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Nintendo surprises everyone by making money again

And the videogame giant could be on track to post its first annual profit in four years.

Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto introducing the Nintendo's Mario Maker at E3 back in June.
Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto introducing the Nintendo's Mario Maker at E3 back in June.
Image: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

JAPANESE VIDEOGAME GIANT Nintendo said Wednesday its first-half net profit soared to €103 million as a sharply weaker yen boosted its bottom line and offset slowing sales.

The Kyoto-based company earned 14.3 billion yen between April and September, way up from 600 million yen (€4.3 million) in the same period a year ago, despite sales falling 12.8% to 171.4 billion yen (€1.24 billion) on lacklustre demand for its 3DS games system.

Nintendo kept its full-year 20 billion yen (€145 million) profit forecast unchanged, and said its operating loss in the first half shrank to 215 million yen (€1.5 million), from 23.3 billion yen (€169 million) a year earlier.

The maker of the Super Mario and Pokemon franchises has struggled in recent years, as consumers flee to downloadable games for smartphones and other mobile devices. Increased competition from rivals like Sony and Microsoft has also added to Nintendo’s woes.

Net profit soared “as a result of exchange gains totalling 15.5 billion yen due to depreciation of the yen”, the company said.

A weaker yen helps make Japanese exporters more competitive overseas and inflates the value of their repatriated profits.

- © AFP, 2014

(Additional reporting from Quinton O’Reilly)

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