Nintendo is counting on forays beyond video games to boost fans
TOKYO — Nintendo hopes to leverage a new Super Mario movie, various merchandising and theme parks to attract more people to play its video games, chairman Shuntaro Furukawa said Wednesday.
Nintendo content, including Donkey Kong and Pokemon, has drawn fans for more than four decades, with parents and grandparents now playing games with kids. But the intellectual property now extends beyond the games, Furukawa told reporters and investors during an online presentation.
Among the main efforts in what he called “building a relationship” with game fans was “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”, which is slated for release in April next year. There are also theme parks like the one that opened at Universal Studios in Japan more than a year ago, complete with restaurants, merchandising and rides, Furukawa said. A Nintendo theme park is set to open early next year in Hollywood in the US
Special events, pop-up shops and mobile apps also help attract gamers, according to Nintendo. Nintendo’s mobile downloads now total 800 million in more than 160 countries and regions around the world. Merchandising includes collaborations with other companies like Lego.
“We want everyone who has supported us for so many years to lead to more players,” Furukawa said.
Furukawa’s comments come a day after Kyoto-based Nintendo Co. raised its profit forecast for the April-March fiscal year to 400 billion yen ($2.7 billion), from an earlier profit of 340. billion yen ($2.3 billion).
High performing game software included ‘Splatoon 3’, ‘Nintendo Switch Sports’ and ‘Mario Strikers: Battle League’.
The coronavirus pandemic has been a plus for some entertainment companies as people have tended to avoid going out and instead turn to games, movies and other at-home activities.
Japanese exporters like Nintendo also benefit from a weaker yen, which increases the value of their overseas earnings when translated into yen. The US dollar, which traded at around 110 Japanese yen a year ago, is now close to 150 yen.
But Nintendo has been hit by a shortage of computer chips and other components caused by COVID-19-related lockdowns and other supply disruptions. Nintendo Switch sales fell 19% year-on-year in the fiscal first half to 6.68 million units.
Nintendo’s profit totaled 230.45 billion yen ($1.6 billion) for the six months to September, up 34% from a year earlier.