Forums - Sales Discussion - August NPD 2020: Switch 504k, PS4 197k, XBO 45k

Stolen from tazmin on Era lol


German YouTuber and Streamer:

Me trying to write reviews:
Octopath Traveler

Amazon 2020 thread

Around the Network

I`ll say it, Xbox had the biggest improvement Month over Month of all the 3.

duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"

Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"

RolStoppable said:
UnderwaterFunktown said:

If that was the case wouldn't the PS4 have been higher last month when the Xbone had abysmal stock? It was 150k then, so I don't see a clear connection. Regardless its a step up for everyone, didn't expect Xbox to recover or for the PS4 to be that high.

Last month didn't have any particular reason to have to have an Xbox, so people who couldn't get one would simply wait for the time being. This month had the yearly Madden and UFC releases, so those who couldn't get an Xbox in time for these releases were more inclined to get a PS4 instead of waiting until a later date. We are only talking about 20-30k units that went to the PS4 instead of the XB1 in August.

Ehh, I'm not convinced that Madden or UFC really sell systems this far into a gen, at least not in a noticable way. Xbone would probably have sold a bit more if the stock was there, but I doubt those sales would have been taken from PS4.

DonFerrari said:
I`ll say it, Xbox had the biggest improvement Month over Month of all the 3.

Well, when you're extremely low, even an increase to just very low is a "big improvement".

Bet with Liquidlaser: I say PS5 and Xbox Series will sell more than 56 million combined by the end of 2023.

"Final Fantasy VII: Remake returned to the top 20 best-selling titles chart (#19) in August after finishing ranked 41st in July. The title was featured at a discounted price digitally on the PlayStation Store."

The title was at a discount at retailers such as Best Buy, GameStop, Amazon, etc. from August 7 to 19. Strange that info would be left out, but only mentioning digital.

Around the Network
RolStoppable said:
Switch being up more than 100% year over year in August hurts Shadow's analysis from a month ago.

How so? My argument was over the attribution of the observed increases in Switch sales. Some people were insisting that Animal Crossing, and not other factors like the increased spending on at-home entertainment during a pandemic that was further boosted by most households getting a $1200 (or more) stimulus check, was the primary factor for the observed YoY increases seen not just in March, but in every month since. There is good reason to believe that it's not the case.

And the Switch having a very strong August (+48% over July) doesn't prove that AC is still pushing massive amounts of hardware an order of magnitude higher than the previous known record. The Switch being way up YoY in August is surprising, but it doesn't prove AC is still the primary driver of the surplus in sales, nor does it disprove that the pandemic was the primary driver. In fact, it doesn't even prove that had 2020 been a boring year, one with no AC and no pandemic, that the Switch would be massively up YoY. At best, I think it proves that there was insufficient stock to meet demand for the past several months, meaning that if stock was able to meet demand, we'd have seen even bigger numbers for at least the May-July period and, consequently, an August that would have likely been far smaller than ~500k.

Why do I say this? Because there is still insufficient evidence to support the claim that AC was somehow uniquely able to produce most if not nearly all of the what is now a roughly 1.4M YoY surplus over the entire period from April onward (if we include March, that drives up the YoY surplus to about 2M). There is good reason to think a surplus that massive could not possibly have come from a single game, and I can provide the data to support my belief. If you want the "TL;DR" version, I have a bullet point list towards the bottom of this post, but I'm still going to get into a lot of details here.

Some were pointing to AC being popular as proof that it is the primary driver of the sales increase seen in the U.S. But that's merely an assertion without any supporting evidence, and none was ever given. As a counterexample to that claim, there are lots of very popular games that don't move any appreciable amount of extra hardware past their launch month. In fact, some of the best-selling games on certain systems don't appear to have done much of anything to increase sales at all. Meanwhile, some of the biggest system-sellers on several systems weren't even their biggest games. And I can provide examples. Since this an NPD thread, I'll try to keep the focus on the U.S.

On the PS2, GTA3, Vice City, San Andreas, and Gran Turismo 3 & 4 dominated the all-time best-sellers chart on the system. However, the three GTA games don't appear to have done anything to boost HW sales beyond their release month (if they did, there's no way to tell), and neither Gran Turismo game had any measurable effect at all.

On the OXbox, Halo 2 doesn't appear to have any real impact beyond its launch month, seeing as even though Nov. 2004 was up more than October was YoY, December was down by 7.5%.

GTAV appears to be the biggest game on the PS3, and it did cause a significant increase in PS3 sales the first two months of its release, but it was too late in the generation to be its biggest system-seller. Meanwhile, other popular games didn't have any impact on HW sales that can be determined from the data, with examples including Gran Turismo 5 and all the big Naughty Dog games on the system. The biggest system-seller on the PS3 in the U.S. appears to be MGS4 of all things, which while popular wasn't even close to being the best-selling game on the system.

For both the DS and PSP, there doesn't seem to be a single month where we see significant improvements and can point to a particular software release as the likely cause. I went over the NSMB example some offered in last month's thread (TL;DR, it had no impact on DS sales in its release month in the U.S., and a decent but very short-lived impact in Japan, and the only "evidence" being offered was "It was the best-selling game on the system," something I've shown doesn't mean much), but there are other popular games on both systems that don't appear to have caused any detectable changes in HW sales for either system.

For the PS4, GTAV is also the best-selling game on the system, yet didn't appear to do much for sales, though to be fair that was just a re-release of a Gen 7 game. The best-selling exclusive on the system was Spider-Man, which did move some hardware. God of War did as well. But they weren't exactly setting records. The biggest confirmed system-seller on the PS4 in the U.S. was actually Destiny, which, while initially very successful, was only in the NPD monthly Top 10 for its first two months, and isn't even in the NPD all-time Top 10, indicating that it was very front-loaded. In fact, while it wasn't setting records for biggest launch ever (though it was apparently the biggest launch of any new IP ever), Destiny appeared to have caused perhaps the single largest increase in hardware sales (to its flagship platform, at least) in both absolute and percentage terms of any individual game to date in the U.S. What impact it had beyond its second month is impossible to determine as we don't have a proper reference point seeing as the previous holiday season was the launch holiday, but given that it had dropped completely out of the Top 10 in November its impact was likely minimal to nonexistent at that point.

As we can see, a game's popularity does not always correlate with its ability to cause observable growth in hardware sales. It's very hit-or-miss. Many did move hardware, but many didn't. Some systems don't even have any clear-cut system-sellers. And the biggest system-sellers are frequently not the biggest game on the system. And by "system-seller" I mean a game that causes an observed increase in hardware sales, not a popular game that people just happen to buy alongside a purchase of a new system. Sure, any game can technically be a system-seller in the sense that it convinces someone by itself to buy a particular system, but very few games have ever caused any noticeable increase in hardware sales in the U.S. (though to be fair there many modest system-sellers may have gone unnoticed because the NPD tracks sales monthly instead of weekly like in Japan, where smaller system-sellers are easier to notice). If a console had a baseline of 50k/week and a thousand people bought a console for some niche title, that game is technically a system-seller, but that doesn't mean it was responsible for any detectable increase in hardware sales. There are system-sellers and then there are system-sellers.

As to how much surplus hardware those games actually moved—in other words, how many extra units were sold that month compared to how much it would have likely sold without the game in question—that can be estimated (though not determined exactly) by looking at how much sales increased over the previous month(s) in absolute terms and, when necessary, cross-referencing that with percent year-over-year or month-over-month increases (though YoY changes by themselves can sometimes not give a full picture due to other factors, including but not limited to general statistical noise). In other words, by looking at things like general baseline sales, we can estimate how much a system likely would have sold in a given month had the system-seller in question not existed and subtract that from how much it actually did sell to arrive at an estimate of how many surplus units the system-seller actually sold.

To give an idea of the typical range of impacts, here's how much surplus hardware units some of the aforementioned games as well as some other examples likely moved in their release months, rounded off to the nearest 5000 units (some examples also include the estimated surplus seen in the second month in parentheses if one can be determined):

GTA: Vice City: 110k
GTA: San Andreas: 180k
Halo 2: 120k
Metal Gear Solid 4: 145k (<20k in Month 2)
Gears of War 3: 100k
GTA5 (PS3): 125k (50k in Month 2)
Destiny (PS4): 300k (105k in Month 2)
Destiny (XBO): 85k
Halo 5: 80k
Gears of War 4: 60k
God of War: 120k
Spider-Man: 175k

To put the example of Destiny in graph form (since it's the biggest of the bunch and therefore easiest to illustrate visually):

This ought to give you an idea of what kind of impacts major system-sellers actually have when it comes to the kind of sales growth they're capable of. As mentioned, the biggest one of the list was Destiny, which moved an approximate surplus of about 400k additional PS4 units over a two-month period (and how much of that record spike was due to limited edition bundles with the Destiny-themed console?). The other examples were much less than that. The impact of individual games on hardware sales growth is often grossly overestimated. We're talking normally not much more than 200k extra units that might not have otherwise been sold. Most games only affected hardware sales in just their release month. With the handful of games where we can clearly see them having an impact on the month after their release, the effect is greatly reduced in the second month, and we never see anything in the third month or beyond, at least nothing that can be easily detected in the sales data. They all exhausted their capacity to produce growth in hardware sales in short order.

And these are the more clear-cut examples. There are some instances where it's difficult if not impossible to tell what kind of an impact certain games had because of other factors that complicate things. This is relevant because it pertains to the Switch and AC.

Mario Kart Double Dash, the best-selling game on the GC not released during the launch holiday, appears to have had an at best modest effect, but it's close enough to the YoY increase seen in October (which was the result of a price cut) to where it's impossible to tell what kind of effect it had, if it even had any. In fact, there doesn't appear to be any statistically significant increases in GC sales at any point in the U.S. that can be attributed solely to a particular software release.

Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire was the most popular game on the GBA. However, it was released the same month as the GBA SP. While it's impossible to tell what impact Pokemon had, given the typical impact of Pokemon games and the typical impact of major hardware revisions, the SP is almost certainly the primary driver of the observed sales increase from March 2003 on to around early 2004.

The impact of major Wii games released past the launch holiday are very difficult to determine given the volatile stock situation throughout most of the system's first 2-3 years. Mario Kart Wii and Smash Brawl appear to have had some kind of impact, but how much can't be determined. New SMB Wii's impact is impossible to determine as well given the Wii's first price cut was issued less than two months prior, and the holiday sales that year were... weird (November was way down, but December was way up).

Halo 3 was the best-selling first-party game on the 360 (excluding Kinect Adventures, which was a pack-in with the Kinect), and one of the fastest-selling games ever at the time, with 3.3M copies sold in the U.S. in its launch month, giving it what was at the time a very high attach rate (approximately 50%). While there was a big spike in Halo 3's launch month, that also came after the 360's first price cut. It's extremely difficult to tell how much of the boost in September was due to Halo and how much was due to the price cut, and it's even harder to tell what did what in later months. If we assume that September 2007 would have been flat in weekly average terms from August, that would indicate about 180k surplus units moved by Halo 3, comparable to some of the examples in the earlier list. And if we assume October's weekly average would have also remained flat from August, that means Halo 3 would have moved about 90k surplus hardware units. If that's an reasonably accurate assessment, then given that drop in hardware-moving potential in its second month and the continued declines in YoY growth in November, Halo 3 probably stopped moving additional any appreciable amount of hardware after October. Overall, we can estimate that Halo 3 may have moved somewhere between 250-300k surplus 360s, maybe more, maybe less. The price cut makes it hard to tell for sure.

Pokemon X & Y was released at the same day as the 2DS in the U.S. (Oct. 12, 2013), meaning we once again cannot tell how much of the surplus HW sales that month (about 290k units) are attributable to Pokemon and what is attributable to the new model system. What is for certain is that the net effect of both was short-lived, as while November was also up YoY, December was down quite a bit, as was every quarter of 2014.

Red Dead 2 was the best-selling Gen 8-only game on the PS4, but it came the month after Spider-Man. While weekly average sales that month were flat from the previous month, and RDR2 was obviously going to move more units being the newer game, we don't know what kind of residual effect Spider-Man may or may not have had. Assuming no residual impact from Spider-Man, RDR2 would have likely moved about the same amount of surplus hardware (about 170-180k units).

And this brings us to Animal Crossing. Like the above examples, there are confounding factors at play, so it's not as easy as simply subtracting one month's weekly average from the previous month's. AC was released at the start of a major pandemic, which resulted in an increase in spending on at-home entertainment, which was enhanced by a stimulus package that dropped at least $1200 into most households' bank accounts. So, what caused what with the observed growth in Switch sales? How do we sort through these factors? Well, I think a good place to start would be to cross-reference the observed impacts of the pandemic & stimulus on other systems. I posted charts in the July thread, but I'll elaborate on them again here briefly.

For starters, we know the pandemic and the stimulus had an effect on console sales in the U.S., because the PS4 & XBO clearly show the effects those things have had. They were up considerably for the March-May period, both in YoY terms and compared to previous non-holiday months, and the PS4 at least has been performing far better than it ought to be doing since June (more on this in a bit).

We know there was a pre-stimulus COVID bump in March for the PS4 & XBO, with sales being up substantially from February even in terms of weekly averages. The norm is for weekly average sales to be down in March by at least a decent margin, with exceptions being very rare and never close to as high in percentage terms as what we saw this year. This anomalous month-over-month growth in March for the PS4 & XBO is only explicable as a result of increased spending on at-home entertainment ahead of and in the early days of quarantine. It had to have had some effect on the Switch as well, even though there's a very high chance that AC was responsible for most of the increase seen in March seeing as the Switch had better year-over-year and month-over-month growth than either the PS4 or XBO that month.

And of course the stimulus itself cannot be overlooked. The Switch had to have gotten a significant boost from the stimulus, and it was likely something comparable to what the PS4 & XBO got (though not as high overall across the whole March-April period, as the math wouldn't work out). The PS4's weekly average sales in April were up over 60% from March, nearly triple what they were in February, and were up almost 180% YoY. The XBO's weekly average sales in April were up almost 50% from March, over 150% from February, and 210% YoY. Nobody can seriously argue that the stimulus had minimal effect on Switch sales in April. Given the Switch's figures across several metrics in April compared to that of the PS4 & XBO, the bulk of the Switch's sales growth had to have come from the stimulus.

If we make the reasonable assumption that the COVID bump was the primary factor behind the Switch's sales growth this year, that doesn't mean there's no room for Animal Crossing to be a factor. In fact, it's still entirely plausible that AC could have still beaten Destiny's record for most surplus hardware moved in both the first and second month of the game's release. I'd be willing to assume as many as 500k surplus units for the March-April period (say, 375k for March & 125k for April) are attributable to AC. That's a damn solid record for most surplus hardware moved, 25% better than Destiny, yet one that's still believable given what we've seen from other major system-sellers. But that would still be far less than what's attributable to the pandemic & stimulus. Assuming the Switch would have been flat this year in March & April absent all other factors, we're still talking at least 700k units attributable to the COVID bump for that two-month span.

Beyond April, though, my doubts regarding AC being the primary driver of the observed YoY growth in Switch sales grow even more. For the May-August period, Switch sales were up approximately 850k units YoY. In light of the above data showing how much hardware most games move, the idea AC is responsible for the majority of that increase for May-August is beyond implausible. I'd dare say impossible, given how at best even the biggest system-sellers on record appear to have moved at most 100k in their second month and nothing after that. I simply cannot think of a good reason to accept that a single game could move so much hardware that it was still generating an average of over 200k surplus units per month in its third through fifth months.

Realistically, AC was at best responsible for a very small portion of the surplus from May onward. Maybe 50k or so at most, and most that probably in May, which I'm willing to admit may have possibly gotten a very modest boost from AC that could maybe-sort be kinda detectable if you're looking hard enough. Nearly all of that nearly 850k surplus for the May-August period has to be attributable to the pandemic. And of the now roughly two-million-unit YoY increase in number of Switch units sold since March, I doubt much more than a third of that is attributable to Animal Crossing.

To go back to the PS4 & XBO as they fit into post-April sales as that's still relevant, some were pointing out that the PS4 & XBO were down YoY in June & July (the XBO's July performance in particular was awful), and using that as a counterargument, claiming that it proves the COVID bump was over no later than May. However, that's not a good counterargument as those YoY drops aren't telling us the whole story. How much they're down by relative to the norm matters.

Systems typically drop on average 30-40% in the months preceding the release of their successor, usually closer to 40% and sometimes even approaching 50% (see the graphs below; note that Jan. 2013 was a 5-week period so the percent drop is in terms of weekly averages, and Sept. 2013 saw the release of GTAV, which as shown earlier caused a significant bump in PS3 sales from that August). Given this fact, this means the PS4 at least was doing far better than it ought to be doing in June & July, being down only about 10% in June and 19% in July. In fact, weekly average PS4 sales were remarkably stable for the May-July period. As for the XBO, it did have a drop of roughly 28-29% in June, closer to the norm, but the massive 84% drop in July is clearly anomalous, brought about by a near-complete lack of stock, and if that stock situation started late in the June sales period (a reasonable assumption given how terrible XBO sales were in July) that may also explain why the XBO's drop in June was bigger than the PS4's.

Had the pandemic not been a thing, the PS4 would have done far worse in June & July (the XBO would have had a better July than it did, though, as there would have been no COVID-fueled stock depletion in the summer).

Assuming that absent all other factors the PS4 & XBO would have been down 40% for the whole March-July period, then total PS4 sales were about 670k higher than they ought to have been for that five-month span, and for the XBO that figure would have been 480k. This adds up to an estimated combined total of between 1.1M to 1.2M more units than they would have sold had there been no pandemic. Overall, the PS4 & XBO sold about 2.1M units combined for the March-July period, so if the estimated surplus from the COVID bump is accurate then at least half of total PS4 & XBO sales since March was because of the pandemic.

Compare that to the Switch selling nearly 1.8M more in the March-July 2020 period than in the same period in 2019. If we generously assume 500k of that was due to AC, that leaves 1.3M due to other factors (mainly the pandemic). If we continue to assume that the Switch would have sold 500k fewer units for the March-July period year without AC, that would yield an overall sales total of 3.3M units. That gives the Switch a market share of about 60% for the whole five-month period in this hypothetical AC-less scenario which was ever so slightly enhanced by the XBO's stock situation).

This is a plausible result considering that the Switch has been averaging 55-60% market share every month since this past September (except November because of Black Friday, which has favored PS & Xbox). It stands to reason that had AC not been a factor the Switch would still have managed at least 55% market share, both in terms of total sales and in terms of just the surplus over last year. In fact, if we assume that AC was responsible for most of the YoY increase this year, that means we'd also have to assume that had AC not been a factor that the Switch's market share would have dropped to well under 50%. While I do think there was a significant chance that the Switch may have been down overall in 2020, if only slightly, had there been no Animal Crossing and no pandemic, I do think it would have still maintained majority market share, especially considering that the PS4 & XBO would have been down as well and by a larger degree. To assume AC was the primary driver of the observed growth in Switch sales in the U.S. would also require one to assume that the pandemic had at best a very small effect on the Switch, but, given what we've seen with the PS4 & XBO, that's an assumption that strains credulity.

So, to summarize the basic facts of the matter:

  • While some popular games do cause observable increases in hardware sales, many have little to no impact. Mere popularity doesn't guarantee the ability to cause hardware sales growth.
  • Of the games that do cause hardware sales growth, they've rarely moved any more than about 200k extra units of a single platform. The only known or likely exceptions prior to this year are Destiny and possibly Halo 3 (if there are other examples, they cannot be determined with certainty). Assuming Animal Crossing was responsible for most or nearly all of the Switch's sales growth in the U.S. would mean assuming it moved upwards of almost five times as much surplus hardware as the previous record.
  • With only a few exceptions, software releases have almost never had any measurable impact past their release month, and when they do it's always greatly reduced from their first month. They have never had any clearly observable impact in their third month or beyond.
  • The PS4 & XBO benefited tremendously from the pandemic and associated stimulus. In addition to massive growth in the March-May period, the PS4 has since June continually sold far better than it ought to given how close we are to the PS5, indicating a strong residual effect from the "COVID bump." While the XBO dropped off in June and completely fell off a cliff in July, that's clearly because of stock issues.
  • If Animal Crossing was the primary driver of the observed growth in Switch sales in the U.S. this year, then that means the Switch was somehow uniquely insulated from the "COVID bump," something that would be highly implausible.

I should not need to state this, but the Switch does not exist in a vacuum. The PS4 & XBO still exist, and we shouldn't ignore them. We need to contextualize the observed increases in Switch sales in terms of the broader market, both contemporary and, when necessary, historical. The available body of evidence is clear: the pandemic was and has been the primary driver of the increase in Switch sales this year. Given everything we know about the effects of software on hardware sales, AC's impact on Switch sales growth this year, though likely very significant in its first month, was almost certainly heavily reduced in its second month and nearly non-existent since May.


Note: This is a repurposed post comprised of replies to multiple people I had from a mostly finished post I was working on for the July thread. I had the original post mostly finished about a week ago, and was working on the parts that required some involved math and charts, but decided to take a breather because of how extensive it was. And, wouldn't you know it, my computer decided to do an automatic update while I away and I lost the post. I was about finished with the post, but decided to move it here not just a reply to Rol, but as a general reply to the ongoing discussions from July, which is still relevant, and to avoid bumping the old thread. Plus it allows me to keep everything in just one contiguous post instead of having it broken up among a series of replies, some of which had redundant commentary.

Also, the original post, my attempt to recreate it, and its restructure to compose this post was incredibly time-consuming, taking at least a few hours total, not including breaks. I've been working on this post on and off since Monday afternoon. I'm mentally exhausted at this point, and I probably invested far more time and effort into talking about this subject than I should have. I believe I have made every conceivable point there is to make regarding the subject of the causes of the growth in the hardware market this year in the U.S., and I believe I have provided more than sufficient evidence to make my point.

And I assure you all that this isn't bias on my part, despite accusations to the contrary. I have no dog in this fight. I have no overall preference for one console brand over another. In fact, I'm actually glad to see the Switch do well. I own one myself and I've enjoyed it. It's a great piece of hardware, with some of Nintendo's best software output in a very long time. But when it comes to the causes of its sales growth, I have to give my honest appraisal of the available evidence. It makes no difference to me on a personal level what the causes of the Switch's sales growth this year were. Had there been evidence that the pandemic and stimulus had no effect on the U.S. market as a whole, or had there been evidence that a single game was capable of causing hardware sales growth to the tune of almost two million units (again, the largest confirmed record prior to this year was 400k for the PS4 version of Destiny), I'd be more open to the idea that AC was the primary driver. But that evidence does not exist. I asked for it, and none was provided. I saw a lot of assertions. I had people trying to argue the merits of my use of historical sales data in analyzing sales of current-gen systems. I got a report that didn't say what the poster thought it said (he's a new user that went AWOL two weeks ago, so I omitted my reply to him from this post). I even got a claim that was flat out contradicted by the evidence and which even a cursory look at the sales data would show was false. But actual evidence that AC was the primary driver of the Switch's sales growth? None.

It is not a slight against Nintendo to say that some external factor has benefited the Switch, or that the records it set this year were not entirely of its own merit but rather in large part due to said external factors. It would still be doing outstanding even if it was only flat overall from last year, something that would have been entirely plausible had there been no pandemic. I understand that some people are excited over the success the Switch has had and are highly optimistic about its future, with some believing it will become the new best-selling system of all time or at least come close to challenging the lofty numbers of the DS & PS2. I do not share their optimism, but that does not mean I am biased against Nintendo or any of their games. I do believe the Switch will sell very well lifetime, well over 100M globally (probably 120M). That much is a given at this point. But it's no more "confirmation bias" to say that the evidence supports the pandemic being the primary factor in the growth in the hardware market, including the Switch, than saying the available evidence supports, say, the claim that the Earth is 4.55 billion years old.

Unless someone has a very good rebuttal to the arguments I've provided, one with real evidence to back it up and not just mere assertions (especially ones that would necessarily result in me simply repeating myself), this is the last time I will broach the topic. I'm tired and I want to do something else.

EDIT: I see that we got solid numbers for all three systems. I will not update this post to cover it, but I will touch on it a bit once I get my charts updated and posted (probably Thursday or Friday). I will say that the PS4 saw a month-over-month jump of about 31% despite nothing else that could have caused sales to jump up like that. Not only does this reinforce my claim that the PS4 is doing far better than it ought to be and thus is continuing to benefit from the COVID bump, but it also suggests that it didn't have enough stock to meet all demand over the previous several months and thus the increase over July was because of restock. Every system saw an increase over last month, and the best explanation was restocks. Everything would have sold better over late spring/early summer had stock been better.

Last edited by Shadow1980 - 5 days ago

Shadow1980 said:
RolStoppable said:
Switch being up more than 100% year over year in August hurts Shadow's analysis from a month ago.

infinite comment

me reading this post be like

2020 predictions: NSW 25m, PS5 6m, XSX 4.5m, PS4 9m, XB1 3m

In December 2019 i predicted 21m Switch, but that was before COVID, obvius increased my predictions.

RolStoppable said:
UnderwaterFunktown said:

If that was the case wouldn't the PS4 have been higher last month when the Xbone had abysmal stock? It was 150k then, so I don't see a clear connection. Regardless its a step up for everyone, didn't expect Xbox to recover or for the PS4 to be that high.

Last month didn't have any particular reason to have to have an Xbox, so people who couldn't get one would simply wait for the time being. This month had the yearly Madden and UFC releases, so those who couldn't get an Xbox in time for these releases were more inclined to get a PS4 instead of waiting until a later date. We are only talking about 20-30k units that went to the PS4 instead of the XB1 in August.

You telling me that anual released games are somehow gona increase the sales of a console on its last year before getting replaced? Now and not any of the other 6 prior releases? And they would also go to the console that is selling the worst?

It takes genuine talent to see greatness in yourself despite your absence of genuine talent.


To me your last post looks like a giant wall of confirmation bias. But who knows? Maybe I am wrong. I would welcome you to make a numerical prediction in this thread and then at the end of the year we can see who was on target.


Given how long your post is, it's difficult to remember all things you touched on, but here are a few things that bother me in your analysis.

1. The way you determine the impact of key software on hardware sales. You look only at the surface (month 1 and 2), but don't consider a stacked effect because that one is invisible with your methodology. Software sells hardware, and the continued consistent release of new interesting software boosts the baseline any given console can have. You acknowledge that a lot of consumers buy old key software along with their initial purchase of the hardware, but don't make the connection that the old software still drives hardware sales despite regular appearances in NPD's monthly top 20 software list. A prolonged bump on hardware sales doesn't show up in the data like an immediate bump with a visible spike, but it should be clear nonetheless that old games still move hardware when they keep charting high in the list of best-selling software.

2. The way you use the PS4 and XB1 to determine the magnitude of the COVID bump. You wrote a novel and got to the point that the PS4's June and July sales were still higher than they should have normally been, then concluded it has to be COVID that is responsible for those numbers. But The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima released during those months along with a bundles. Surely, that's something you should consider because any time a big title releases for a console, it is accompanied by increased advertising for said console and advertisement works, hence why companies keep paying for it. More awareness of a product raises the chances to sell said product. There's no good reason to sit there and act as if Sony's first party games and marketing had no positive impact on PS4 sales.

3. The video game industry is dominated by big budget games targeted at males. This is very important to remember, because it means sales trends have high consistency. However, on the flipside it means that the typical analytical models won't work as well when you are dealing with a game that bucks the trend. Animal Crossing has an enormous female audience and is therefore able to sell to a part of the population that isn't the typical console gamer. Switch had all the typical big guns in Super Mario, Mario Kart, Zelda, Pokémon and Super Smash Bros., but the tipping point to finally buy the hardware is Animal Crossing for many females. Your entire analysis hinges on there not being anything special about Animal Crossing, hence why it is inexplicable to you how AC could be such a big incentive to purchase Switch hardware. But there is a factor you have not considered at all.


Lastly, a related point that has nothing to do with COVID, but your original assumption that Switch had probably peaked in 2019. I'll use this as a means to explain why your approach to analyses goes off course in some instances. You based your assumption on sales trends of previous Nintendo consoles and all of the recorded ones in NPD history (so Nintendo 64 onwards, because there was no NPD before 1995) showed that it's only down after year 3, except for the DS. I know it's easy to disregard the DS as an anomaly in a dataset like that, but if you had thought about why the DS was different, you could have figured that Switch would follow the DS. The DS was different because it had more robust third party support than any other recorded Nintendo console, so the consistent arrival of new interesting releases kept sales high. This is how it works for all consoles, hence why the PS Vita flopped so hard in comparison to all other PS consoles.

The health of the software pipeline that provides stability for the hardware sales momentum is something I talked about in the first point of this post. It's something that you tend to overlook. But if you had understood the why regarding sales trends of Nintendo consoles, you would have figured that Switch was most likely to follow the DS and sell even better in 2020 than it did in 2019. And yes, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Breath of the Wild still sell Switch hardware to this day. The arrival of Animal Crossing keeps the train going and ensures that the stacked effect of several system sellers doesn't evaporate. It's difficult to impossible to determine how big of an impact each one between COVID and AC had when we know that hardware sales have been limited by supply. AC will still be a thing once COVID is gone and will get the sales that can't occur now due to lack of supply later on.

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

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