‘Animal Crossing’ and cooped-up gamers fire up Nintendo profits

Nintendo's popular Switch console and blockbuster games including Animal Crossing fuelled a strong rise in profits and sales, which were also helped by players being stuck at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Animal Crossing’ and cooped-up gamers fire up Nintendo profits

Nintendo said Thursday 8 May that it had notched up annual net profits of $2.4 billion (R44 billion) in the fiscal year to March, a gain of 33% from the year before.

Sales climbed 9 %to 1.3 trillion yen and the firm was quick to point out the success of “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”, which it said had enjoyed the strongest-ever debut for a Nintendo Switch title.

“Nintendo Switch performed very well without losing momentum,” the Kyoto-based firm said in a statement.

Boosted by COVID-19

The conglomerate is one of a “handful” of major companies seeing significant business opportunities from the coronavirus outbreak, said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute in Tokyo.

“Demand for video games has shot up among people staying home following the outbreak,” Yasuda told AFP.

Nintendo shares, which closed up 3.24% on Thursday before its earnings announcement, have surged some 27% since early March.

However, the firm also pointed to risks arising from the pandemic, including production and procurement of parts, and delays in Research and Development.

For the current fiscal year, the firm predicted reduced sales and profits, as the Switch enters a “crucial” fourth year – past consoles began declining in popularity after three years.

Nintendo sees net profit at 200 billion yen for the fiscal year to March 2021, down 23% from the previous year, with an annual sales forecast at 1.2 trillion yen, down 8.3%.

Staying home worldwide

Yasuda said the popularity of the latest Animal Crossing title should continue to drive profits for the current fiscal year. 

The leisurely game has struck a chord with players around the world, many of them enjoying a virtual release from the restrictions on movement and social activity imposed to contain coronavirus.

“‘Animal Crossing’ does not involve lots of violent actions,” noted Yasuo Imanaka, chief analyst at Rakuten Securities.

The ability to invite online friends to play and shop together in this virtual world has appealed to those cooped up due to coronavirus, Imanaka told AFP.

“This perfectly fits the feeling of people staying home worldwide,” said Imanaka, adding that the game’s calm vibe was especially appealing to women and children.

Nintendo top-sellers

Among other Nintendo titles, Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield have also become multi-million-unit sellers, following big hits Super Mario Maker 2, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

Launched in March 2017, the Switch has become a huge global seller, helped by innovative, family-friendly titles that have wowed critics and gamers alike.

Sales of both its regular Switch platform and the Switch Lite – a smaller, cheaper version – reached 21 million units for the fiscal year, well above its annual target upgraded three months ago.

Rival Sony is scheduled to report its annual results next week as it prepares to launch its next-generation PlayStation 5 console later this year.

Analyst Imanaka said games such as Animal Crossing would not fizzle out immediately as coronavirus restriction are gradually lifted.

“I am expecting those people who have started playing video games or online games will continue playing them in this quarter at least,” Imanaka told AFP.

Shingo Ito © Agence France-Presse

Source : The South African More   

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COVID-19 test kits deemed faulty after goat and pawpaw test positive

Tanzanian President John Magufuli said his country’s COVID-19 test kits are most likely faulty after a pawpaw tested positive.

COVID-19 test kits deemed faulty after goat and pawpaw test positive

Head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), on Thursday 7 May, rejected a remark by Tanzania‘s President John Magufuli, that his nation’s COVID-19 tests are faulty. Magufuli said COVID-19 test kits were faulty after they had returned positive results on a goat and pawpaw. 

According to Al Jazeera, Magufuli made the remarks during an event in Chato in northwestern Tanzania on Sunday. He said there were “technical errors” with the tests.

GOAT AND PAWPAW TEST POSITIVE 

They had randomly obtained several non-human samples, from pawpaw, a goat and a sheep but had allegedly assigned them human names and ages.

These samples were then submitted to Tanzania’s laboratory to test for the virus with the lab technicians left unaware of their origins.

The president said samples from the pawpaw and the goat tested positive for COVID-19, adding that the test kits should, therefore, be investigated. The president said it meant it was likely that some people were testing positive when, in fact, they were not infected by COVID-19. 

“There is something happening. I said before we should not accept that every aid is meant to be good for this nation,” said Magufuli. 

On Saturday, Magufuli announced that he had placed an order for a herbal treatment for the coronavirus touted by the president of Madagascar.

MADAGASCAR TEA TO BE RESEARCHED FOR COVID-19 RESPONSE 

A herbal tea in Madagascar — which has been produced on a mass scale across the country and labelled as ‘a cure’ for COVID-19 — is now turning heads in South Africa. 

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize revealed through his Twitter account that the product, which consists of several plants exclusive to Madagascar, would be researched further by a team of South African scientists. 

Based on the fact that Madagascar has reported no COVID-19 deaths and a low number of confirmed cases, Mkhize thought it would be worth a shot to investigate the benefits a little further.  

“On the subject of the so-called Madagascar herbs, we received a call from the government of Madagascar, who asked for help with scientific research. Our scientists would be able to assist with this research. We will only get involved in a scientific analysis of the herb – but we are not at that point yet,” said Mkhize. 

Source : The South African More   

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