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Hot Switch sales boost Nintendo sales, trim quarterly loss

FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 file photo, journalists wait outside the venue for the presentation of the new Nintendo Switch in Tokyo. Nintendo Co. says its new Switch, a hybrid game machine that works as both a console and a tablet, is selling well, helping the Kyoto-based company behind the Super Mario and Pokemon franchises trim its quarterly losses. Nintendo said Thursday, April 27, 2017, it has sold 2.74 million Switch machines and 5.46 million units of Switch software since sales began in March.(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)

TOKYO (AP) — Nintendo Co.’s Switch, a new hybrid game machine that works as both a console and a tablet, is selling well, helping the Kyoto-based company behind the Super Mario and Pokemon franchises trim its quarterly losses.

Nintendo said Thursday it has sold 2.74 million Switch machines and 5.46 million units of Switch software since sales began in March. It had expected to sell 2 million Switch machines by the end of March.

The company anticipates selling another 10 million Switch machines in the fiscal year that ends in March 2018.

The company’s January-March loss was 394 million yen ($3.5 million), improved from a 24 billion yen loss a year earlier. Quarterly sales jumped to nearly 178 billion yen ($1.6 billion) from 79 billion yen.

Nintendo has lagged amid competition from smartphones, and also at times has been slammed by an unfavorable exchange rate. A strong yen cheapens the value of overseas earnings of Japanese exporters like Nintendo.

In the fiscal year that ended in March, Nintendo’s profit jumped more than six times from the previous fiscal year to 102.6 billion yen ($924 million), up from 16.5 billion yen.

But that result included extraordinary income from the sale of part of Nintendo’s stake in the Seattle Mariners.

Nintendo, which also makes the 3DS portable console, is projecting its profit for the fiscal year through March 2018 at 45 billion yen ($405 million).

Nintendo said the Switch was off to a “promising start,” with consumer demand strong for its “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “1-2-Switch” games.

Many new machines do well initially as hard-core fans tend to buy them. Then sales taper off. So the test for Nintendo is how long the momentum will persist.

It is promising Switch games that include “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” which goes on sale in April, “ARMS,” in June and “Splatoon 2” in July.

“We aim to stimulate the platform and expand sales going into the holiday season this year,” it said.

Nintendo has also begun to offer games for smartphones, such as its smartphone action game “Super Mario Run,” reversing its earlier policy of shunning them.

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/yuri-kageyama

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