Anticipation for a successor to the hugely popular Switch is running high

Tokyo (AFP) - Nintendo said Tuesday it will make an announcement about a highly anticipated new console by the end of March 2025 as sales decline of the hugely popular Switch, which is now in its eighth year.

Despite logging a record net profit in the year to March, helped by the weak yen, the game giant expects net profit to drop nearly 40 percent in the current financial year.

Players and investors have been hungry for news about a successor to the Switch, and the Japanese company said a statement was finally forthcoming.

“We will make an announcement about the successor to Nintendo Switch within this fiscal year,” said a post on social media platform X that was attributed to company president Shuntaro Furukawa.

Nintendo said net profit in 2023-24 totalled 490 billion yen ($3.2 billion) – beating its previous record of 480 billion set three years ago, when the Switch became a must-have gadget to pass time during pandemic lockdowns.

“Good sales were posted for ‘The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’,” it said, adding that new titles in the “Super Mario Bros” and “Pikmin” series had also performed well.

The “Super Mario” movie helped sell games from the Mario franchise and there was a “substantial increase in foreign exchange gains and interest income”.

The yen has been on a downwards slide, boosting profits for companies such as Nintendo that sell goods overseas.

But the firm expects net profit to drop nearly 40 percent to 300 billion yen in the current financial year.

Hardware sales for 2023-24 totalled 15.7 million units, down nearly 13 percent.

“While this represents a decrease from the previous fiscal year, sales are steady for a platform in its eighth year after launch,” Nintendo said, referring to the Switch.

The company said hardware sales were expected to continue to fall in the current financial year to 13.5 million units.

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Nathan Naidu said before the earnings release that Nintendo consoles typically have a “six-to-seven year lifecycle”.

“Given hardware drives about 40 percent of total sales, its drag on (the) overall top line might extend into fiscal 2025 absent a new gaming gadget,” he said.

Hideki Yasuda, analyst at Toyo Securities, said investors have been focused on when a new console would be announced.

“It would be a major disappointment if Nintendo couldn’t release it by March 2025,” he said.