During today’s Management Policy Briefing, which covers sales data from April 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016, Nintendo shared some details of its current sales data as well as expectations moving forward. The Nintendo 3DS has been an exceptional performer in 2016. This is mostly due to the popularity of Pokémon Go filtering over to its dedicated gaming market.
In just 1.5 months on the market, Pokémon Sun & Moon sold a combined total of over 13 million copies. The sell-through is higher than both Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire and X & Y. Since Pokémon games are often evergreen titles, Nintendo expects them to continue to keep on selling well into 2017.
Pokémon Sun & Moon are skewing toward an older demographic than previous entries. The ratio of players in their 20s and 30s has risen. Interestingly enough, 17% of Pokémon Sun & Moon players had no previous Nintendo 3DS Pokémon titles in their activity log, meaning these games were the first Pokemon titles these gamers had experienced on the 3DS.
Sales of Nintendo 3DS hardware were higher in the second and third quarters in Europe and the U.S. thanks in part to the Pokémon Go effect. People that got a taste of Pokémon on their smart phones wanted the “real thing” and thus migrated over to purchasing a 3DS and Pokémon games. That’s another reason for the huge boost in first party software sales in the third quarter.
Although not quite as big of a hit in the U.S., Yo-Kai Watch has performed extremely well in Europe. In fact, it is outpacing the Japanese sales, where it was a hit. Europe will be getting more cartoons and the sequel will arrive in time for the summer break.
The Nintendo 2DS has been on the increase in all markets. From April through the end of 2016 the 2DS represented 28% of all 3DS hardware sales in the U.S and 48% in Europe. The bargain price no doubt played a huge role in this split.
We will continue to introduce new titles that players can enjoy for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. We have heard speculation that Nintendo Switch will replace the Nintendo 3DS, as both are game systems that can be played outside the home, but Nintendo 3DS has unique characteristics that differ from those of Nintendo Switch. Furthermore, the price points and play experiences offered by the two systems are different and we do not see them as being in direct competition. We plan to continue both businesses separately and in parallel.
Nintendo will continue to release games for the Nintendo 3DS throughout 2017. We are assuming that if sales continue to be favorable that it’s most likely games will continue to be developed well into 2018. Third parties still have games on the docket, including Capcom with Monster Hunter XX and Square Enix with Dragon Quest XI.
The NES Classic Edition (Famicom Mini in Japan) has sold through 1.5 million systems since it launched in mid-November. Nintendo has apologized for the shortage, stating:
We apologize to our consumers and retail partners for the inconvenience caused by product shortages. Some parts require time to procure, but we are working to increase production. We also see the nostalgic interest in these products as an opportunity to draw consumers’ attention to our latest game system, Nintendo Switch.
Super Mario Run has been downloaded 78 million times. However, the amount of people paying to unlock the full game is relatively low. Nintendo is taking some steps to try and increase the buy-in ratio. Some of them arrived today in an update, which includes a new easy mode that will allow players to take their time and fully explore every course. They are going to be adding special events where Golden Goombas will appear, allowing for extra buzz in World Tour mode. They are also evaluating spots in the game that seem to trip people up and will try to improve the in-game explanations. Nintendo did not say they would be reducing the price of the game, so that appears to be off the table for the time being. The game will be releasing in Korea tomorrow for iOS and the Android version will arrive in March.
The Nintendo Switch is of course launching on March 3, 2017. Nintendo will be selling it at a profit, unlike the Wii U. They mention:
We are continuously producing in earnest, and there are no changes to our plans to ship two million hardware units worldwide by the end of March 2017. Pre-order sales have also begun across the globe. We have heard that many retailers have already closed pre-orders and have allocated remaining inventory for sale on launch day. This pre-order momentum is reassuring proof that the core gamer demographic understands the uniqueness of the Nintendo Switch and continues to support us. We are preparing our supply system to ensure that we will be able to make continued shipments after launch as well.
Nintendo addresses the comments that some think its Switch lineup is weak. They specifically planned for the games to be spread out so that it keeps people interacting with the new machine:
Some of those who have seen this lineup have expressed the opinion that the launch lineup is weak.
Our thinking in arranging the 2017 software lineup is that it is important to continue to provide new titles regularly without long gaps. This encourages consumers to continue actively playing the system, maintains buzz, and spurs continued sales momentum for Nintendo Switch.
For that reason, we will be releasing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, which is making its debut on the Nintendo Switch during the first half of 2017, and Splatoon 2, which attracted consumers’ attention most during the hands-on events in Japan, in summer 2017. We believe that these titles exemplify the concept of the Nintendo Switch, which is to be able to play anywhere with anyone and at any time, and will expand and invigorate competition between players.
Splatoon 2 in particular will offer voice chat, a much-requested feature from our overseas fans, using smart-devices and the ability to bring eight Nintendo Switch systems together for eight-person local multiplayer. In this way, we are working to create titles and environments to invigorate the competitive gaming scene so that a wider demographic of customers can enjoy, talk about, and continue playing the Nintendo Switch.
The response to Nintendo Switch from developers has been strong. During the unveiling presentation Nintendo had announced that there were over 80 titles in development from more than 50 software publishers. Now that number has climbed to over 100 titles from more than 70 publishers. More announcements are forthcoming.
Usually after these presentations there is a Question & Answer segment. If that takes place, we can expect some translations in the coming days. We’ll keep you updated as we hear more!
[Source: Nintendo Investor Relation]