Nintendo forecasts eight-fold profit jump

Japanese video game giant Nintendo on Wednesday forecasted an eight-fold jump in net profit for the current fiscal year after saying it had returned to the black, helped by a weaker yen.

The Kyoto-based firm said it expected to earn 55 billion yen ($553 million) in the year to March after reporting a 7.10 billion yen net profit in its latest business year.

Nintendo's return to profit reversed a year-earlier shortfall of 43.20 billion yen although it was only about half of the 14 billion yen it has forecasted in January.

The firm behind Donkey Kong and Super Mario, one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time, has struggled as it competes with Sony and Microsoft, makers of the PlayStation and Xbox, which are also battling for control of a sector worth about $44 billion annually.

The trio have faced tough economic conditions in their key US and European markets, they are also fending off a challenge from cheap -- or sometimes free -- downloadable games for smartphones and tablets.