year overnight. All figures are based on the reporting period of October 1 - December 31, the key holiday shopping season.

All monetary figures reported in yen, with comparisons to the US dollar based on a market rate of $1 = ¥104.933 provided for comparison only.

Financial Results

  • Operating income: ¥229.674b (approximately US$2.189b), year-over-year increase ¥60.967b ($581m)
  • Ordinary income: ¥230.734b ($2.199b), YOY increase ¥42.046b ($400.7m)
  • Revenue: ¥634.939b ($6.05b), YOY increase ¥56.238b ($535.5m)
  • Digital sales: ¥84.5b ($805.3m), YOY increase ¥31.3b ($298.2m)
  • Mobile revenue: ¥15.3b ($145.8m), YOY decrease ¥1.7b ($16.2m)

Hardware Shipments

The Switch shipped 11.47 million units in the quarter for a new LTD total of 79.87m, which launches the Switch past the 3DS into fifth place all time for Nintendo's dedicated hardware. The next hardware milestone for the Switch is the GBA, which finished with total hardware sales of 81.51m. The breakdown was 8.34m Switches, 3.16m Switch Lites.

New Software Movement

A total of 75.85m units of Switch software were moved in the third quarter. Of those, Nintendo reported the following sales units for new titles in the holiday quarter:

  • Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Nov 20): 2.84m units (outside Japan only)
  • Pikmin 3 Deluxe (Oct 30): 1.94m units, highest selling Pikmin game ever
  • Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit (Oct 16): 1.06m units
  • Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light limited editions and Fitness Boxing 2 (published only outside Japan, Dec 4) did not reach 1m units sold.

Software Catalogue Highlights

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons shipped another 5.14m units in Q3, and now sits in comfortable second for Switch software sales at 31.18m units.
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was right behind with 4.42m units shipped in the quarter and a life-to-date of 33.41m.
  • Super Mario 3D All-Stars shipped 3.11m units and sits at 8.32m units with one quarter to go
  • Ring Fit Adventure shipped 2.84m units, bringing its LTD to 8.68m
  • The 20m Club on Switch added three members as Breath of the Wild (1.71m quarter, 21.45m overall), Pokemon Sword and Shield (1.33m quarter, 20.35m overall), and Super Mario Odyssey (1.24m quarter, 20.23m overall) joined Smash Ultimate (1.75m quarter, 22.85m overall)
  • Paper Mario: The Origami King crossed to 3.05m LTD, Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition updated to 1.48m and Clubhouse Games to 2.62m.

New Software Information

No new software information was provided: the latest announced date is for New Pokemon Snap and Bayonetta 3 / Metroid Prime 4 / the sequel to Breath of the Wild are still TBA.

Projections Increase

Nintendo having already met their hardware shipment, software shipment, and financial goals, have revised all of them upward: the company is now projecting 26.5m hardware shipments (previously 24m, the fiscal year total is 24.1m so far), 205m software units (previously 170m, current total 176.1m), and all financial projections (PDF link) have also been revised.


LemonadeFebruary 01, 2021

I was sad that 3DS never outsold GBA. It got close, but not close anough.

Spak-SpangFebruary 01, 2021

People judge Nintendo for their unique take on all age games.  But during the last year, Nintendo's bright colors and simple hopeful storytelling and games was just what the world needed. 

I truly hope Nintendo never changes because they really are one of the few companies that understands the value of this kinda of media. 

"King Gong" KhushrenadaFebruary 01, 2021

Quote from: Lemonade

I was sad that 3DS never outsold GBA. It got close, but not close anough.

I agree. Wish 3DS was higher. Nintendo's best handheld. (Although maybe that's now Switch but I play that more as a console.) I wonder if that first year is what held it back when sales slowed after launch and Nintendo discounted the price of the system to get it going. Seems like it gave the 3DS a negative impression for awhile and it took some time to shake that off and establish its reputation as a great system. If momentum doesn't stop and third parties suddenly freak then maybe it would have passed the GBA.

"King Gong" KhushrenadaFebruary 01, 2021

Quote from: Spak-Spang

People judge Nintendo for their unique take on all age games.  But during the last year, Nintendo's bright colors and simple hopeful storytelling and games was just what the world needed. 

I truly hope Nintendo never changes because they really are one of the few companies that understands the value of this kinda of media. 

Nintendo's all ages games have always been what's needed whether things were sunny or cloudy. I think that if Nintendo were going to do change that philosophy then they'd have done so by now. After 30 some years, I'd say they recognize the value of their approach and sticking to it even when armchair analysts and overaggressive fans think or demand they should change direction or cancel projects. Sticking to their guns has given them big success through the Wii, DS, 3DS and now Switch with only the Wii U as the outlier in the past 15 years. Why fix what isn't broken?

I'm reminded of a news article I read perhaps 16 years ago. It was talking about movies and asking why more film companies do not make many G rated movies because they are pretty much always successful and a license to print money. When you compare the amount of movies released in a calendar year that are rated G versus the amount rated R and then see then amount of money that G rated movies make compared to R rated films, it doesn't seem like a smart business decision to make so many films that will have lower and limited box office return on investment. The big factor for the discrepancy was attributed to the fact that R rated movies are usually viewed as more serious art or get more prestige from critics and awards whereas G rated movies are often seen as fluff and kid's stuff. Personally, I think the answer is more that it is harder to create G movies than an R movie. It's why you'll often seen more blue or vulgar comedians / stand up than family friendly. Yet, Nintendo's been able to navigate that space successfully and make stuff that is critically acclaimed and beloved while keeping things pretty family friendly. If you can claim that lucrative space, why ever give it up?

Ian SaneFebruary 02, 2021

I think Nintendo's all ages approach has been assisted by the passage of time.  Around the N64/Gamecube eras the "kiddy" label was the kiss of death.  But keep in mind that at that point kids who grew up with the NES were in their teens and early 20's, so they were at an age where they're very sensitive about appearances and peer pressure.  Children have always loved Nintendo and now you also have middle-aged gamers that want to play games with their kids.  Or even middle-aged people without kids are perfectly fine with playing whatever games look enjoyable to them, regardless of whether a 15 year old thinks it's "kiddy".  The demographics for videogames has expanded where there are now two generations of people that grew up with them.  When Nintendo was "kiddy" you were in big trouble if you didn't have the teenager demographic but now that's only a section of the full market.

StratosFebruary 03, 2021

Their unique take on all ages games have never been a problem. Its a specific part of their foundational design philosophy that is flawed. They do amazing work, but with an "our way or the highway" in terms of execution. Its why Breath of the Wild was so explosive in popularity. That was one major game that didn't punish you for wanting to do things differently than the designers intended, as opposed to games like Animal Crossing that punish people who want to collect it all or play efficiently, as there are dozens of little things that are done to hinder people from playing this way.

I saw a great youtube video breaking down the problem but can't seem to find it again.

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