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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Is ARMS a failure, or not?

Nuvendil said:

We can actually calculate the real profitability of the game pretty easily. As a first party, they make around $35 on every physical sale, nearly $60 on every digital sale. (...)

I am curious about this difference between physical and digital. The retailer cut for a $60 game is $12-15 and then there's $3-4 for manufacturing and shipping of a physical copy. What's the rest of the difference?



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

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

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Jumpin said:

They’ve been touting it? I am not seeing this at all. The game has literally been forgotten since its massive marketing campaign concluded. I don’t think they even mentioned it after a sales footnote summer of last year. 

Yes. They've promoted it regularly for at least another year, and kept supporting the game until earlier in June, when the last Party Crash took place. Hell, it even got one more update made because it actually sold a bit higher than their expectations. If it didn't meet their expectations, then why would they continue to support it for 2 years?

It’s goal was not to demonstrate the joycon, that was 1-2 Switch. If demonstrating the joycon was its goal, they did a very poor job of it since all the youtube channels covering it switched to playing it with button controls until they dropped the game completely not long after.

Yes it was. The whole reason the game was made for the Switch in the first place was because the developers thought the Joy-Con were a natural fit for the punching mechanics of the game. Adding button controls was Yabuki's idea as he felt that a fighting game like this should allow players different options, and the Switch embraces such versatility. He even said that nearly half as many people play with Motion Controls as Button players. Small YouTube sample sizes don't compare to the actual stats the developers have access to.

With ARMs they were attempting to bring alive some kind of massive competitive gaming scene, it was in all the marketing. And that didn’t happen. Like their other failures (e.g. Nintendo Land) there’s been zero follow-up, zero touting. It’s looking like a game that they consider failing to reach expectations.

I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the game, I was probably its biggest fan on VG Chartz. I’m saying that Nintendo is not treating this game like a success. The reasons I believe this is the case are outlined in my posts.

There may have been an attempt to make it a viable competitive game. But that wasn't the main point of the game. It's primary function was to demonstrate the Joy-Con's use in a new kind of fighting game with a New IP. In that sense, it did fine. Sure, the competitive aspect may not have caught on the way they wanted, but that should not be a reason to give up. If anything, that should be a reason to improve. Fixing the problems of the original, while still keeping what they original did well is how you make a more successful sequel.

Some are saying it’s a good show for a new game in a niche genre. Then why would Nintendo care about putting all these resources into some kind of niche genre before ignoring it completely? Clearly, they were looking for big success in a new ocean. That didn’t happen.

Unless you know what Nintendo's sales expectations were, there's no way to be certain. Do you really think ARMS had that kind of money put into it? It mostly likely didn't cost that much to make, and its marketing campaign was much smaller than the original Splatoon's, which was hyped to hell and back with events and endless commercials. ARMS had much more modest marketing with the occasional tournament, and standard commercials. Nintendo knew this probably wasn't going to be the next Splatoon, so it needed to bring in its own appeal.

The other point I made before is that 2.1 million would be a major success for a smaller company with no grand strategic design and without the massive expenses of a machine the size of Nintendo. This isn’t the case with Nintendo. They have limited resources and those resources have important roles. In other words, what ARMs achieved is not particularly valuable to Nintendo in any form other than “we learned that we shouldn’t do this again.”

Nintendo may not be as big as Sony or Microsoft, but they're not an indie studio. They've got 900 internal developers in their Kyoto and Tokyo Offices, and a multi-billion dollar net worth. Don't give me that "They don't have the resources" crap. ARMS did fine, selling solid, but not amazing numbers. Nintendo continued to Market and support the game for another year or two. Even the producer is interested in making a sequel. Nintendo's made sequels to games that sold far less than ARMS before. Pikmin and Rhythm Heaven being major examples.



Of course it's not !
Take it from a business perspective first, the game performed 2M sales which quite good for most new IP out there and when you add in the tendancy of Nintendo to be budget-conscious about most of their outings, it is clear ARMS was at least succesful in that sense.

Now, nobody knows what Nintendo was actually expecting it to perform but Nintendo never had the lofty expectations of their western counterparts (Unless your Square Enix lol) so I think they forecasted something much in the realm of possibilities for this franchise which it probably reached.
At least enough to make a sequel now 😃



Switch Friend Code : 3905-6122-2909 

RolStoppable said:
Nuvendil said:

We can actually calculate the real profitability of the game pretty easily. As a first party, they make around $35 on every physical sale, nearly $60 on every digital sale. (...)

I am curious about this difference between physical and digital. The retailer cut for a $60 game is $12-15 and then there's $3-4 for manufacturing and shipping of a physical copy. What's the rest of the difference?

https://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a8b7438c970b-600wi

The returns is technically a bit different and will vary.  But nearly all expenses are eliminated for a first party digital release.



I really liked the Advance Wars series. It was extremely fun, and still has some passionate fans. I am sure all of the games turned a profit. Was it ever a mega seller? Nope.

In the end there are games out there we would all like to see sequels to. But if they aren't one of the top selling games, then there may not be a compelling business reason to make a sequel. The resources are probably better spent trying a whole new type of game from scratch.



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TheMisterManGuy said: 
Jumpin said: 

They’ve been touting it? I am not seeing this at all. The game has literally been forgotten since its massive marketing campaign concluded. I don’t think they even mentioned it after a sales footnote summer of last year. 

Yes. They've promoted it regularly for at least another year, and kept supporting the game until earlier in June, when the last Party Crash took place. Hell, it even got one more update made because it actually sold a bit higher than their expectations. If it didn't meet their expectations, then why would they continue to support it for 2 years?

It’s goal was not to demonstrate the joycon, that was 1-2 Switch. If demonstrating the joycon was its goal, they did a very poor job of it since all the youtube channels covering it switched to playing it with button controls until they dropped the game completely not long after.

Yes it was. The whole reason the game was made for the Switch in the first place was because the developers thought the Joy-Con were a natural fit for the punching mechanics of the game. Adding button controls was Yabuki's idea as he felt that a fighting game like this should allow players different options, and the Switch embraces such versatility. He even said that nearly half as many people play with Motion Controls as Button players. Small YouTube sample sizes don't compare to the actual stats the developers have access to.

With ARMs they were attempting to bring alive some kind of massive competitive gaming scene, it was in all the marketing. And that didn’t happen. Like their other failures (e.g. Nintendo Land) there’s been zero follow-up, zero touting. It’s looking like a game that they consider failing to reach expectations.

I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the game, I was probably its biggest fan on VG Chartz. I’m saying that Nintendo is not treating this game like a success. The reasons I believe this is the case are outlined in my posts.

There may have been an attempt to make it a viable competitive game. But that wasn't the main point of the game. It's primary function was to demonstrate the Joy-Con's use in a new kind of fighting game with a New IP. In that sense, it did fine. Sure, the competitive aspect may not have caught on the way they wanted, but that should not be a reason to give up. If anything, that should be a reason to improve. Fixing the problems of the original, while still keeping what they original did well is how you make a more successful sequel.

Some are saying it’s a good show for a new game in a niche genre. Then why would Nintendo care about putting all these resources into some kind of niche genre before ignoring it completely? Clearly, they were looking for big success in a new ocean. That didn’t happen.

Unless you know what Nintendo's sales expectations were, there's no way to be certain. Do you really think ARMS had that kind of money put into it? It mostly likely didn't cost that much to make, and its marketing campaign was much smaller than the original Splatoon's, which was hyped to hell and back with events and endless commercials. ARMS had much more modest marketing with the occasional tournament, and standard commercials. Nintendo knew this probably wasn't going to be the next Splatoon, so it needed to bring in its own appeal.

The other point I made before is that 2.1 million would be a major success for a smaller company with no grand strategic design and without the massive expenses of a machine the size of Nintendo. This isn’t the case with Nintendo. They have limited resources and those resources have important roles. In other words, what ARMs achieved is not particularly valuable to Nintendo in any form other than “we learned that we shouldn’t do this again.”

Nintendo may not be as big as Sony or Microsoft, but they're not an indie studio. They've got 900 internal developers in their Kyoto and Tokyo Offices, and a multi-billion dollar net worth. Don't give me that "They don't have the resources" crap. ARMS did fine, selling solid, but not amazing numbers. Nintendo continued to Market and support the game for another year or two. Even the producer is interested in making a sequel. Nintendo's made sequels to games that sold far less than ARMS before. Pikmin and Rhythm Heaven being major examples.

1. You’re stretching by trying to equate an online feature being active for 2 years before stopping to be 2 years of support. The last real dev support ended in January 2018. An initial marketing push is not a result of success, it is an attempt at it.

2. If the goal was to show off the joy cons’ motion controls, as you say, then they failed for the reasons I already stated. When success looks like in that regard are the 20M+ selling motion games on Wii and driving the sales of tens of millions of consoles, a follow up selling a mere 2.1M and not creating any kind of significant sales wave can’t be regarded as successful.

3. Despite what you may think about Nintendo, their resources are not boundless when we’re talking about the devs that work on their core strategic titles. If it were a matter of spending some of the billions of dollars Nintendo has to push out some extra game, they wouldn’t have used their core devs. They would have used one of their lesser teams, bought a new team, or contracted a third party. Instead, they used the devs that made Wii-series and Mario Kart: games that have sold between 20 and 80 million+ and have been core to driving millions to tens of millions of console sales. These employees are a finite and extraordinarily valuable resource, not devs they use to push out titles with the expectation to only sell a couple million.

Nintendo made no strategic gains: no millions of extra consoles sold, no new markets created, no new massive 10M+ franchise established. If none of these things were a goal for Nintendo with this title, they’d not have used these particular resources for it. Especially in the launch period of one of their important consoles.



I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.

Nuvendil said:
RolStoppable said:

I am curious about this difference between physical and digital. The retailer cut for a $60 game is $12-15 and then there's $3-4 for manufacturing and shipping of a physical copy. What's the rest of the difference?

https://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a8b7438c970b-600wi

The returns is technically a bit different and will vary.  But nearly all expenses are eliminated for a first party digital release.

Considering that Nintendo usually has to ship lots of new copies each and every quarter, returns are negligible to non-existent most of the time.



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

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

Jumpin said:

1. You’re stretching by trying to equate an online feature being active for 2 years before stopping to be 2 years of support. The last real dev support ended in January 2018. An initial marketing push is not a result of success, it is an attempt at it.

If they were still promoting and running Party Crash events, then they were still supporting the game. That still takes resources, staff, and coordinators to do.

2. If the goal was to show off the joy cons’ motion controls, as you say, then they failed for the reasons I already stated. When success looks like in that regard are the 20M+ selling motion games on Wii and driving the sales of tens of millions of consoles, a follow up selling a mere 2.1M and not creating any kind of significant sales wave can’t be regarded as successful.

You forget that

A.) ARMS is more "core" oriented than games like Wii Sports or Wii Play.

B.) Wii Sports and Wii Play came with Hardware. Wii Play sold because it came with a Wii Remote, not because it was a great game. Wii Sports came with the Wii itself.

ARMS was always going to do less than those games because of those factors. That said, on its own merits, it was still a very successful game for what it set out to do. By your logic. 1-2 Switch was also a colossal failure because it didn't do the numbers of Wii Play or Wii Sports, never mind the fact that it wasn't a pack in with anything, or that it was $50. By the standards of a standalone release, ARMS did very well.

3. Despite what you may think about Nintendo, their resources are not boundless when we’re talking about the devs that work on their core strategic titles. If it were a matter of spending some of the billions of dollars Nintendo has to push out some extra game, they wouldn’t have used their core devs. They would have used one of their lesser teams, bought a new team, or contracted a third party. Instead, they used the devs that made Wii-series and Mario Kart: games that have sold between 20 and 80 million+ and have been core to driving millions to tens of millions of console sales. These employees are a finite and extraordinarily valuable resource, not devs they use to push out titles with the expectation to only sell a couple million.

You make it sound like Nintendo is a struggling indie studio who needs to focus on the big titles to make it by. They're not. They're a multi-billion dollar company with nearly a thousand developers at their disposal, all supporting a platform with over 40 million users worldwide. They're a big company, they have the resources to make games that don't do Mario and Zelda numbers, yet still be profitable. Again, May I remind you that this is the same company that still continues to put out Pikmin and Rhythm Heaven games in-house despite never breaking past 1 million copies?

Nintendo's developers should be free to make whatever they want to make so long as its profitable. If the team wants to make another ARMS game, then they should have the ability to make another ARMS game. Don't you want developers to make the games THEY want to make?

Nintendo made no strategic gains: no millions of extra consoles sold, no new markets created, no new massive 10M+ franchise established. If none of these things were a goal for Nintendo with this title, they’d not have used these particular resources for it. Especially in the launch period of one of their important consoles.

ARMS filled a niche early in the Switch's life. It was a non-Smash Fighting game with a unique premise that showed what the Joy-Con can do for traditional game genres, and sold well on the then very limited Switch userbase. A sequel will obviously be expected to sell more now due to more competition and a larger userbase. But for a launch window title, 2.1 million copies is very good.



RolStoppable said:
Nuvendil said:

https://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a8b7438c970b-600wi

The returns is technically a bit different and will vary.  But nearly all expenses are eliminated for a first party digital release.

Considering that Nintendo usually has to ship lots of new copies each and every quarter, returns are negligible to non-existent most of the time.

Possibly, as I said it varies.  So better way to put it is that $34 is guaranteed average profit for a physical copy.  So it can go up.



TheMisterManGuy said:
Lonely_Dolphin said:

Certainly doesn't prove you can't be a big franchise on the first try.

You can. It's just difficult to do. Many series don't reach those insane heights at all, let alone on their first game. I feel that its better to have a game series be a consistent and well selling game, rather than trying to make it the next big phenomenon. You can try to do that, but it's not something you can control at the end of the day.

Yea, not every franchise started as a phenomenon right out of the gate.

Animal Crossing is an example. You also have franchises like Uncharted.

Drake's Fortune sold about 3 million copies. Really good for a new IP, but not a phenomenon until the later games.

Mass Effect 1 (recorded, as of now) sold around 2 million copies. Then the series exploded when its sequel came out and the third game sold well, despite the controversial ending(s). And then Andromeda happened...