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Despite An Increase In Digital Sales, Retail Is Still The Majority Of Sales For Nintendo

Digital purchasing has seem a massive boom over recent years with consumers opting to purchase their games direct from their console rather than purchasing them from stores, due to convenience. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime says that the majority of software sales for Nintendo are physical copies especially for those game which have a large file size like Bayonetta 2. Interestingly, Fils-Aime pointed out that Super Smash Bros on the Nintendo 3DS had extremely high digital sales presumably due to its small file size. Here’s what Reggis Fils-Aime had to say.

“Retail still is the majority of the business for us. But what’s interesting is, game by game and at different points in time, you see a different consumer reaction. Smash Bros. for 3DS, consumers wanted that game immediately. They didn’t even want to spend the time to get in their car and drive to retail to get it, so our digital percent for that game is quite high — about 20 percent of the games sold here in the U.S. were digital, which is a pretty significant piece. Compare that to Bayonetta 2. That’s a huge game, and could take up a large part of the memory in the 32-gig Wii U. That’s a game with a digital percent on the lower side, today about 10 percent or so. Our mentality is, we want the consumer to have the choice based on what makes sense for you, what makes sense for the type of game it is.”

32 comments

  1. I personally prefer retail, but it’s nice to choices. And since now they’re going to start letting you download before launch so you can play as soon as launch hits, digital might look a bit more pleasing.

    1. Only for impatient kids who can’t wait a few hours or days for the retail copies to arrive in stores. Seriously, it’s mostly little kids who are THAT impatient.

    1. I think it’s more that digital is still more expensive than retail and until that’s fixed digital will never overtake retail copies in terms of sales.

      Also, comparing 3DS downloads to wiiu is useless. It’s far easier and cheaper to stick in a large SD card than buy an external HDD for the wiiu. Hell, the console comes with a 4GB card already.

      1. Huh? But it’s cheaper over here. You have to pay the exact price and they don’t even charge you an extra penny. I bought SM3DW for exactly $59.99 from the eshop. For physical you gotta pay like $4 extra for that tax. :P

        1. Unless of course, you mean later on when the game goes down in price from a retailer. Nintendo games almost never get discounted for years and usually keep their price. And whenever they get sold used over here, it’s only like $5 off. WWHD was in my Gamestop pre owned for $44 and new for 49.99.

          1. That’s why I buy from eBay most of the time. Because on there, games usually go down a bit in price (while stores are still selling at full price).

          2. Wel in Europe you pay a lot less for physical copies. Usually games are at around 45 to 50euro on Amazon for wii u while they are 60 euro on the online shop.

            The reason I don’t buy digital games is as said above no accounts. If my console breaks I lose everything. I have about 80euro of eshop games.

          3. I didn’t realise USA prices were more reasonable! I’m in the UK and it’s the opposite. In us terms it’s about $60-70 on the eshop and $45-55 retail Inc taxes. Maybe a bit more if you factor in exchange rates and such.

            And yes the gap widens when a game can be picked up half price in a shop but it’s full whack online.

            It’s capatalism at its worst!

        2. Ok that’s not nearly enough cut off the retail price. remember all the articles years ago when businesses said if they could do more digital it would decrease the price for games substantially because they’d cut out the middle man.

          1. Well, you know, places like Gamestop would lose a lot of money if that happened. They’re trying to compete with those digital sales and get more people in their store buying pre owned games. If consoles had Steam like sales or something, all those video game retailers would go out of business. LMAO.

            1. But haven’t companies always wanted to cut out the middle man? They make more money by getting their games straight to there consumers. I’m pretty sure they don’t care how gamestop does but who knows I’m not in those board meetings.

              1. No because the middle man makes them sell consoles. A few years ago they had that problem. Go completely digital and no store would sell their consoles anymore.

                We will eventually get there..

  2. I will always take physical over digital as first choice. But if there is a good deal on the eshop, I will more than happily get a digital game.

  3. Until digital is significantly cheaper than retail, digital will never beat hardcopies.

    Even then, games would have to be half the price or less for me to find them worth it over retail games, because I definitely prefer to have the box art.

  4. WWHD was my first digital game purchase simply because it released earlier on the eshop than in physical form

  5. Why would I pay £50 for New Super Mario Bros U digitally when i can pay £20 on Amazon (or even cheaper than that recently at other places)?

  6. And this is why their standard storage in Wii U is low at 32GB. They know digital market isn’t as welcomed or huge at the moment for video games and looking at PS4 and DVR DOne with 500GB drives that still get filled up quickly with several installed games ranging from 20-40GB, I say I know legitimately why Wii U doesn’t have a huge storage. Physical media is still big and recommended by consumers. Nintendo knows what they’re doing with software.

  7. I hope that retail games STAYS the most popular. Because the day when retail games are no longer popular is the day when gaming dies. Including all new and used game stores. I can’t imagine never seeing a video game section in stores. That’s a world I want no part of.

    1. Have you not seen how Steam works with PC’s? Gaming is far from dead if physical copies stop being made. If anything, Sony and Microsoft and even Nintendo will just make a digital only games console.

      1. Maybe so. But old school gamers like myself would all fade away. A LOT of people would most likely stop gaming. I’ve been considering purchasing some DLC for games like Mario Kart 8 etc. But I can’t imagine myself paying full prices just for digital copies. NO WAY! Many people feels the same way that I do.

        1. The funny thing about that though is that if gaming eventually does go all digital and you can never find a physical copy for any gave anymore, you’d be one of the only people left with them since you’re a collector. And the value of your stuff would skyrocket. You’d be a walking bank. XD

          1. Hmm…..I never thought about that. Still, I doubt that the past remaining physical games would go up in value just because games were all digital. But you never know. I’ve already got some games that are worth a LOT on eBay. Such as Earthbound and Clayfighter 63 1/3 Sculptor’s Cut. I paid $50 for this Clayfighter game 4 or 5 years ago on eBay. But now it’s selling for $255.00. I’m SO glad I bought that when I did.

  8. Downloading games on 3DS is a far more attractive option than Wii U. It comes with a 4GB SD card which is good, but I got a 16GB one for super cheap and that would take a lot to fill up. I’ve got several full 3DS games and I’m pretty sure they only take up about 6GB of the card. Meanwhile the Wii U’s hard-drive can only really fit about 3 full Wii U games.

    I never thought there was a problem with the Wii U hard drive, but that was before Nintendo rightly decided they were going to start taking digital really seriously, releasing all games on the eshop. Now it’s clear there’s a problem, even Reggie is admitting it, and it must be costing them at least a few sales. If their solution is to buy an external hard drive, I think they should do an official Nintendo one that we know is going to work with the console.

  9. Let’s face it. Nintendo’s online system is still vastly behind their competitors. One could even say it sucks to a degree. There’s no proper account system that tracks everything for you and holds your licenses and that’s just poor. Once Nintendo does that then a lot of people will start to buy digital.

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