Why Is the Nintendo Switch so Popular? Company Profits Triple Thanks to Record-Breaking Console

nintendo switch profit revenue popular
The Nintendo Switch game console is displayed at a pop-up Nintendo venue in New York City's Madison Square Park on March 3, 2017. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Japanese gaming giant Nintendo has reported its most profitable quarter since 2009, largely thanks to the success of its 10-month-old Switch console.

Profits for the three months ending in December soared 260 percent, to just over $1 billion, beating analyst expectations, Nintendo said on Wednesday.

“For the nine months ended December 31, 2017, the Nintendo Switch hardware sold well following the launch and sales volume rose substantially during the holiday season,” Nintendo said in a statement.

Revenue was also boosted by the sale of more than 47 million games for the console, as well as consistent sales for its 3DS handheld console.

Nintendo reported that Super Mario Odyssey was the best-selling game for the Switch, with global sales of more than 9 million units. Other popular games included Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which sold more than 7 million copies, and Splatoon 2, which sold almost 5 million copies.

Nintendo switch zelda games Since the launch of Nintendo's Switch, the company's market value has steadily risen. Nintendo/Handout via REUTERS

Nintendo revealed earlier this month that the Switch had beaten its own record for the fastest-selling gaming console in the United States, shifting close to 5 million units. The latest figures reported that 7.23 million Switches have now been sold since its launch last March.

“The momentum for Switch over the last 10 months has been stronger than that of the Wii,” Tatsumi Kimishima, the president of Nintendo, said in an earnings call. “Switch sales during the holiday season were stronger than expected in Japan, the United States and Europe.”

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The Switch follows the relative failure of the Wii U, which sold only 13 million consoles between its 2012 launch and 2016—almost 90 million less than its predecessor, the Wii.

When Nintendo announced the Switch in 2016, the firm claimed to have “reinvented gaming” with a console that also doubled as a tablet. At the time, investors were not convinced by these claims and the share price fell 6 percent immediately after.

But the console has proved all doubters wrong, and since its launch Nintendo’s market value has been steadily rising to reflect this.

Part of the Switch’s success can be attributed to its ability to attract non-gamers, and Kimishima said strong sales in 2018 would continue to depend on this.

Analysts also expect Nintendo to launch a Lego-style accessory called Labo, which would appeal to a younger audience.