Ink-shooting game 'Splatoon' helps power Nintendo to profit

Amiibo figurines and a weak yen also helped Nintendo, which has yet to say who will succeed Satoru Iwata

Japanese gaming icon Nintendo posted a profit for the April-June quarter on Wednesday thanks in part to surging sales of a game in which players can squirt ink all over the place and transform into squids.

"Splatoon" for the Wii U console launched globally in May and has since sold over 1.62 million units, Nintendo said as it notched a profit of ¥8.3 billion (US$67 million) for the three months to June 30, a reversal of a ¥9.9 billion loss a year earlier.

Hardware in the Nintendo 3DS lineup saw global sales reach 1.01 million units in the quarter and associated software reached 7.92 million units. Other factors that buoyed the company's business were the weakness of the yen and strong sales of Amiibo, which are figurines that are designed to wirelessly communicate with the Wii U and 3DS, triggering in-game benefits.

Nintendo wants to continue the momentum with the Wii U, which has underperformed as a console, by pushing titles such as "Yoshi's Wooly World" and "Super Mario Maker" ahead of the year-end holiday shopping season.

The Kyoto-based firm left unchanged its prediction for a ¥35 billion profit in its consolidated forecast for the year to March 31, 2016.

The results come amid a period of transition for Nintendo as it tries to focus on a path forward. Earlier this month, longtime President Satoru Iwata, a force behind some of Nintendo's greatest successes, succumbed to cancer. A successor has yet to be named.

Iwata's death came only a few months after he announced a tie-up to bring Nintendo characters to smartphone games with mobile gaming giant DeNA, ending years of resistance to phones. Iwata had said the company is working on a new dedicated console code-named NX, with details to be announced next year.

"We expect to secure a new source of revenue from a gaming application for smart devices, which will be released by the end of this calendar year," the company said Wednesday.

Tim Hornyak covers Japan and emerging technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Tim on Twitter at @robotopia.

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Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
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