For the fiscal year to March 31, the Kyoto-based company also raised its annual net profit forecast to 30 billion yen ($254 million), from an earlier 20 billion yen estimate, but the Super Mario creator trimmed its full-year sales and operating profit forecasts.
Between April and December, Nintendo posted a 59.5 billion yen ($504 million) net profit with operating income swinging to 31.6 billion yen — reversing a year-earlier loss. Sales came in at 442.9 billion, down 11.3 percent from the previous year.
A sharp drop in the yen has helped make Japanese exporters more competitive overseas while it also inflates the value of their repatriated profits.
The relatively upbeat results come as Nintendo, which also makes the Wii U console, looks to move past three straight years of operating losses, underscoring the challenges faced by the one-time industry titan.
Last year, company president Satoru Iwata said he would slash his salary in half for five months to atone for the downturn.
The maker of the Donkey Kong and Pokemon franchises has struggled as rivals Sony and Microsoft outpaced it in console sales.
All three companies are also fighting off a trend toward cheap — or sometimes free — downloadable games for smartphones and other mobile devices.
Nintendo has been criticised for its longstanding refusal to license some of its iconic brands for use on mobile applications.
The company, which was counting on strong holiday season sales, said it sold 3.03 million units of its Wii U console, up from 2.14 million a year earlier.
Wii U software sales also grew and the firm boosted its annual forecast, saying it now expects to sell 25 million units of gaming software, citing the launch of two big titles, Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros.
“We think expansion of download sales of Wii software via Wii U could contribute to increasing stable earnings by enabling the sale of past titles with high profit margins,” Barclay’s said in a report ahead of Nintendo’s earnings release.
But the company continued to struggle with its 3DS system, shifting 7.08 million units globally, from 11.65 million in the same nine months a year earlier. It also slashed its full-year sales forecast to 9.0 million units from 12 million.
The “new Nintendo 3DS/New Nintendo 3DS XL, launched as the newest members of the Nintendo 3DS family in Japan in October, got off to a good start and continued to sell well,” the company said in a statement.
But “sales of the “Nintendo 3DS” hardware in the United States and in Europe… did not grow sufficiently,” it added. (AFP)