Nintendo is famous for the character Mario, who Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe dressed up as at Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

Nintendo, the Japanese games maker whose character Mario is widely tipped to be part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Opening Ceremony, has reported a stupendous 576 per cent increase in quarterly profit.

The Kyoto-based company posted an ordinary profit of JPY150.3 billion (£1.1 billion/$1.45 billion/€1.2 billion) for the three months to end-June, as COVID-19 was rampaging across the globe and confining billions to their homes.

This was up from just JPY22.2 billion (£163.2 million/$213.5 million/€180.5 million) a year earlier.

The company benefited from three specific trends; booming sales of its Switch console, in spite of COVID-related manufacturing issues; the high popularity of a new game, Animal Crossing; and an increasing tendency for consumers to download games rather than buying physical copies.

The year-on-year rise in operating profit, which reached JPY144.7 billion (£1.06 billion/$1.39 billion/€1.18 billion), was almost 428 per cent.

Net sales more than doubled to JPY358.1 billion (£2.6 billion/$3.4 billion/€2.9 billion).

Unit sales of the Switch console exploded to 5.68 million, up from 2.13 million a year earlier, in spite of parts procurement issues.

The group warned that "if the impact of COVID-19 expands in the future, it may affect manufacturing".

The new game in Nintendo's Animal Crossing series has proved very successful ©Getty Images
The new game in Nintendo's Animal Crossing series has proved very successful ©Getty Images

It also noted that there were still shortages of the console in some regions.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons was said to have posted sales of 10.63 million units, for a cumulative total of 22.4 million units, establishing it as a huge hit.

Digital quarterly sales were up an eye-popping 230 per cent year-on-year.

Nintendo said that digital sales had accounted for more than half - 55.6 per cent - of total software sales on its dedicated video-game platforms.

The postponed Tokyo 2020 Games could act as a further spur to the company’s sales and overall financial performance.

A video game, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, featuring the famous Nintendo plumber competing in Olympic sports along with Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog, was released in the Americas late last year, before the coronavirus crisis hit.

At Rio 2016, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe dressed up as Mario in the handover segment of the Closing Ceremony.