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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Why do Nintendo handhelds do better than their home consoles?

So my last thread went tits up, people were getting hung up on thinking I actually thought PS2 sold because it was a DVD player, but understand people actually think that. Anyway. It's interesting to note why a console sells. People have their own interpretations of it but more often than not they fail to explain all scenarios. For example there are those who say PS4 sold like it did because Xbox One fucked up... is that to say the reverse would be true if PS4 fucked up? No, because PS3 already answers that question. We know that PS has a higher upper limit than Xbox in sales because it appeals in more markets. But why is that? That's another topic i'd say.

On to Nintendo. First of all what stopped the N64 from beating the PS1? Or the Gamecube beating the PS2? I'd argue game formats that stopped them from getting many CD/DVD based titles in those two gens. That one is fairly easy. But then what sold the GBA to so many more people, and why couldn't Gamecube capitalize on that? Was is portability? Was it Pokemon? Did I just answer that question? Maybe I did. It seems core Nintendo home consoles don't do too great in the sales department, yet their portables that generally also have a core audience manage 70 million+ at the low end. Even though the flagship Mario, Zelda, Metroid and Mario Karts often release only on their home consoles (until Switch that is). So isn't it the Nintendo staples that sells Nintendo hardware?

What confuses me is what is driving the sales of the Switch right now? Is it Mario and Zelda? Gamecube had those. N64 had those. Pokemon hasn't released yet but it's already selling par for the course with other Nintendo handhelds. Yet their home consoles go slow (unless it's the Wii). Is it actually portability and the preconcieved knowledge that it will eventually have Pokemon that shifts these things? Of course that's the spark, but it also aquires a library of great games as a result of these sales which also leads to more sales, it could be that too... but their home consoles also have great libraries, better than their handhelds in my opinion.. So I'm confused.

It's not that I think these sales aren't warrented, it's just that I feel their home consoles deserved more love. That and I'm genuinely curious why their handhelds sell more.

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Well Nintendo has a long line of successful handhelds. One part of the equation is probably that Nintendo never faced real competition until and only from the PSP as dedicated handheld.

However the pure handheld market these days get heavy competition from smartphones which should explain the drop from other Nintendo handhelds and the 3DS. Another part of the equation is Nintendo's dedication to make great handheld games and some smart deals with third party devs (monster hunter) and that it's pretty cheap to develop for 3DS compared to PS4.

Also handhelds are portable so great for long trips and cheaper than consoles. Since they are weaker than homeconsoles most games are cartoony instead of realistic. So they are great for kids. All those factors attribute to Nintendo is succes when it comes to handhelds.

With home consoles they actually have serious competition. Playstation especially has a great first party line-up and also get all the major third party games. Because of that it appeals to a larger audience than previous core Nintendo homeconsoles, which you buy for the exclusives and little else.

With the Switch Nintendo tries to combine the power of a homeconsole with all the factors I listed above which make them so succesful in the handheld market, so they are three steps ahead of mobiles again, so thst the Switch can outsell 3DS.

Please excuse my (probally) poor grammar

I don't know, people like handheld consoles, and apart from the PSP, Nintendo hasn't had any major competition of handheld market share? Plus portable franchises like Pokemon, Animal Crossing, on top of the usual Mario and Zelda.

Probably because the competition for Nintendo is much harder in the traditional console market.

With Handhelds there hasnt really been any competition, except for the PSP.
We all know Sony messed up the design for the vita... so.... yeah there was that 1 psp, apart from that no competiton.
Makes it alot easier to do wel.

Too lazy to give the obvious answer ...

Switch Friend Code : 3905-6122-2909 

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Hard to say. I have only ever owned a Gameboy Color, and now the Switch. I thought NES, SNES, and N64 were outstanding devices, and much more deserving of the kinds of sales we have seen from stuff like Gameboy Advance, DS, and 3DS. To me PSP and Vita were much better devices, and PSP had a much more appealing games line-up. Outside of Pokemon, I have never understood the appeal of Nintendo handhelds.

Switch is a different story though. Switch is bring the games of the Handheld and Console to one unified platform. Now we get the console quality versions of Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Mario Kart, Smash Bros., and finally a console quality version of Pokemon, all available on the go. This is huge, and that is why for the first time since Gameboy Color and Nintendo 64, I am interested in Nintendo again, and have invested in the Switch. This device is a very nice change in direction.

If Nintendo takes things a step further, and makes a Switch Phone, then I can see a platform that is worth the 150M+ figures that the orginal DS reached. One device that I can take with me that makes calls, browses the web, and plays AAA caliber games. Then at the end of the day, I can dock it, and fire up my 75" TV, grab a Mouse and Keyboard or Pro Controller and have a more refined and relaxing expereince. Give it a VR headset, and you have the ultimate all in one device. That is my dream platform, and Switch has all the makings of a very nice foundation to that future.

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Mar1217 said:
Too lazy to give the obvious answer ...

I aint.

Pokémon. There

Their handhelds have Pokemon?

Bet Shiken that COD would outsell Battlefield in 2018.

Mar1217 said:
Too lazy to give the obvious answer ...


Then I will do it for you... Japan loves the handheld systems particularly Pokémon. 


The Gameboy while successful didn't blow up in any territory until Pokémon hit. After that the more powerful successors became havens for old school gaming and just fun stuff that people can play on the go.

Probably because a lot of other handhelds throughout the years had some fatal flaw. Nintendo's competition in the 90s (Sega and Atari) were huge battery guzzlers, and the Vita was too expensive for a lot of people, especially with the memory cards. The only one that avoided this was the PSP, which did pretty well.