Nintendo profit jumps 39% on Switch software sales

FILE - In this Nov. 15, 31, 2018, file photo, shoppers standing on an escalator passes by the logo of Nintendo at an electronics store in Tokyo. Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co. is reporting a 39 percent rise in profit for the fiscal year through March, 2019, on healthy software sales for its popular Switch console.(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)

TOKYO — Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co. reported Thursday a 39% rise in profit for the fiscal year through March on healthy software sales for its popular Switch console.

The Kyoto-based company behind the Super Mario and Pokemon franchises recorded a 194 billion yen ($1.7 billion) annual profit. Annual sales rose 14% to 1.2 trillion yen ($10.7 billion).

Nintendo says popular Switch software included "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate," which sold 13.8 million units.

By quarter, Nintendo posted a profit of 25 billion yen ($223 million) for the January-March period, more than five times what it earned the previous year, on 203 billion yen ($1.8) quarterly sales, up 2%.

It expects to ship 18 million Switch devices the current year through March 2020, up from 17 million for the year just ended. The results for the year through March were 3 million fewer than the company had projected.

Switch is a hybrid game machine that works both as a console and a tablet. It went on sale about two years ago, but Nintendo said it continued to hope that new game software will continue to drive hardware sales.

Nintendo has been diversifying its business, including theme park facilities, merchandising and movies featuring its characters, hoping to cash in on its rich content.

It is also offering games for smart devices, such as "Pokemon Go."

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