COVID-19 boosts sales of game consoles

The “homebody economy”, which has gained steam as people spend more time at home to curb the spread of COVID-19, has provided a boost to what are now brisk sales of game consoles, which follows an industry-wide boom in home entertainment amid the pandemic.


Japan’s Nintendo Co., Ltd. revealed on Feb. 1 that it sold 24.1 million Switch game consoles in the last nine months of the 2020 financial year from March through to December, an increase of 35.8 percent over the same period the previous fiscal year. The company has now sold a total of 79.87 million Switch units worldwide, surpassing the Nintendo 3DS’ sales over its lifetime.

Its operating profit in the nine months ending Dec. 31 last year soared 98.2 percent from a year earlier to 521 billion yen ($4.98 billion), while its net profit surged 91.8 percent year-on-year to reach 376.6 billion yen ($3.6 billion). The company’s overall sales revenue for this period reached 1.4 trillion yen ($13.4 billion), with overseas sales revenue accounting for 77.6 percent of the total.

In the late 1980s, Nintendo’s Famicom consoles were introduced into the Chinese market and soon became a hit with Chinese gamers. Since then, related video game franchises, such as Super Mario, Contra, Street Fighter, Adventure Island, and The Legend of Zelda, have become popular among gamers in China.

The popularity of gaming consoles, including those of Nintendo, can be attributed to the interactive features and long-term playability of its games.

Compared with mainstream mobile games and online games, console games are better able to offer interactive and immersive experiences for multiple gamers. According to Nintendo, a majority of its top 10 most popular games are multiplayer games.

For example, gamers can create and share side-scrolling Super Mario courses in Super Mario Maker 2 for Nintendo Switch, whose elements greatly enhance the multiplayer gaming experience.

The sales revenue generated by China’s gaming industry increased 20.7 percent year-on-year to reach 278.69 billion yuan ($43.2 billion) in 2020. Last year, the country’s online gaming industry maintained its rapid growth momentum amid the pandemic.