By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. Close

Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Why Nintendo 1st party games hardly go on sales?

1. Because first-party support IS the reason to get a piece of Nintendo hardware. Even Nintendo platforms with either tons of quality third-party games, or just a sheer quantity of them, still are true to this.
2. Because at this point people accept it. They know very few first-party Switch games will go on sale or get a permanent price cut. They wanna play the game and don't want to wait years to get it cheaper. The evergreen nature keeps the price up.

Lifetime Sales Predictions 

Switch: 125 million (was 73, then 96, then 113 million)

PS5: 105 million Xbox Series S/X: 60 million

PS4: 122 mil (was 100 then 130 million) Xbox One: 50 mil (was 50 then 55 mil)

3DS: 75.5 mil (was 73, then 77 million)

"Let go your earthly tether, enter the void, empty and become wind." - Guru Laghima

Around the Network

Because they can. You get their hardware to play their think spending full price for Zelda 3 years later is gonna deter people? Of course not. People will grumble that it’s unfair because some games are older then others, but you’ll buy it all the same.

Xbox: Best hardware, Game Pass best value, best BC, more 1st party genres and multiplayer titles. 


Part of it has to be competition.
Nintendo Switch has sold ~400m games.
PS4 has sold like ~1500m games (I think?).

Even if you account for the fact that the Switch is only been on the market, half as long (and double Switch game sales to compensate) you notice its still like half of the playstation 4's.

Basically they sell alot more games, thus theres more competition for the 1st party games.
Also 3rd party are more aggressive with price cuts too there, so Sony 1st party follow suit.

Meanwhile, alot of Switch owners, also own PS4/Xbox's and usually arnt as intrested in 3rd party games on that system (if they already own the games on other systems, or plan to play them there). So the main draw of the Nintendo system is its exclusives by far (more than the other platforms).

Nintendo knows this, and thus keeps prices high on their games to profit more.

Also it could be a differnce in mind set.
Some companies are fine, makeing small profits on each unit sale, but selling more, to accomplish the same.
(while others, are willing to keep prices high, even if they know it potentially means less sales, but since the price is higher, the profits are fine)

Playstation 4 software sales exceeded 400 million units in January 2017. That's a bit more than 3 years after launch. Almost the same amount of time it took the Switch to do so. Obviously, yearly software sales will increase over the course of a console's lifespan as the install base grows.

Some good reasons have already been mentioned.

To add.

A lot of Nintendo gamers are actual game collectors and take pride in having a nice collection. Go to a second hand section of a game store or even an op shop and what do you see? Countless Sony/Microsoft games and bugger all Nintendo.

Look at past consoles and how many games (especially in PAL regions) have appreciated in value.



Louie said:

Playstation 4 software sales exceeded 400 million units in January 2017. That's a bit more than 3 years after launch. Almost the same amount of time it took the Switch to do so. Obviously, yearly software sales will increase over the course of a console's lifespan as the install base grows.

The Switch is doing great on Software sales which is sometimes overlooked and is pretty much neck and neck with the PS4.

PS4 hit 401m software sales after 3 year 2 months on the market, Switch is at 406m after 3 years 3 months.

The next number of software sales we know about for the PS4 is 645m after 4 years 2 months on the market which we can compare to the Switch after FYQ1 2022 (end of June 2021) when the Switch has been on the market for 4 years 3 months and I don't think there will be much in it with a slight lead going to the PS4 still but even with a somewhat modest 30% YoY software increase it would total to 218M for FY21 bringing the Switch up to 624m.

Last edited by WoodenPints - on 01 November 2020

Around the Network
Cobretti2 said:
Some good reasons have already been mentioned.

To add.

A lot of Nintendo gamers are actual game collectors and take pride in having a nice collection. Go to a second hand section of a game store or even an op shop and what do you see? Countless Sony/Microsoft games and bugger all Nintendo.

Look at past consoles and how many games (especially in PAL regions) have appreciated in value.

I do thinking collectability has an affect actually as myself and plenty I know (yep it's anecdotal) keep all their Nintendo hardware and games whilst constantly trading in the older games on the PS/XB towards new games flooding the market with used copies which in turn means that if publishers want to keep selling new copies and making money they have to lower the price to complete with them.

AngryLittleAlchemist said:
A lot of it is probably because of a lack of software competition with major Nintendo releases. Yes, the Switch has the best third party support of any Nintendo console in quite a while. But I think it says a lot when for example the best selling major third party games on the system only sell about as many units as the most niche major Nintendo products do, somewhere in the Astral Chain - Xenoblade Chronicles 2 tier (and even then, most probably don't make it to the XC2 tier). Whether that's because people only buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games or games that benefit from being on the hardware like indie games, or whether that's because third parties haven't made enough of an effort, it's the case.

I would totally buy NSMBUDXD at $30, by the way. It actually was $40 on Amazon recently, and I would have gotten it, but the last half of the year has actually been pretty packed on Switch for me so I'm more than fine waiting. I'd also like the Wii U ports to get a price cut, yes I'm dirty for getting gifted them and for buying one myself (Pikmin 3's demo was just that good), but they probably should be sold at $40 honestly. Especially Tropical Freeze, that was some bullshit. Oh, and Astral Chain should be $40. People should invest in new IP more and keeping it at a high entry fee isn't the best idea, especially when the game has some obvious weakpoints.

Yes, playing the demo I'm salivating to buy a Pikmin 3 and I wanted a physical version, sadly they are being sold for 400 BRL (~70 USD) or more. I bought my MK8 second hand to avoid full price, but knowing current our delivery/importation are facing issues thanks to covid I have no hope to buying a Pikming 3 in grey market for less than 70 USD for a good one year or so

Xenoblade RE physical are still sold for like 70-75 USD on grey market and I sadly haven't yet found a single soul reselling it. At this rate I will end buying both digital

What makes people willing to pay the price is that the games are legitimately good instead of being products of hype. It's common among AAA third party publishers that they place their bets on hype to sell mediocre content and that creates their typical sales curve where the game only sells as long as it is new, because word of mouth won't be favorable within a few weeks. It's the same story every generation: Nintendo games get mocked for not using state-of-the-art technology, but once the shiny coat of game industry games has aged, it's the Nintendo games that are held in universal high regard while very few game industry games enjoy widespread respect.

Another big reason for the long term value of Nintendo games is that the gaming industry has largely given up on competing with Nintendo because they didn't have the talent to keep up. The game industry pours its big money specifically into games that are not like Nintendo games, because they learned over time that steering clear of Nintendo-like content improves their chances for success due to the lack of a direct comparison to a Nintendo game. The remains of what Nintendo faces are titles like Rayman or Sonic Racing, but the quality difference to Nintendo counterparts is tremendous regardless of what the metascores of these non-Nintendo titles say.

Nintendo games maintaining their price regardless of their sales numbers is not some devious strategy. Unlike the game industry, Nintendo does not have the financial pressure to aggressively cut the price of games that will sell only ~2m lifetime, because those games recoup their costs fast and then go on to sell ~200k per quarter at (mostly) full price which is easily good enough. You'll only see Nintendo games that are true commercial flops discounted, like Metroid: Other M or the Labo series (which had the issue of taking up a lot of retailer space to stock).

If you want Nintendo games cheaper and don't mind digital copies, you get multiple opportunities each year to pay $40 instead of $60 for your desired games. This new digital strategy of Nintendo can possibly make Nintendo Selects obsolete, but we'll see.

As for other companies adopting Nintendo's strategy of only cutting prices if absolutely necessary, they are free to do so because the market dictates the prices of luxury goods (which video games are, they are not essential for living). The problem is that too many companies pursue a quick cash strategy already during game development, so they won't have games that the market will be willing to pay a premium price for. Sony is among the few exceptions; for example, Horizon Zero Dawn did not need a quick price reduction. But Sony's approach is to brag in PR statements about high unit sales numbers and that's of course easier to accomplish when you slash prices fast. Their idea must be that talking about how many units PS and its games sell will result in more people buying the products for the reason that popular products must be good.

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

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

Otter said:

freebs2 said:

Long post.

For most AAA publishers (incl. Sony), the core value proposition of a new game in 80-90% of cases can be narrowed down to novelty: new story, a larger scope compared to the previous entries (meaning a larger world or new systems being added on top of pre-existing ones), graphical and technological advancements compared to previous entries.
Novelty has naturally a very high value at launch, but then it will degrade quite quickly because other developers will introduce other new games with even grater scope and with even more technological advancements. Even considering two entries in the same series and from the same developer, the the sequel in most cases will offer better production values, meaning the previous entry becomes obsolete in comparison. In this sense discounts reflects the game being outdated.
Also, form a publisher perspective, selling an old game in a bargain bin means giving it more exposure and by extension meaning more people are likley to buy its "shiny" new full-priced sequel. It's a marketing investment to a certain degree.

For Nintendo, their core strategy is trying to create a unique value proposition with each new game . This means with each game must posses some differentiating feature to set it apart from both other games in the market and also form its previous entries and sequels. You can see this very clearly looking at mainline 3D Mario and Zelda series, each game is market with a particular theme and a particular gameplay style.
Zelda example: Wind Waker (waterworld; saling / sea charting); Twilight Princess (wilight word; switch dimension / metamorphosis); Breath Of The Wild (open air; free exploration).
Mario: if Nintendo operated like any other publisher Sunshine would have been a Mario64-2 kind of game with the same core concepts, new larger levels, some additonal features and better graphics. Instead Sunshine is a game with a very specific theme (tropical island) and a very specific playstile (fludd water spray and jetpack) and those elements weren't replicated in sequels.
This is the reason why they don't drop prices quickly, since "uiniqueness" is much harder to degrade of over time. Since there are no other similar experiences in the market to this day (form both other devs and Nintendo itself) a game like Mario Sunshine or Mario Galaxy remain equivalent to a new game for a person who hasn't played them.
Counter example. Take Uncharted 2; the only element of the game that remains truly unique of the experience to this day is the story. Any other element of its core design has been reproduced and improved over the years by both Naughty Dog and other developers as well. To a new player it's not a fresh experience anymore.

To be clear, I'm not saying Nintendo's strategy is good and the other is wrong. They are just different and each have their own advantages/disadvantages.

I hear your logic here but I disagree with it being the reason for difference in legs and/or prices. Beyond natural gameplay and graphical evolution what is the differentiating factor between Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 8, or NSMBWii versus NSMBU deluxe, Or Smash Bros Brawl vs Ultimate? These are the titles that would pull the biggest numbers historically.

The reality is there are so few cases where Nintendo will actually have sequels on the same platform that this argument cannot really be made as you intend to make it. Scarcity is what creates the value, when Nintendo do create sequels on the same platform we've seen they perform worse. Mario Galaxy 2 didn't make Galaxy 1 enter the bargin bin, but it did sell notably less then the first. Same with Ocarina > Majora, Twlight Princess > Skyward Sword and I'm sure we'll see it with BOTW vs BOTW2. The notion of scarcity has to also be tied to the fact that we're talking about 8 or so titles per generation when discussing Nintendo's longevity. The vast majority of their output simply does not sell high volumes beyond its release year regardless of how unqiue they are, and would absolutely be receiving price cuts if handled by another publisher. For example from last year Luigi's Mansion 3, Astral Chain, Links Awakening, Fire Emblem, .. but they are all still full price despite significantly slowed global sales. 

Also worth noting that BOTW and Odyssey sales are not normal for either franchise. Per platform Zelda has always been under 10m peaking with Twlight princess Wii  (8.5m) and Mario only ever passed above 10m with Galaxy 1 (11m) and 3D World on 3DS (12m). So a really interesting discussion would be what caused those sales to explode this generation. Equally what is it about Nintendo's other ever greens (mostly multiplayer bar 2D Mario) that causes them to excel where their genre peers struggle? I think the answer may actually just be brand recognition (particularly anything with mario in it) + seal of quality. 

I partially agree, in a sense that scarcity plays a key role as well, but it's still part of their overarching strategy of creating unique selling propositions. That said, I also agree it doesn't apply to every game made by them in 100% of cases, but simply because with some games they don't need to to reach their goal.

I'll comment your counter examples. With Mario Kart I disagree, each entry in the series has its distincive feature to set it apart and also they change drastically the handling with each entry to the point each games feels different: for double dash the "uinque" factor is the two-player kart setup, for Mario Kart Wii it's the motion controlled based handling, Mario Kart 7 added the paraglider and areal sections, in Mario Kart 8 it's the course design with gravity inversions. Also just look at Mario Kart Home Circuit, another example of a game based on a unique proposition.

I agree on the other hand you don't see that kind of effort to reinvent the wheel with games like 2D Mario, Smash Bros (you can also add Pokemon), but in that case the "unique" factor is granted already by the fact that there isn't really any other game to compete directly with them on the market. You may call it "brand recognition" and to some exent I could agree but it's more than that...every element of 2D Mario's gameplay is so iconic that you could consider it a part of the brand per se. In other words, imagine seeing a golden block in mid air with a question mark in a completely urelated context (say in an Assasin's Creed game) or a spinning turtle shell. You would automatically have an expectation to how interact with them although contextually it wouldn't make any sense. That's to say that those games are already so unique and recognizable they don't need to reinvent them every time.

As for the argument of games like Luigi's Mansion 3, Astral Chain, Links Awakening, Fire Emblem, .. I've never said they don't drop prices because all games sell regardless, but rather because they want to sustain the proposition of those games as "unique game experiences" even at the cost of selling less copies, because that way they can re-purpose those game even years after they were originally released. See the 3D Mario All-Star collection...three old games re-released with little to none technical improvements, still sold for full price. Since you're mentioning them Links Awakening is a remake of a 25 years old games, full price; Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon, a localization of a 30 years old game -> special edition, full price. etc. etc.

Last edited by freebs2 - on 01 November 2020