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TOKYO: Nintendo reported its highest ever annual profit Thursday after virus lockdowns caused sales of its blockbuster Switch console to soar, but the Japanese gaming giant warned the bumper pandemic year would be hard to repeat.

While fresh waves of infections have dashed recovery hopes in many industries, successive rounds of restrictions have helped extend a run of good fortune for video game companies as people seek indoor entertainment.

The firm said surging sales were propelled by the runaway popularity of the Switch and the family-friendly game “Animal Crossing”, which became a lockdown hit.

Net profit jumped 85.7 percent from a year earlier to 480.4 billion yen ($4.4 billion) for the fiscal year to March, beating the company’s prediction of 400 billion yen.

It broke its previous profit record set in 2008-09, when it was generating massive revenue driven by its Wii and DS consoles.

Sales were up 34.4 percent to 1.76 trillion yen, Nintendo said, with 28.8 million Switch units sold — the highest number since the console, which can be handheld or used with a TV, launched four years ago.

But the Kyoto-based company forecast a tougher outlook for the current 2021-22 fiscal year, projecting net profit at 340 billion yen on sales of 1.6 trillion yen.

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