Nintendo sees record first quarter profit thanks to Zelda and the Mario movie

'The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom' has sold 18.51 million units since its May debut.

Issei Kato / reuters

Nintendo just announced its highest first quarter profit ever thanks to sales of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and The Super Mario Bros. Movie. The company earned 185.44 billion yen ($1.3 billion) on sales of 461.34 billion yen ($3.2 billion), easily battering its previous fiscal Q1 record of 144.7 billion set in 2020, the company revealed in its latest earnings report.

The numbers on those two properties are impressive. Around the world, 168.10 million people watched The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and the company announced total box office revenue of $1.349 billion as of July 26th — the highest ever for an original film based on a video game, and the second-highest for an animated film. That let to a massive 190 percent year-over-year increase in revenue for Nintendo's "mobile and IP-related income" category.

Meanwhile, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has sold 18.51 million copies since it launched in May, while Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sold 1.67 million units last quarter. "Sell-through of this one title [Zelda] constitutes approximately half of the first-party software sold this fiscal year," Nintendo said.

Switch sales were actually up over the same quarter last year to 3.91 million in the last quarter (compared to 3.43 million units last year), with 2.83 million of those being the more expensive OLED model. That rise might be powered in part by Zelda, as buyers sought either a new or better console to play the game. The company has also continually stated that its goal is to put more than one Switch in every household, and could be starting to deliver on that. At the beginning of its fiscal year, Nintendo called its sales forecast of 15 million Switch consoles "a bit of a stretch," but is on track to achieve that number so far.

It may be tough for Nintendo to maintain that momentum, though. Upcoming games include the side-scroller Super Mario Bros Wonder (October 20th), Detective Pikachu Returns (October 6th), WarioWare: Move It! (November 3rd) and Super Mario RPG with updated graphics on November 17th. There are no marquee games in that list like Tears of the Kingdom, though, and sales of that game (and movie profits) are bound to keep dropping off.

As for the Switch, it's now six years old, and Nintendo has yet to announce its replacement. Rumors have swirled that a next-gen Switch arrive in 2024, but none have much substance behind them.

Correction, August 3rd, 2023, 8:30AM ET: This article originally stated that Nintendo took in $1.349 billion related to The Super Mario Bros. Movie. This story has since been updated to note that number represents total box office revenue, not Nintendo revenue. We apologize for the error.

Correction, August 4th, 2023 4:37 AM ET: The story originally stated that Nintendo's high profits were due to the game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but it should have stated The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. The article has been updated with the correct information.