Quantcast
Switch Close to Passing Sales of N64 (UPDATE: Now Passed!)

Forums - Sales Discussion - Switch Close to Passing Sales of N64 (UPDATE: Now Passed!)

The_Liquid_Laser said:
OTBWY said:

It was a profitable console and it was making enough money right with the Pokemon craze. So it did do well enough just not PS1 numbers. Also the system had some of the most influential and gamechaning titles then. Its influences can still be seen today.

Yeah, but everything you just said can also be applied to the Wii U.  This description basically paints the N64 as a niche console with some very vocal fans.  If that is your assertion, then I can agree with that.  N64 is a lot like the Dreamcast or the Wii U.

Nintendo never posted any losses during the N64 era.  It wasn't until the Wii U development cycle and release that happened.  The N64 sold 3.6 million units alone in the US in it's first year which is about what the Wii U managed globally.  Also:  "During its first four months, the console yielded 500,000 unit sales in North America.[74] Nintendo successfully outsold Sony and Sega early in 1997 in the United States."  The Wii U didn't even outsell the much older Xbox 360 and PS3 on a week to week basis (even in holiday weeks) during its first year prior to having contend with the PS4 or Xbox One.  So no, not the same situation at all.



Around the Network
The_Liquid_Laser said:
OTBWY said:

It was a profitable console and it was making enough money right with the Pokemon craze. So it did do well enough just not PS1 numbers. Also the system had some of the most influential and gamechaning titles then. Its influences can still be seen today.

Yeah, but everything you just said can also be applied to the Wii U.  This description basically paints the N64 as a niche console with some very vocal fans.  If that is your assertion, then I can agree with that.  N64 is a lot like the Dreamcast or the Wii U.

Not even close. 33 million in the 90s is a significantly bigger deal than selling 13.5 million in the 2010s because of the size of the markets at time. N64 had close to 25% marketshare while Wii U is under 10%.

As for influential software, games like Mario 64, Ocarina of Time and Goldeneye set the trend for those genres going forward and you can still see their influences 20+ years later. Wii U had so really high quality games but high quality and influential are not the same thing.

One other thing to consider is that most of the N64 love comes from America where N64 actually did pretty well and was competitive with PS1 for a few years.



When the herd loses its way, the shepard must kill the bull that leads them astray.

The_Liquid_Laser said:
It's a milestone sure, but I don't know why there is so much love for the N64. It was Nintendo's worst selling console at the time and it marked when Nintendo lost the first place spot in the home console business. N64 didn't do terribly well from a business perspective, especially when compared to Nintendo's other systems at the time: NES, SNES and Gameboy.

Age plays a big role in the perception of a console. The vocal N64 fans usually had that certain age where just about anything leaves the biggest impressions. You can also find vocal GC fans who are unsurprisingly on average five years younger than the N64 fans.

While such people tend to give too much credit to those consoles, it needs to be said that those consoles weren't without great games and the introduced standard of four controller ports shouldn't be brushed off. Since it was much less of a hassle to play multiplayer with three or four people simultaneously, such multiplayer sessions became more widespread and that has an impact when a console manufacturer's games are famous for local multiplayer.

The_Liquid_Laser said:
OTBWY said:

It was a profitable console and it was making enough money right with the Pokemon craze. So it did do well enough just not PS1 numbers. Also the system had some of the most influential and gamechaning titles then. Its influences can still be seen today.

Yeah, but everything you just said can also be applied to the Wii U.  This description basically paints the N64 as a niche console with some very vocal fans.  If that is your assertion, then I can agree with that.  N64 is a lot like the Dreamcast or the Wii U.

That is just about the worst follow-up post I've ever seen. Initially you cited the business perspective, then you proceed to toss it out of the window in the next post.

Wii U wasn't profitable and it does not have a legacy of laying the groundwork for future game development. When you compare Super Mario 64 from summer 1996 to Tomb Raider from fall 1996, it becomes quickly apparent that there was a world of difference in the game quality of actual 3D games at the time. The Nintendo 64 solved multiple problems of the new era of 3D games with its launch title, proceeded to establish the FPS genre on consoles and in 1998 tackled the problem of combat in Ocarina of Time. The lock-on of that Zelda title made 3D games a lot more playable, be it in manual, semi-automatic or automatic lock-on form in later games in a variety of genres.

Of all the non-winning consoles in video game history, the Nintendo 64 is the most important one that has existed. While it's common that the love for a console can be unreasonably high, the Nintendo 64 has legitimately something going for it. The fandom for the initially mentioned GC is much, much more perplexing than the love for the N64 could ever be.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

NintendoCM said:
The_Liquid_Laser said:

Yeah, but everything you just said can also be applied to the Wii U.  This description basically paints the N64 as a niche console with some very vocal fans.  If that is your assertion, then I can agree with that.  N64 is a lot like the Dreamcast or the Wii U.

I would argue that the N64 has had much more of an impact than the Wii U ever will. At least on the software front. We got genre defining games with Super Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time. Without those games who knows how 3D Mario and Zelda would be today. That's not to mention that it started the Mario Party, Paper Mario, Banjo Kazooie and countless other game series regarded as classics. So I'd refrain from calling the N64 "niche". At least for me, it's impacts are still seen. 

Ocarina and Smash Bros were definitely important games.  It may be too early to tell with the Wii U, but it also has games like Splatoon and Mario Maker.  It's hardware is also important in leading to the Switch.  In these ways it is influential.  It was just not terribly successful.


Mandalore76 said:
The_Liquid_Laser said:

Yeah, but everything you just said can also be applied to the Wii U.  This description basically paints the N64 as a niche console with some very vocal fans.  If that is your assertion, then I can agree with that.  N64 is a lot like the Dreamcast or the Wii U.

Nintendo never posted any losses during the N64 era.  It wasn't until the Wii U development cycle and release that happened.  The N64 sold 3.6 million units alone in the US in it's first year which is about what the Wii U managed globally.  Also:  "During its first four months, the console yielded 500,000 unit sales in North America.[74] Nintendo successfully outsold Sony and Sega early in 1997 in the United States."  The Wii U didn't even outsell the much older Xbox 360 and PS3 on a week to week basis (even in holiday weeks) during its first year prior to having contend with the PS4 or Xbox One.  So no, not the same situation at all.

Nintendo's losses were due to the 3DS.  Their first loss came before the Wii U was even released.  

On the other hand Nintendo had a perfect record before the N64 was released.  It got clobbered by Sony.  It's influence is how it influenced Nintendo away from first place for generations to come.

zorg1000 said:
The_Liquid_Laser said:

Yeah, but everything you just said can also be applied to the Wii U.  This description basically paints the N64 as a niche console with some very vocal fans.  If that is your assertion, then I can agree with that.  N64 is a lot like the Dreamcast or the Wii U.

Not even close. 33 million in the 90s is a significantly bigger deal than selling 13.5 million in the 2010s because of the size of the markets at time. N64 had close to 25% marketshare while Wii U is under 10%.

As for influential software, games like Mario 64, Ocarina of Time and Goldeneye set the trend for those genres going forward and you can still see their influences 20+ years later. Wii U had so really high quality games but high quality and influential are not the same thing.

One other thing to consider is that most of the N64 love comes from America where N64 actually did pretty well and was competitive with PS1 for a few years.

Ocarina of Time mostly influenced the Zelda series and little else.  Zelda was actually more influential when it was 2D, because it inspired a lot more direct competitors than Ocarina ever did.  Goldeneye is not nearly as important to FPS as Doom or Call of Duty. 

Mario 64 is more well known for it's negative influence on platformers than anything else.  The 8/16 bit eras are known for having tons of platformers.  All of these games were imitating 2D Mario.  How many 3D platformers are made nowadays?  Not many.  3D platformers are now a niche genre.  2D platformers used to be the primary genre.  That is the legacy of Mario 64.

Really, you left out the best game: Smash Bros.  It's funny what people think are the "influential games".

RolStoppable said:
The_Liquid_Laser said:
It's a milestone sure, but I don't know why there is so much love for the N64. It was Nintendo's worst selling console at the time and it marked when Nintendo lost the first place spot in the home console business. N64 didn't do terribly well from a business perspective, especially when compared to Nintendo's other systems at the time: NES, SNES and Gameboy.

Age plays a big role in the perception of a console. The vocal N64 fans usually had that certain age where just about anything leaves the biggest impressions. You can also find vocal GC fans who are unsurprisingly on average five years younger than the N64 fans.

While such people tend to give too much credit to those consoles, it needs to be said that those consoles weren't without great games and the introduced standard of four controller ports shouldn't be brushed off. Since it was much less of a hassle to play multiplayer with three or four people simultaneously, such multiplayer sessions became more widespread and that has an impact when a console manufacturer's games are famous for local multiplayer.

The_Liquid_Laser said:

Yeah, but everything you just said can also be applied to the Wii U.  This description basically paints the N64 as a niche console with some very vocal fans.  If that is your assertion, then I can agree with that.  N64 is a lot like the Dreamcast or the Wii U.

That is just about the worst follow-up post I've ever seen. Initially you cited the business perspective, then you proceed to toss it out of the window in the next post.

Wii U wasn't profitable and it does not have a legacy of laying the groundwork for future game development. When you compare Super Mario 64 from summer 1996 to Tomb Raider from fall 1996, it becomes quickly apparent that there was a world of difference in the game quality of actual 3D games at the time. The Nintendo 64 solved multiple problems of the new era of 3D games with its launch title, proceeded to establish the FPS genre on consoles and in 1998 tackled the problem of combat in Ocarina of Time. The lock-on of that Zelda title made 3D games a lot more playable, be it in manual, semi-automatic or automatic lock-on form in later games in a variety of genres.

Of all the non-winning consoles in video game history, the Nintendo 64 is the most important one that has existed. While it's common that the love for a console can be unreasonably high, the Nintendo 64 has legitimately something going for it. The fandom for the initially mentioned GC is much, much more perplexing than the love for the N64 could ever be.

4 controller ports is a legitamitely great contribution.  I'll give you that.  Because that lead to games like Smash Bros which is still growing in popularity today.

All of the other "contributions" you listed actually helped Sony more than Nintendo.  They solved 3D camera and combat for Playstation games.  They brought FPS to consoles so that it could be done better by Playstation games (and the third party games that are mostly on Playstation/XBox).  They solved a lot of technical problems that helped their competitors more than it helped Nintendo.  If the N64 influenced anything, then it influenced Nintendo's downfall.

On top of that, while N64 may have innovated in very technical ways, it actually had very few great games.  Donkey Kong, Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros (1&3), The Legend of Zelda, Tetris, and Mario Kart are really some of the greatest and most influential games ever made.  That is the Nintendo from the arcade/8-bit-16-bit eras.  All of the games I just listed are more important than anything the N64 turned out.  And all of the games I listed made Nintendo a crap-ton of money.  They excited fans like the N64 games never could.

That is why I compare the N64 to the Wii U.  It sold better objectively, but Nintendo had a lot of momentum and positive good will going into the N64 era and they squandered it all away.  By the Wii U era, Nintendo had already pissed off lots and lots of people.  Both have a few good games, but neither is really successful as a whole.  But I feel the N64 did a lot more permanent damage.  Nintendo started focusing on games that most people don't want, and it had just kept doing this sort of thing for several generations now.



zorg1000 said:

Not even close. 33 million in the 90s is a significantly bigger deal than selling 13.5 million in the 2010s because of the size of the markets at time. N64 had close to 25% marketshare while Wii U is under 10%.

As for influential software, games like Mario 64, Ocarina of Time and Goldeneye set the trend for those genres going forward and you can still see their influences 20+ years later. Wii U had so really high quality games but high quality and influential are not the same thing.

One other thing to consider is that most of the N64 love comes from America where N64 actually did pretty well and was competitive with PS1 for a few years.

Ocarina of Time mostly influenced the Zelda series and little else.  Zelda was actually more influential when it was 2D, because it inspired a lot more direct competitors than Ocarina ever did.  Goldeneye is not nearly as important to FPS as Doom or Call of Duty. 

Mario 64 is more well known for it's negative influence on platformers than anything else.  The 8/16 bit eras are known for having tons of platformers.  All of these games were imitating 2D Mario.  How many 3D platformers are made nowadays?  Not many.  3D platformers are now a niche genre.  2D platformers used to be the primary genre.  That is the legacy of Mario 64.

Really, you left out the best game: Smash Bros.  It's funny what people think are the "influential games"

Almost everything you said is wrong.



When the herd loses its way, the shepard must kill the bull that leads them astray.

Around the Network

While N64 got a lot right, going with cartridges was a blunder Nintendo has still yet to fully recover from.



I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.

Mandalore76 said:
The_Liquid_Laser said:

Yeah, but everything you just said can also be applied to the Wii U.  This description basically paints the N64 as a niche console with some very vocal fans.  If that is your assertion, then I can agree with that.  N64 is a lot like the Dreamcast or the Wii U.

Nintendo never posted any losses during the N64 era.  It wasn't until the Wii U development cycle and release that happened.  The N64 sold 3.6 million units alone in the US in it's first year which is about what the Wii U managed globally.  Also:  "During its first four months, the console yielded 500,000 unit sales in North America.[74] Nintendo successfully outsold Sony and Sega early in 1997 in the United States."  The Wii U didn't even outsell the much older Xbox 360 and PS3 on a week to week basis (even in holiday weeks) during its first year prior to having contend with the PS4 or Xbox One.  So no, not the same situation at all.

It was because of the popularity explosion of the handheld industry. If it weren't for that, N64 and Gamecube would have bankrupted Nintendo.



I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.

The_Liquid_Laser said:

1. Ocarina and Smash Bros were definitely important games.  It may be too early to tell with the Wii U, but it also has games like Splatoon and Mario Maker.  It's hardware is also important in leading to the Switch.  In these ways it is influential.  It was just not terribly successful.

2. Nintendo's losses were due to the 3DS.  Their first loss came before the Wii U was even released.  


On the other hand Nintendo had a perfect record before the N64 was released.  It got clobbered by Sony.  It's influence is how it influenced Nintendo away from first place for generations to come.

3. Ocarina of Time mostly influenced the Zelda series and little else.  Zelda was actually more influential when it was 2D, because it inspired a lot more direct competitors than Ocarina ever did.  Goldeneye is not nearly as important to FPS as Doom or Call of Duty. 

Mario 64 is more well known for it's negative influence on platformers than anything else.  The 8/16 bit eras are known for having tons of platformers.  All of these games were imitating 2D Mario.  How many 3D platformers are made nowadays?  Not many.  3D platformers are now a niche genre.  2D platformers used to be the primary genre.  That is the legacy of Mario 64.

Really, you left out the best game: Smash Bros.  It's funny what people think are the "influential games".

4. 4 controller ports is a legitamitely great contribution.  I'll give you that.  Because that lead to games like Smash Bros which is still growing in popularity today.

All of the other "contributions" you listed actually helped Sony more than Nintendo.  They solved 3D camera and combat for Playstation games.  They brought FPS to consoles so that it could be done better by Playstation games (and the third party games that are mostly on Playstation/XBox).  They solved a lot of technical problems that helped their competitors more than it helped Nintendo.  If the N64 influenced anything, then it influenced Nintendo's downfall.

On top of that, while N64 may have innovated in very technical ways, it actually had very few great games.  Donkey Kong, Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros (1&3), The Legend of Zelda, Tetris, and Mario Kart are really some of the greatest and most influential games ever made.  That is the Nintendo from the arcade/8-bit-16-bit eras.  All of the games I just listed are more important than anything the N64 turned out.  And all of the games I listed made Nintendo a crap-ton of money.  They excited fans like the N64 games never could.

That is why I compare the N64 to the Wii U.  It sold better objectively, but Nintendo had a lot of momentum and positive good will going into the N64 era and they squandered it all away.  By the Wii U era, Nintendo had already pissed off lots and lots of people.  Both have a few good games, but neither is really successful as a whole.  But I feel the N64 did a lot more permanent damage.  Nintendo started focusing on games that most people don't want, and it had just kept doing this sort of thing for several generations now.

Your whole post is a crazy defense of the Wii U. You've taken it to a new level.

1. Splatoon and Super Mario Maker aren't influential games. You won't be seeing other companies make games like those.

All the Wii U's hardware showed was how not to do it. Using your logic, the Virtual Boy is one of the most influential consoles of all times. That's not how it works.

2. The Wii U, along with the Virtual Boy, are the only Nintendo consoles that were not profitable over their lifetime. While the 3DS accounted for losses at first, it at least made it all back. On the other hand, the Wii U was sold at a loss from the start and Nintendo could only explain the continued bleeding to investors by pointing to the lack of massproduction as the culprit for the absence of reductions to the manufacturing costs. There's a reason why the Wii U never got a second price cut.

3. You deny Ocarina of Time's importance in your third response of the quote stack, but acknowledge its importance in the fourth response by twisting it into something negative. You are applying massive double standards by saying that Wii U games still have to be given time to prove their influence whereas the influence of Nintendo 64 games was already omnipresent during the generation they released in.

4. If the Nintendo 64 was so bad in your eyes, then how come that you are championing the Wii U in comparison where everything was worse? Nintendo's momentum going into the Wii U era was better than their momentum going into the N64 era. Wii U is Nintendo's worst generation and it came right after Nintendo's most successful generation.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

Actually, it's already passed the N64 in Japan and Europe, though it still has a while to go before it does so in the U.S. It may or may not pass the N64 in the U.S. by the end of the year, but if not it should definitely be on the verge of doing so before the middle of 2020.

Here's the most recent regional sales data I have for the Switch (NPD, Media Create, and VGC for U.S., Japan, and Europe, respectively) compared to lifetime N64 sales:


The N64 was clearly much more popular in the U.S. than elsewhere, with the U.S. representing about 54.7% of global N64 sales. For its first year on the market, it was actually outselling the PS1, though that stopped being the case once FFVII came out and PS1 sales exploded:



MasonADC said:
Signalstar said:
The N64 did not sell well because most people were only born with two hands.

I’ve never held a N64 controller, is it really that bad?

Despite its odd "trident" shape, it was actually quite comfortable (far more so than the PS1 controller IMO), and it was more than adequate for most games. It really demonstrated how necessary analog sticks were for 3D games. The amount of ease and precision in moving Mario around in Super Mario 64 was enough by itself to establish that analog controls were the future. The PS1's Dual Analog wasn't released until April 1997, and as a result you had control schemes for earlier PS1 games designed around D-pad controls (probably the reason we had "tank controls" in games like Resident Evil and Tomb Raider).

On the minus side, as others pointed out the analog stick wasn't very robust and wore out over time. Also, it had only one analog stick, so FPS controls weren't as good as the dual analog controls that became the norm in the following generation. That's not to say the controls in games like GoldenEye or Perfect Dark were bad, mind you. Just not the best, as they were designed around having to use one stick and the four C buttons to move (and the default in GoldenEye and Perfect Dark, the analog stick moved you forward and back and looked left and right, while the C buttons were for strafing and looking up and down; weird, I know). At the time it was passable, but once I got hold of Halo CE back in 2001, it was clear that dual analog controls for FPSs were the way to go.

Soundwave said:

N64 is an example of a console that should have sold 70-100 million units and was totally shot in the foot by really dumb hardware decisions. If they had compromised and included a CD drive, they would have beat Sony that generation because 3rd party devs like Squaresoft, Enix, Capcom, EA, would have no reason to bail out.

The fact that it sold as well as it did with such a low number of software titles released is impressive. 

^This.

OTBWY said:

I have a gold one. It's nice but it is small though. Theres also this awesome looking thing https://retrofighters.com/our-collection/brawler64-nextgen-n64-controller-colors/

I however don't know how they actually play. The stick is always an issue.

I've heard nothing but good things about this particular controller. I've seen people rave about it on YouTube, and it comes highly recommended by people on my local retro gamers social group on Facebook. I haven't bought one yet myself, but I do want to get one.

Last edited by Shadow1980 - on 06 April 2019