Nintendo Co. Switch game consoles and Switch Lite game consoles at the Nintendo store in Tokyo, Japan.
Image: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nintendo profits are on the rise as people continue to play more games at home. The surge began during the pandemic and it’s not leveling off. On Thursday, Nintendo announced operating profits up 209% to $2.8 billion for the first half of the fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, compared to the same period the previous year. Sales grew 73% to $7.4 billion during the same period, according to Nintendo’s financial filings.

The Nintendo Switch has driven a significant part of of the company’s success, with Nintendo selling 12.5 million devices from April to September this year, which was an 81% increase over the previous year. Broken down, Nintendo sold 8.36 million units of the Switch and 4.17 million units of the Switch Lite. Both devices sold out at many retail locations in April and May this year.

The company has increased its forecast for Switch sales for the fiscal year ending March 2021, anticipating total sales of 24 million units, up from the previous forecast of 19 million.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a best-selling game for the Switch. It’s given people who limit their face-to-face contact during the pandemic a chance to reconnect with friends, and make new acquaintances on Discord servers and Facebook groups, as they have a low-key experience decorating houses, fishing for exotic fish, and catching bugs, tarantulas and scorpions, all while sharing an island with interesting and chatty animal villagers. There are even business lessons to be learned while playing the game.

Nintendo sold 14.3 million copies of Animal Crossing: New Horizons from April to September, for total sales of 26 million units. Overall, software sales reached 100 million units from April through September, a 139% increase over the same period last year.

Other popular titles for Nintendo are Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which has nearly 29 million copies sold overall (with 4.2 million during the first half of the fiscal year), and 5.2 million copies of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, which was just released in September. The company released Paper Mario: The Origami King, which is a role-playing game based on the Nintendo 64 classic version, and it’s sold 2.8 million units since it’s July release. Ring Fit Adventure has sold 3.1 million units.

In October, Nintendo released Pikmin 3 Deluxe and Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, and Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is scheduled for release in February.

In the next few weeks, Sony will be releasing the PlayStation 5 and Microsoft will debut the Xbox Series X, so there will be more competition for Nintendo in the gaming console market.