Declining nostalgia, not price, is Nintendo’s biggest retro game problem, Adelman says

Ben Parfitt
Declining nostalgia, not price, is Nintendo’s biggest retro game problem, Adelman says

Few companies are as adept as Nintendo at selling you the same software over and over again, but Nintendo's former indie boss has questioned how long this can continue for.

On 3DS, for instance, NES games such as Donkey Kong, Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, Ice Climber, Double Dragon and Galaga still cost 4.49 a piece, despite the fact that some date back as far as the early ‘80s. SNES games from the ‘90s cost much the same.

However, while this strategy has until now held up reasonably well in the face of cheap smartphone software pricing Dan Adelman has questioned the long-term viability of this pricing strategy not because of the comparative expense but more because nostalgia doesn't last forever.

Nintendo understands its importance to a lot of people's childhoods, so they really want to avoid undoing that goodwill,” he told Dromble. Everyone has a game that, for them, was their biggest memory as a child.

I haven't seen any research on this, but I suspect the majority of sales on Virtual Console are from people who have already played the game as a child. I'm sure there are some cases of people going back and playing games they missed, but if I had to guess, I'd say that's around 25 per cent of the market. The other 75 per cent are people reliving memories.

It's hard to say whether the old prices will stay in the long run. My gut says that demand overall is not very price sensitive. Even $10 for N64 games is not going to break the bank for anyone. I think the bigger factor is fatigue. A lot of people have scratched that nostalgia itch, so they may not feel a need to play those games again.”

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