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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Nintendo's Results For Fiscal Year Ending March 2020

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Writing about March results in May is gonna trigger my historical month-writing confusion.

This article is all about the financial results that were released today as part of Nintendo's report on their fiscal year ending March 2020. Now (starting April 1—these kinds of reports take over a month to prepare, so you know) they're on their way towards the fiscal year ending March 2021.

I promise not to be very boring, since this is not a financial/markets blog. It's a gaming blog, and there are a few key (or irrelevant but amusing) discussion points and quotes I want to bring up.


First, here's a graph of sub-top-10 titles (except New Super Mario Bros. U at 10) from the start of the Nintendo Switch until now. The games with the longest streak of having sales numbers reported means they were stronger at being evergreen titles:

Nintendo Switch million sellers fiscal year ended March 2020 Ring Fit Adventure Fire Emblem Three Houses Super Mario Maker
Ring Fit Adventure continues to have supply constraints. YOU CAN DO IT! PRODUCE AND SELL EVEN MORE!

Meanwhile, Splatoon 2 has now cumulatively sold over 10 million copies, and it's officially doubling the number of copies sold of Splatoon on Wii U. As for the Nintendo Switch, it has sold a total of 55.77 million units, while the 3DS is at 75.77 million units. They pwned their stated goals for the Switch. For the 3DS, that's .06 million units more than three months ago, while the Switch sold 3.29 million units more than three months ago. That is to say... the 3DS is a joke number at this point, and Nintendo even realises it, declaring,

“We are not disclosing the unit sales forecast of Nintendo 3DS because it has limited impact on our overall financial performance.”

Which is their way of saying that the 3DS isn't going to sell anything else between April 2020 and March 2021, only getting attention from anyone (aka just KoopaTV) when CAPCOM puts the Ace Attorney games on there at 50%+ discounts.

There was a whole slide in Nintendo's Business Highlights section just about Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which was described as “the best start ever for a Nintendo Switch title.” It's the highest-selling Animal Crossing game at 13.41 million copies sold-through, beating out the entire lifetime for Animal Crossing: New Leaf (2012 3DS title) in just six weeks. It's not just a phenomenon on social media. It's mainstream. That means a bit over one in five Switch owners have Animal Crossing... but I'm not one of them. (Three in five KoopaTV staffers have it, though.) Nintendo has this to say:
“In terms of consumer demographics, we are seeing a high percentage of players in their 20s and 30s who have likely played past entries in the Animal Crossing series, and a high overall percentage of female players, at over 40%. Among this group, many appear to have newly purchased a console in the Nintendo Switch family.”
(Female players in their 20s and 30s happens to be the social group I'd like to be very good and very close friends with.)

They also remarked that the “demand for the digital version is also high, leading to a digital sales ratio never before seen in Nintendo Switch titles.” While they didn't tell us what that ratio actually is, it leads to another discussion point. In March, I wrote an article about how the Chinese Communist Party Virus is causing a substantial shift towards digital downloads, and whether that would be a permanent shift or not. We still don't know the permanence, but we do have data:

Nintendo Switch Proportion of Digital Sales to Physical Games fiscal year ending March 2020
In English, this means that January–March 2020 had the highest proportion of digital sales vs. all software sales, ever.
And keep in mind that nothing was locked down in January and February.
(That right-most number means 70% of all digital sales were of games you could've bought physically,
while the other 30% was Nintendo Switch Online, DLC, and download-only games like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.)

That's crazy and pandemic-driven, though Nintendo never admits that. Instead, they cite a large number of risk factors related to the Chinese Communist Party Virus (which they referred to as COVID-19), including scheduling risks (delays) and supply chain risks, along with people's changing consumption habits of avoiding physical products, such as things shipped in cardboard boxes.

Nintendo wants to sell 19 million more Switch consoles and 140 million more Switch games for the new fiscal year. I think they can do it, risk factors aside.


Ludwig has gotten rid of his stock in Nintendo some time ago, and he doesn't regret that. Videogame industry stock is a crap investment. What do you think of Nintendo's performance? How about that of Animal Crossing? Are you at all impressed that what Ludwig said would happen did happen?


The disclosure before this was the quarter ending December 2019.
Here are the past results from the fiscal year ending March 2019.
Investors had nine questions to ask about these financial results. Ludwig commentates on Nintendo's answers. Hint: Many have to do with the CCP Virus.
The FY21 Q1 (or, quarter ended June 2020) results are in!

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