Pokemon Go Frenzy Triggers Volatility for Nintendo Stock

By | July 27, 2016

It has actually been a rollercoaster of a month for Nintendo shares, as both optimism and fears about the company’s Pokemon Go video game have triggered extreme volatility in the market.

The Kyoto, Japan-based video game company saw its share prices skyrocket 120% in less than two weeks before crashing violently over the next seven days. At its highest point, Nintendo found itself overtaking Sony in terms of market value, as investors rallied behind the global mania for the Pokemon Go video game.[1]

Developed by Niantic, Pokemon Go is a location-based mobile game that uses augmented reality to deliver a unique experience combining both GPS and camera. Shortly after its release, the game was downloaded by more than 50 million people worldwide.[2] While video game developers have panned the game for its several design flaws and poor customer support, it has actually quickly swept the globe, bringing Nintendo both reward and headache.

After Nintendo’s meteoric rise, the company’s share price posted its biggest slump since 1990 after the company said the financial benefits of Pokemon Go would certainly be limited. Nintendo reported a loss of 5.13 billion yen) for Q1 down 30 percent but insists that Pokemon Go has actually little impact on its business.

“Taking the current situation into consideration, the company is not modifying the consolidated financial forecast for now,” Nintendo said in a stock filing report.[3]

While the content of the announcement isn’t that shocking, it surprised investors who were anxiously awaiting the company’s quarterly earnings report.

US-based multinational investment bank Morgan Stanley rubbed salt on the wound by saying that the game’s future growth could be limited if it intends to launch in China – a country that generally lacks access to the geographical data needed for the game to operate.[4]

The Pokemon Go phenomenon demonstrates the transformative impact mobile technology has actually had on the gaming industry. The growth and widespread adoption of mobile applications and smartphones has actually created a massive market of casual gamers. The decoupling of video games from the traditional console environment has actually forced companies such as Nintendo and others to think outside the box in order to reach brand-new markets.

Sony PlayStation’s Vita platform demonstrates the growing shift away from console gaming toward casual, user-friendly apps. The Vita platform marketed itself as a handheld console experience with superior graphics and big name titles. Five years after its launch, the Vita still hasn’t gained traction, with several analysts described it as a failure.[5]

Despite the latest plunge in Nintendo shares, the company is still up around 60% since the release of Pokemon Go on July 6.[6] The Nintendo NX, its next flagship console, is scheduled for launch in March 2017 with players already eagerly anticipating its features.

[1] Jake Ulick (July 18, 2016). “Nintendo Market Share Passes Sony on Pokemon Go Frenzy: Chart.” Bloomberg.

[2] Michael Crider (July 24, 2016). “Pokemon GO lands in France and passes 50 million Play Store downloads.” Android Police.

[3] BBC.com (July 25, 2016). “Nintendo shares plunge on Pokemon profit fears.” BBC.com.

[4] Yuji Nakamura and Takashi Amano (July 24, 2016). “Nintendo Slumps By Most Since 1990 on Dashed Pokemon Go Hopes.” Bloomberg Technology.

[5] Leo Sun (January 27, 2014). “3 Reasons Sony’s PS Vita Failed.” The Motley Fool.

[6] BBC.com (July 25, 2016). “Nintendo shares plunge on Pokemon profit fears.” BBC.com.

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