Nintendo of America, A guest enjoys playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the groundbreaking new Nintendo Switch at a special preview event in New York on Jan. 13, 2017 / Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Nintendo of America

Demand has been so high that it's almost impossible to get hold of the device

Nintendo is selling so many Switches that it might have saved its bottom line.

The hybrid console is making a billion dollars more than it did in the same period last year, all off the back of the huge sales of the device.

The Switch was described at a risk at launch but it has paid off – with demand so high that it is almost impossible to actually get hold of the device.

Nintendo said Thursday it has sold 2.74 million Switch machines and 5.46 million units of Switch software since sales began in March. It had expected to sell 2 million Switch machines by the end of March.

The company anticipates selling another 10 million Switch machines in the fiscal year that ends in March 2018. 

Nintendo's January-March loss was 394 million yen ($3.5 million), improved from a 24 billion yen loss a year earlier. Quarterly sales jumped to nearly 178 billion yen ($1.6 billion) from 79 billion yen. 

Nintendo has lagged amid competition from smartphones, and also at times has been slammed by an unfavorable exchange rate. A strong yen cheapens the value of overseas earnings of Japanese exporters like Nintendo. 

In the fiscal year that ended in March, Nintendo's profit jumped more than six times from the previous fiscal year to 102.6 billion yen ($924 million), up from 16.5 billion yen. 

But that result included extraordinary income from the sale of part of Nintendo's stake in the Seattle Mariners. 

Nintendo, which also makes the 3DS portable console, is projecting its profit for the fiscal year through March 2018 at 45 billion yen ($405 million). 

Nintendo said the Switch was off to a "promising start," with consumer demand strong for its "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" and "1-2-Switch" games. 

Unboxing the new Nintendo Switch

Many new machines do well initially as hard-core fans tend to buy them. Then sales taper off. So the test for Nintendo is how long the momentum will persist. 

It is promising Switch games that include "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe," which goes on sale in April, "ARMS," in June and "Splatoon 2" in July. 

"We aim to stimulate the platform and expand sales going into the holiday season this year," it said. 

Nintendo has also begun to offer games for smartphones, such as its smartphone action game "Super Mario Run," reversing its earlier policy of shunning them.

Additional reporting by Associated Press