Nintendo Teams With Universal Parks on Attractions, Posts First Profit Since 2011

Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo - Nintendo 3DS - 2011
Kim White for Nintendo of America

The maker of the Wii U and 3DS consoles has created such franchises as 'Super Mario Bros.' and 'The Legend of Zelda.'

Nintendo on Thursday reported a return to a full-year profit, its first year of black ink since 2011, helped by the weak Japanese currency, and unveiled a partnership with the theme parks arm of Comcast-owned NBCUniversal that will see some of its franchises turned into resort attractions.

The company reported earnings of $350 million (¥41.8 billion) for its fiscal year ended in March.

Revenue for the year fell 3.8 percent to $4.6 billion (¥550 billion), and the Kyoto-based gamemaker cut its profit forecast for the current fiscal year by 16.4 percent to $293 million (¥35 billion).

Nintendo, which has been hit hard by the drift of casual gamers to playing on smartphones and tablets, was helped in the most recent year by the fall of the Japanese yen against the dollar and other currencies, which boosted the value of the earnings it brings back from international markets.

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The company's operating profit — usually a better indicator of the underlying strength of business operations — came in at $208 million (¥24.8 billion). Nintendo is forecasting that operating profit will double in the current financial year, ending March 2016.

Having long resisted a move into licensing its games for mobile devices, Nintendo will this year launch versions of some of its popular franchises for smartphones and tablets.

Nintendo also announced on Thursday that it would team with Universal Parks & Resorts to create attractions based on some of its big franchises, which include Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda. The two companies are expected to announce details about the attractions, including those at Universal Studios Japan's hugely popular park in Osaka, in the coming months.

Nintendo also said it was nearly doubling its dividend for the current year to $1.51 (¥180).

Twitter: @GavinJBlair