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Nintendo Sells 21 Million Switch Consoles During the Pandemic

By Donna Fuscaldo - Updated May 7, 2020 at 1:05PM

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Driving the demand for Nintendo's Switch is its popular "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" game.

Thanks to shelter in place orders, Nintendo (NTDOY 1.21%) is seeing huge demand for its Switch game console, selling 21 million units during the quarter and blowing past its own projections for its more than three-year-old device. 

For its fiscal year ending on March 31, the Japanese gaming company said sales of Switch increased 24% from 16.95 million units shipped in its last fiscal year to 21 million units. Nintendo had previously forecasted it would sell 18 million Switch units.

A man playing a video game wearing a mask.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Demand was driven in large part by Animal Crossing: New Horizons, its latest game title, which has sold 13.4 million units since launching on March 20. For the fiscal year, Animal Crossing sold 11.77 million units. Digital sales of Nintendo games on a year-over-year basis were up 71.8%, accounting for 34% of the software sold. Since launching the Switch in March of 2017, Nintendo has shipped 55.7 million units of its Switch and Switch Lite consoles. 

Despite the strong showing for its fiscal year, the tech company joined a growing list of companies to warn about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on its operations. In its earnings release, Nintendo said that, while it looks like production and shipping issues are starting to recover, it could still have a hard time procuring certain components. The virus could also impact the consumption of its products and research and development if the current pandemic is prolonged or gets worse. As a result, Nintendo expects to ship 19 million Switch units for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2021. If Nintendo isn't able to beat that target, it could signal that Switch sales have peaked.

Donna Fuscaldo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Nintendo. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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