This morning, Nintendo published their profit and sales for the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year. Anyone who has been following the Japanese gaming giant over the past few months will know it's been a huge year for Nintendo, whether in the medium of mobile gaming or more broadly onto the Nintendo Switch, their new console that is seemingly non-existent on store shelves. However, especially considering their dire fortunes this time last year, it's still surprising to see just how much profit Nintendo did manage to earn over the last quarter. Between April and June, the company exceeded predictions and generated 16.2 billion yen (approximately $145 million) in profit, with 9.1 billion yen (excluding 3.3 billion yen from Pokemon GO [Free]) of that sum coming from its smartphone business.

(Source: Bloomberg)

While the mobile gaming profits was down from 13.6 billion in the previous quarter, it marks a 450% increase from its paltry Q1 2017 earnings of around 3 million yen from Miitomo [Free], which can be largely accredited to the runaway success of their latest title Fire Emblem Heroes [Free]. As well as purely smartphone success, the company managed to sell 1.97 million Nintendo Switch units over the period, which adds up to a formidable 4.7 million units in lifetime sales. Considering the stock shortages that could have made this figure far larger in size, these numbers are mightily impressive, and in line with the sales of the DS and Wii in their first four months after release.

(Source: AAP)

All these stats are great, but what do they actually mean in practice? The most obvious one is that the Nintendo Switch and its console-handheld hybrid concept is one that is popular with a significant number of people. Considering its composition as a tablet with detachable controls either side of it, the success of the Nintendo Switch emphasises the feasibility of devices like the iPhone, iPad and even the Apple TV as serious 'hardcore' gaming devices. While you can point at the ridiculously popular IPs such as Zelda and Mario Kart for a proportion of the Switch's success, it still feels like Apple has missed a trick on not capitalising on this latent demand before Nintendo swooped in with their new console.

The other inference that can be made is in reference to Nintendo's future mobile gaming model. Despite its impressive download statistics, the Super Mario Run [Free] model is one that will likely never be revisited by Nintendo after the success of Fire Emblem Heroes and Pokemon GO. Nintendo did emphasise their rhetoric that Super Mario Run was mainly to bring the mustachioed plumber and their brand as a whole back into the public conscience, and perhaps the popularity of the game did play a part in the resulting success of the Switch, especially considering Super Mario Run's release on the periphery of the console's announcement. Ultimately, it's hard to draw a correlation between these two factors, and the only true assumption that can be made is that the upcoming Zelda and Animal Crossing iOS releases will likely not share the free to download and $10 IAP model that Super Mario Run possessed. However, the bottom line from all these statistics, is that Nintendo is doomed - don't let their unbridled and unprecedented success suggest otherwise.

[via Bloomberg & GoNintendo]

  • elekchron

    Er, why doomed? Bit of a cliff hanger, why don't you tell us?

    • Eli Hodapp

      Nintendo is doomed.

    • dancj

      Because someone somewhere on a message board says it is - and therefore it must be true!

      • dancj

        So is Apple, by the way.

  • Drizzt79

    Is it 2018 already?!

    • Rob Funnell

      In Nintendo's financial year, it is.

      • Drizzt79

        I don't get it. Clearly I'm no financial expert cause that just doesn't make any sense.

  • ItouchBrett

    Making a statement like Nintendo is doomed in bold? Not sure how I feel about his article. Or TouchArcade reviewing in general anymore. Look at the stories lately. I've seen maybe 2-3 reviews in the last 1-2 weeks. What's happening?

    • Lickzy

      Probably giving them too much credit there... 3 reviews this month, total.

    • Eli Hodapp

      People stopped reading reviews when most games went free. It takes less time to just try them yourself. Traffic stats show people are way more interested in news, guides, Twitch streams, and the other types of content we've been focusing on. When you're funded by a shoestring budget, you've got to be smart about where you spend those resources.

      The only real purpose reviews seem to serve anymore is giving people a reason to argue.

      • Luigi_Mario

        That's very disappointing. Reviews may get low view counts, but I check the site regularly mainly for reviews, and read the other content incidentally. I suspect many others feel the same. I've gone from checking out the site daily to just a couple times a week, and the lack of reviews are probably why.

      • Eli Hodapp

        We still review bigger premium games, but I'm with you. It's super disappointing the way content consumption on the internet in general is trending. I'm still working on replacing Carter, so review output should increase once that happens but there's not our main focus anymore at all. The fact remains, I can post ten "Hey this game is cool check this out" news stories in the time it takes me to write one review, and those ten stories will all individually perform better than the review will.

      • Milotorou

        Carter is gone ??? I did not even know ! What happened ?

      • Eli Hodapp

        He found a company that can pay him more than our Patreon can- Another reason I wish we could somehow convince more than 0.03% of the people who visit TouchArcade to support the site. If you care about game reviews, contributing to our Patreon is the best way to make them happen.

    • Shaun Musgrave

      Carter left, my day job became busier, and the two of us were by and large the only ones foolish enough to regularly take on what is basically the worst ratio of hours worked to dollars earned available around here. 😛

      • Gurney Halleck

        Your reviews and my watch list are the two main reasons I stick by this site. I'll go do the amazon prime thing with Twitch TV and send some more money your way. I like the other content, but i come across it more by accident. The time, detail, and depth you put in to your game reviews has been a big part of why I am an iOS gamer. Thank you for all the great content your create, and for sharing your insight into the mobile gaming experience, especially as it relates to RPG players of all walks. The one genre to rule them all!

  • Holcman

    In case nobody notices realizes... I'm pretty sure the "Nintendo is doomed" phrase is a joke related to how so many Nintendo critics would call their doom just for Nintendo to bounce back.

    • Holcman

      Just realized noticed I made a redundant phrase. Oh well.

    • Rob Funnell

      Bingo! Even beyond the joke, I'd hope the incessantly positive article plus the 'don't let their unbridled and unprecedented success suggest otherwise' would give it away, but *shrug*

  • blakedamon

    One thing Nintendo is doing wrong is not having enough supplies to keep up with demand on their mini classic consoles. Personally I don't understand Nintendo's plan to release classics with no intention of fulfilling demand.

    • curtisrshideler

      I agree. Nintendo fails to meet demand consistently. It's just missed profit.

    • korossyl

      There is, apparently, method to their madness. I don't get it either, but there are a number of articles that discuss why they might be doing it.

  • korossyl

    This article has made me so happy. I know that Nintendo ISN'T doomed, but it's sometimes hard to stay optimistic in the internet echo chamber. For instance, it had just "seemed" to me that Switch was kind of a flop. It's really super nice to have empirical data. Thanks!

    • Rob Funnell

      I totally agree - with all the horror stories of stock shortages, and the fact I live in both a country and an area that isn't particularly huge on games (I've seen one other Switch in the wild to date), it's easy to be sucked into the narrative that the situation isn't as rosy as it may seem. I'm equally glad that these stats disprove that, and hopefully it means Nintendo can keep on making profound and incredible experiences such as BOTW for many years to come 🙂

  • Talaen

    Doom... Doooooooom!!! *insert ghostly voice*

    Nintendo is off to a fantastic start with mobile and a new gaming system. The switch shortage has clearly impacted both system and game attach sales, so we can expect great momentum into the next quarter.

    However, Nintendo will make or break based on the future software both in mobile and the Switch. If Nintendo can translate additional IP into solid mobile experiences, it will continue to make strong revenue and reinforce brand awareness in a very strong way. If they find a way to cross pollinate between the platforms in some innovative way (using Amibos, codes, or something else) they could really build up a strong revenue pipeline. However, their Switch new game release pipeline through end of year isn't as strong as it could be (which isn't unusual for year 1 of a new system), but at least they have some strong heavy hitters out there in the form of Zelda and Mario.

    Great article, very informative with a toothbrush duh of humor at the end.

    • Rob Funnell

      My worry is them not meeting the demand before people get disinterested. I hope they can up their manufacturing game, as otherwise their software/hardware/marketing sides are all as strong as they've ever been, and it definitely looks positive for Nintendo, especially in an era that many assumed would be the death of dedicated gaming consoles. Definitely is a big few years ahead for them, but all signs look good for them to make the most of it! And thanks for the kind words 🙂

  • Chowderbatter

    I've been saying for years that Nintendo needs to go mobile.

    Fanboys screamed: "Noooooooo!"

    Now they have. Congratulations on joining us in the year 2017.

  • Chowderbatter

    $145 million profit is "unbridled and unprecedented success?"


    • OrangutanKungfu

      Also the highest share price since the days of the Wii, I believe. An entirely new and massive income stream from mobile. A console they literally can't produce fast enough, featuring one of the highest rated games of all time. And a "print money" SNES Classic round the corner. Yeah, they're doing OK.

      • Chowderbatter

        Well, they're profitable, so that's good. And doing okay? Agreed.

        I think the faithful are indulging in serious hyperbole when they characterize a recovery from prolonged decline and loss as anything more than a modest positive.

        -- Highest share price
        Yes, this is good. But it also means an upturn after almost a decade of decline.

        -- Massive income stream from mobile
        Hardly. But it's nice.

        -- Console they can't produce fast enough
        That's a failure of production. Not necessarily a sign of success. I know it gets spun that way, but it's still peanuts compared to mobile.

        -- Highest rated games
        Sure. Zelda is a winner by all standards. I'm even tempted to buy just for that one game. But the other more glaring side to that is it's just one game. That's a problem Nintendo has had many times before. A few good games, then nothing else.

        -- Print money SNES
        We know what happened with NES Classic. We'll see if Nintendo can avoid that.

        In the end, any profit is good and nice to see Nintendo on the path to health. But this is because they finally, finally, FINALLY were dragged to embrace mobile. If they make the mistake of pivoting back to their hardware strategy, they'll continue to sink. They have a nice little model where they sell hardware to the shrinking nostalgia market, but growth is in mobile.

  • Chai Chien Liang

    Fire Emblem Heroes has been really fun and they are always giving away orbs so f2pers like me who don't really spend on mobile games have some chances to get good units (have azura,chrom,sanaki,spring melon tiki as 5* draws) and also just got xander to 5* lvl 40 (camus will be my next ghb to get to 5* lvl 40 followed by Legion)