Nintendo is now worth more than Sony after Pokémon Go

Japanese video game giant Nintendo has seen a rapid increase in its market value after it launched Pokémon Go.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A visitor tries to play Nintendo Co Ltd's 3DS portable game console at the company showroom in Tokyo, Japan July 14, 2016.

Nintendo shot past Sony in market value on Tuesday after shares in the video game giant more than doubled following the popular Pokémon Go game was launched.

The shares surged more than 14 percent to end at $300, up 120 percent from their July 6 close.

That put Nintendo's market capitalisation at $42.5 billion.

The rapid increase has made it more valuable than Sony, one of Japan's best-known companies, by about ¥400 billion (yen).

On Friday Nintendo, creator of the 20-year-old Pokémon franchise, set a record for the most shares ever traded daily in Japan.

Since its launch two weeks ago, the game for mobile gadgets has sparked a worldwide frenzy among users who have taken to the streets with their smartphones.

The free app uses satellite locations, graphics and camera capabilities to overlay cartoon monsters on real-world settings, challenging players to capture and train the creatures for battles.

Spanish police pose with Pokémon Go figures in this handout picture provided by the Spanish Interior Ministry on July 18, 2016. Image: Reuters

Investors are betting its popularity is a good sign for Nintendo's nascent push into mobile gaming, a major U-turn for a company that long insisted on a consoles-only policy.

The Pokémon craze has also boosted other shares in Tokyo.

One of them is McDonald's Japan.

It soared as much as 23 percent in the morning  despite that it has been struggling to get past a series of food safety scandals

Because of the company on Friday giving away with some meals figurines based on the game's characters such as Pikachu.

After this new strategy it ended up 5.26 percent at ¥3,200 yen.

"Investors are flocking to Pokémon-related stocks and McDonald's Japan is one of those benefiting from the boom," said Mitsushige Akino, executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management.

"The boom came at a time when McDonald's business has already started recovering and there's expectation that the Pokémon toy offering will further increase customer traffic to their shops."

The game was launched in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Since the weekend it has been released in more than two dozen more countries but has yet to be available in Japan.

Nintendo declined to say when the app would be released in its home market, and Niantic -- which developed the game for Nintendo -- did not reply to requests for comment.

Forbes cited Niantic chief executive John Hanke as saying the reason for the delay is that Japan's server capacity is not powerful enough to keep up with expected demand.

TRTWorld and agencies