May 10, 2023

Today's Topics

Hello! Tucker Carlson is trading prime time for the timeline as he says he’ll be bringing a new version of his show to Twitter, although Elon Musk has made it clear that the pair have not yet signed a deal “of any kind”. Today we're exploring:

  • Endgame: Nintendo Switch sales are dropping.
  • Elektrisk: EVs are the future... in Norway they're the present.
  • Pressing matters: Olive oil prices are soaring.
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Yesterday, video game giant Nintendo announced a 22% drop in sales of its flagship Nintendo Switch console in its latest fiscal year — a trend that the company expects to continue as the console enters its endgame.

Before the release of the Switch in March 2017, Nintendo had been through a tough few years. The company posted its first loss as a video game company in 2012, and then released its worst-selling console ever, the Wii U, in the same year, which was hoped to replace the fading 3DS. However, the Switch — played as a handheld console or on a TV — finally nailed the hybrid format, selling more than 14 million units worldwide in its first year. Today, the Switch stands as the third best-selling game console of all time, only behind the DS and PlayStation 2, with over 125 million units sold, accounting for 95% of the company's sales last year.


However, with President Shuntaro Furukawa saying that selling 15 million units this year “is a bit of stretch” — and with limited information known about potential successor consoles — investors in Nintendo will have to place blind faith in the company pulling off a big platform pivot at some point. For any other company that might be a leap, but for Nintendo — which has pulled off a similar switch 7 or 8 times in its history, with video game credentials dating back to the NES in the 1980s — it feels possible, if not even likely.

In the shorter term, the company will be hoping that the much-anticipated release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, a sequel to the smash hit Breath of the Wild, will sustain demand for the platform… for one more year at least.

Charging ahead

In most countries, EVs are the future. In Norway, they are very much the present. Last year, nearly 4 of every 5 new cars sold in the country were fully electric — and the effects of that are now coming into view as the nation edges ever-nearer to its 2025 deadline for outlawing all gas-powered vehicles.

Indeed, a recent New York Times long read on Norway’s EV revolution points to the positive impact the movement is having on the nation’s capital, where the air is “measurably cleaner” and greenhouse gas emissions are down 30% since 2009.

Going elektrisk

Norway’s government has been pushing electrification for decades, from subsidizing the construction of its vast charging network to enacting policies like tax exemptions and reductions for zero-emission vehicles. Though policy makers are now reportedly looking to curb the many benefits, they’ve been pivotal in helping the nation of 5.5 million achieve the highest proportion of EVs anywhere in the world.

The popularity of electric cars compared to gas-guzzling counterparts has really started to accelerate in the last decade. In 2012, just 3% of new cars sold in Norway were fully-electric, in 2022 that figure sat at 79%, up 14% even on the year before. Joe Biden’s goal is to see EVs make up more than half of US new car sales by 2030, a milestone that Norway passed in 2019.

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Squeezed higher

The price of olive oil has hit a 26-year high, with a metric ton of the greeny-gold goodness costing nearly $6,000, per the latest data from the IMF.

The spike in prices comes after a prolonged period of high demand — as consumers cooked more at home during the pandemic — but the biggest factor in the recent spike has been supply.

No rain in Spain

Olive oil royalty, Spain, has had an extremely difficult year. The country has endured months of poor weather, with droughts across key regions and 36 consecutive months of below-average rainfall. During the October-February season, the country reportedly produced a yield of just 630k metric tonnes of olive oil, less than half of the 1.4-1.5 million that’s usually expected.

The price spike means that olive oil is, even more than usual, considerably more expensive than actual oil (crude oil). In fact, assuming that a barrel of crude oil weighs ~135kg, a metric ton of crude oil would set you back around $500… less than a tenth of what the same amount of olive oil would cost.

More Data

• The first season of Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone prequel 1923 reportedly cost Paramount $500,000 per minute to produce — charges included rent for a $25-per-cow cattle herd.

• Great Twitter thread breaking down the $100m logistical costs of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour.

• Italy’s government is having crisis talks after the latest inflation figures reported that the cost of pasta rose 17.5%year-on-year.


• Eurovision explained: everything you need to know about the most-watched annual music event.

• One of our early Instagram-inspirations, Mona Chalabi, has won a Pulitzer Prize for her article 9 Ways To Imagine Jeff Bezos' Wealth. Congrats Mona!

Off the charts: Which company, that last year theoretically reported enough earnings to buy all of the companies in our chart below, has finally reported a dip in profits (down 19%)? [Answer below].

Answer here.

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