Nintendo shares tumble after ‘ultra-conservative guidance’
Shares of Japanese game maker Nintendo tumbled about 3% on Friday morning after the company announced its earnings on Thursday.
In Friday morning trade, Nintendo saw its stock drop by 2.99%. For its part, competitor Sony — which manufactures the Playstation 4 video game console — also fell 2.23% ahead of its own earnings release later on Friday.
“I think that the disappointment stems from, you know, Nintendo’s ultra-conservative guidance … for the current fiscal (year) that we’re currently in,” Serkan Toto, CEO of Tokyo-based game industry consultancy Kantan Games, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday.
Nintendo said it would sell 18 million Switch video game console units globally in the financial year through March. The Kyoto-based gaming company said it sold 16.95 million units in the year just ended, just below its forecast of 17 million units. That forecast was revised downward from 20 million units in January.
Nintendo’s Switch, marketed as a hybrid console that enables gamers to play on the go and at home when connected to a TV, has been a major contributor to the company’s revenues.
Toto said Nintendo’s guidance pointed to hardware sales and software sales growing at a “very, very … low pace.”
“I believe that, you know, Nintendo is back at its own game of low-balling hardware … and software sales … when they guide for the next fiscal,” he said.
The reason for Nintendo’s conservative stance on guidance likely stemmed from an “infamous” projection made by its former president, Tatsumi Kimishima, Toto said. Kimishima had said that Nintendo intended to sell 20 million Switch consoles in the fiscal year ending in December 2017, a target that the company was “never able to shake off” in the months after.
Nintendo shares had surged last Friday after the company’s China partner, tech behemoth Tencent, won some approval to start selling Switch in Asia’s largest economy.
Regulators in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong approved the Nintendo Switch and the game “New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe” to be released in China. Nintendo shares then responded by hitting their highest level since an intra-day high on Oct. 18, 2018.
On Thursday, Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa warned that Switch sales in China would not begin soon, Reuters reported.
Furukawa also dampened expectations of new Switch hardware being launched soon, despite reports suggesting previously at least one new iteration could be in the works. He said at a news conference that the company has “no plans to announce” new hardware at the E3 gaming conference set to happen in June, according to a Bloomberg report.
—CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal and Reuters contributed to this report.