Nintendo successfully overturns digital software sales slump

Ben Parfitt
Nintendo successfully overturns digital software sales slump

Having peaked in the third quarter of 2010, Nintendo’s digital sales are once again on the rise.

Total digital sales for Q3 2010 reached ¥12bn, with sales in the first half of the period reaching just under ¥6bn. First half digital sales in 2011 and 2012 fell to ¥3.5bn and ¥3.25m respectively but have recovered to ¥5bn in the first half of Q3 2013.

Nintendo points out that its most successful digital period coincided with a period in which 56.14m Wii units and 10.17m DSi units were sold. That these digital numbers were beaten in a period when only 22.19m 3DS units were sold is proof of a successful strategy, Nintendo argues.

The growth is credited to sales of DLC and full digital game downloads.

Speaking of full-game downloads, games that are released both physically and digitally are seeing the latter account for between three and ten per cent of their total sales.

The initiative has been more popular in Japan, where such releases are seeing a digital sales rate of 15 per cent and above. There’s success in other territories too – New Super Mario Bros 2 enjoyed its strongest digital sales performance in the US. European and Australian download ratios were described as “relatively small”.

Brain Age: Concentration Training has enjoyed the highest digital sales rates.

“Download sales began with first-party software titles, but download versions of third-party software titles are available now,” boss Iwata told investors. “We hope the number of third-party software titles available, both packaged and download, will gradually increase.

“In addition, download sales of games already released as packaged software has already commenced overseas and will start here in Japan in November.

For Wii U, download versions of packaged software will be available from the launch of the platform.”

Nintendo went on to highlight Animal Crossing 3DS as a potential catalyst of increased digital sales on Nintendo platforms

“This is a game you can enjoy every day over a long period of time, which means that its download version in particular could be suitable,” Iwata added. “We decided to actively advertise it in the mass media for the first time. Please let me show you the TV commercial.”

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Tags: Nintendo , 3ds , Wii U , trends , sales , Digital , software

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