NPD Sales Results for July 2013 [Up2: 3DS Minimum, AC:NL, LM2/NSMBU LTDs, Xbox 360]

Jun 9, 2012
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I've advocated that Nintendo annually iterate their hardware to keep the line-up fresh and make some money while enlarging their market by pushing the low-end model down to casuals at a proper price. So far, hasn't happened. :|
I don't think they have the R&D setup to push out a revision every year cell phone style. I also don't know what they could add every year since they cant bump the specs for games and the screen resolution cannot change so a bunch of revisions would end up redundant.
 
Jul 18, 2005
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I've advocated that Nintendo annually iterate their hardware to keep the line-up fresh and make some money while enlarging their market by pushing the low-end model down to casuals at a proper price. So far, hasn't happened. :|

I'm totally agreeing with you there. They really should have released a "3DS Lite" this year, maybe with slightly bigger screens (top screen ~3.8 inches) with the main features being lighter, ~3DS XL like battery life (i.e. a bit better than the OG 3DS), 3DS XL like design, lighter than the OG and launched at ~159. The OG could have continued being sold for maybe another year or so at ~129. 2014 could have seen a "3DS Mini"/w a ~3 inch top screen and maybe they could have even released a unit without cartridge slot in 2015.
I really think all the iteration of their hardware have been doing them good and people are used to businesses releasing new iterations every other month anyway.


Edit:
metalslimer said:
I don't think they have the R&D setup to push out a revision every year cell phone style. I also don't know what they could add every year since they cant bump the specs for games and the screen resolution cannot change so a bunch of revisions would end up redundant.
It's not that easy, but generally speaking I guess they could release a 3DS system with double the resolution (horizontally/vertically), i.e. 1600x480. The device would need more powerful hardware, but I'd guess there would be people that'd be willing to spend quite a premium on such a device (one of those would be me ^^).
 
Nov 30, 2011
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I've advocated that Nintendo annually iterate their hardware to keep the line-up fresh and make some money while enlarging their market by pushing the low-end model down to casuals at a proper price. So far, hasn't happened. :|
They will maybe do it at this time next year if Vita takes of if Sony announces games and a new model while pushing down the price of the original vita?
 

jvm

Gamasutra.
Jun 22, 2004
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If what they need to do is invest in ways to make the hardware attractive, then perhaps they should do that. If the system can be thinner, have longer battery life, more vibrant screen, more on-board storage, etc. then it becomes more attractive, at least in my opinion. Heck, people still rave about the GBA SP+ just because of the screen vibrancy, right? Maybe it wasn't a big deal, but I remember people being excited about it when it happened -- but I'm old and my memory goes from time to time.

Also, here's where Nintendo's shipments are, and where they expect to be at the end of March 2014.
 
Jun 1, 2005
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Do you think is worth to consider, in the disscussion you guys are doing, that the PSP/DS generation was when piracy got "main stream" in the portable market? And this was at a time that part of the audience wasn't been diverted to other devices.
This is moving into an area that often results in a mangled discussion. You'll get the full range of views from piracy is a net-positive, to piracy is Satan incarnate. For me, it's more of a gray area when it comes to sales.

There's no doubt that piracy boosts hardware - it opens up the system to a new base of customers that wouldn't have looked at your system otherwise. With the increased hardware sales comes greater buzz, more people showing the system to their friends/families, more people talking about the system on internet boards, etc. It has the potential of being quite helpful overall to the hardware numbers.

For the manufacturer - it really depends on how the system is being sold as to whether or not that is a good thing. If a system is currently being sold at a loss to try to play out a long-term razor blade model - piracy can be quite hurtful. The manufacturer is taking a loss on each system sold, with no hope of selling any software to those pirates. But if the hardware is being sold for a profit, it can work out quite well for the manufacturer. They make money off of the pirate that they never would have seen otherwise, and they get the increased buzz and interest in the platform that comes from the stronger hardware sales.

And then there are the peripherals. Nintendo made a fortune off of pirates with the Wii. Nintendo made a healthy profit on each Wii sold to the pirates, and then a good number of these same pirates also went out and bought several peripherals. I personally know multiple people that pirated Wii games, but still went out and bought Wii Fit boards, classic controllers, extra Wiimotes/Nunchuks, Motion+ add-ons, Zappers, etc. It was crazy - and that was all pure profit from Nintendo's perspective, and money that they never would have seen otherwise.

But then there's the software - which is far trickier to analyze. Obviously, the people with hacked systems buy far less software (although some of them do still buy some software as well). But the increased buzz and stature of the platform that comes from the piracy also leads to better sales amongst non-pirates, who do go out and buy software. So what's the balance between the two? That's a hard one to answer.

Looking at the DS, which was the poster-boy for piracy with all of the flashcarts - common sense says that it must have hurt - but the numbers tell a different story. The DS finished with an attach rate above 6. That's a remarkable attach rate for a handheld - and far better than they've ever had with any other handheld. They never got above 4.6 with anything else. So historically, there's certainly no evidence of the DS software being hurt by the rampant piracy - the actual software numbers were ridiculously strong. So in the case of the DS, the piracy may very well have been a net-positive to Nintendo. They made good profit on each piece of hardware sold, and still sold a ton of software on the system overall.

On the other end of the scale, the PSP did have a lousy attach rate - so in that case piracy may have been a net negative to Sony.

Looking at another recent example - the 360 has been rife with piracy for the better part of the generation, from flashing the drive, to JTAG/RGH exploits. 360 pirates even use their own online network to play online with each other - without needing to worry about any MS bans. But the 360 has had an absolutely wonderful attach rate right throughout the generation. And when MS sells an extra controller, or even the occasional Kinect unit to some of those pirates - MS is making money off a customer base that they never would have had otherwise.

But then you have the extra costs associated with having to beef up online security, whack-a-mole system updates, etc. So it's not nearly as black and white as some people suggest (from the business perspective of the manufacturer). But it often makes for a difficult discussion, because people have some passionate views on the matter.

Also i think it's wrong to call the 220 million an anomaly. That market had always been there and was finally tapped into. Just because a good number are fine with tablets now doesn't mean they don't exist because if smartphones and tablets didn't come we could be seeing the same number this gen
Without even looking at whether the market always existed or not - when you have 5 data points, and 4 of them are 100M or less, and 1 data point is 220M - then yeah, by definition, that outlier is an anomaly to the data set.

But did the market always exist? Was that Touch Generation crowd always ready to dive in on a system with buttons and crosses for input - or did the touch screen access play a big role in actually realizing that market? The technology to address that market just didn't exist in a cost-effective manner prior to the previous generation - so I would argue that that market actually may not have existed for dedicated gaming handhelds prior to last gen.

And now more ubiquitous devices can address that market just as well, and at cheaper price-points than are viable on a dedicated gaming device - so it is very possible that that market truly no longer exists in meaningful numbers on dedicated handhelds again.

So an entirely new market popped up for a single generation, and has now disappeared again (with respect to dedicated gaming handhelds) - I'm okay referring to that as an anomaly.

And is there an undisputed gaming king ready to jump into the existing handheld market for the first time? Or is that an unusual (and so far, has only happened once) situation? I'm okay with calling that an anomaly as well.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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Some things that i think your argument fails to cover:

1- eternal darkness, resident evil, geist and prime where games landing on a purple lunch box of a system. The perception of the platform has long been formed since before its release and in a market completly dominated by one console, to an extend not even seen before. So the lack of succes for that "software diversity" startegy with the GC falls again into Nintendo and it's paradoxical decisions.
the purple lunchbox was kinda out of their hands. the black version of the system was available and sold better, and i believe the platinum version was the one advertised once it released (i don't know if the black one had much screentime). nintendo was also riding off the n64 era where they had rare's and acclaim's titles on their system selling in the millions.

2-The above strategy (leaving aside the f*ck ups) makes a ton more sense than what we have with the Wii U now. In the sense that the 2nd parties and colaborations were adressing and covering the gaps of Nintendo internal offereings.

3 "to build a fanbase of family-friendly and colorful games" at a 350 U.S. price point of entry. I'll just leave it at "results speaking for themselves" here. This a system paradox, there's not one thing that makes sense in the Wii U strategy. Been saying this since a year before launch.
no the one thing i definitely agree with is that for a 'family friendly system', the wii u is priced far too high. i think even $299.99 with a game would be just about right, but obviously $249.99 or $199.99 would be the sweet spot. as far as filling gaps go, i don't think anyone aside from existing nintendo fans would go for them. no one bought eternal darkness, and the gamecube resident evil games sold about a million worldwide each.

In the end the "group" targeting will adress by itself more or less in the console with the biggest user base and library, like we saw in the past with the PSX and PS2, when the market wasn't disrupted by one device. Looks like a similar disruption wont come from any of the 3 usual suspects this round. Take in to account im talking about the home console space since we all know by now an important part of that audience is getting their gaming quota with other devices.
something about the gamecube was that it sold a very high amount of family-friendly games as well, even compared to competing platforms. sonic, super monkey ball, lego star wars, and licensed games sold much better on the gamecube versus the xbox, and some of those games sold comparable to the ps2. of course, nintendo's own sold even more than all of those.

it's less about having the console with the biggest userbase, and more about having the console with an extremely loyal userbase. i agree that price is a key issue here, though, and i think it's not just related to hardware. $40 handheld games are also what's hut the 3ds in america.

Where does the idea that Sony or Microsoft are neglecting kids market come from ?

There's enough casual stuff on those platforms to keep families occupied when father isn't playing his Halo/TloU on it ;)

Modern parents are gamers themselves - this is another change Nintendo didn't notice - so the platform that has kiddie only games is much less attractive to them as it is another unnecessary expense when your xbox can play Skylanders or Disney Infinity
they have skylanders and disney infinity out on the machine, but nintendo put that sort of functionality right into their controller. sony and microsoft are making consoles for male gamers that happen to have family-friendly games on them, similar to nintendo making family-friendly games that have male gamer games on them. it's just that nintendo themselves aren't making a whole lot in the way of those types of games. at this point, it has to be intentional. for example, i'm sure that if they really wanted to, they could have secured yakuza 6 as a wii u exclusive. instead they went for sonic.
 
Feb 7, 2011
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for example, i'm sure that if they really wanted to, they could have secured yakuza 6 as a wii u exclusive. instead they went for sonic.
I would have to disagree, nintendo's money would probably cover the loss of sales and public attention for the series Sega likely would have seen. Its not always about who writes the biggest check.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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I would have to disagree, nintendo's money would probably cover the loss of sales and public attention for the series Sega likely would have seen. Its not always about who writes the biggest check.
nintendo did secure resident evil for a time in the gamecube era. i don't think it's beyond reason to suggest they couldn't do it for a lesser franchise with a company they have better relations with.
 
Jan 5, 2012
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they have skylanders and disney infinity out on the machine, but nintendo put that sort of functionality right into their controller. sony and microsoft are making consoles for male gamers that happen to have family-friendly games on them, similar to nintendo making family-friendly games that have male gamer games on them. it's just that nintendo themselves aren't making a whole lot in the way of those types of games. at this point, it has to be intentional. for example, i'm sure that if they really wanted to, they could have secured yakuza 6 as a wii u exclusive. instead they went for sonic.
Which is why Wii U sales are dead.

They are selling machine priced into core gamer territory without producing core games themselves and 3rd parties are not there to fill the gaps since Nintendo was so succesfull at that family friendly stuff with Wii that they cemented the perception that mature games don't sell on their consoles.

And after companies got results of Wii U launch software sales from NPD this perception got solid foundation of facts.
 
Nov 13, 2011
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Nintendo theoretically have the capital to moneyhat Grand Theft Auto, it's still not something that would benefit Take-Two long term though. Although I guess with Sega seemingly mostly exiting console gaming, they may not care as much about the Yakuza franchise's sustainability.
It's almost comical how hard those of you engaged in the GBA vs 3DS debate are trying to ignore the massive shifts that have taken place in the consumer electronics market over the past 10 years. The concept of a "historical" handheld market size is a fallacy.

Namely, the rise of mobile device gaming (both phone and MP3 player), and tablet gaming on multifunction devices has irreversibly shifted the market and consumer expectations for what they will pay for content. I'm sure that everyone is well aware of this, so why continue to argue as if Nintendo operates in a vacuum.

I know it makes the analysis much more complicated, but the gaming market is (and forever will be) in a much more complicated position than it was historically.
Personally, I didn't mean to ignore that obvious shift. Rather, I think it's explanatory for the contraction in the "dedicated handheld space." Nintendo aren't operating in a vacuum, so much as they're operating in an increasingly smaller part of a growing mobile market.

These convergent devices have basically swept away the expanded audience, who can now get their gaming fix for much cheaper on products they already own that do a multitude of other things for their lives. And where I see them going beyond just taking away the anomalous expansion of dedicated handhelds in the NDS generation is that I think they're also eating into the more traditional market for handhelds - namely children and young people.

As to whether these convergent devices are eating into dedicated gaming devices as a whole rather than handheld devices - they certainly could be, but I'd say it remains to be seen whether they are serving as substitutes for the traditional console audiences that buy the likes of FIFA and Madden.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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Just wondering but maybe someone could check what were first month and lifetime sales for Yakuza games in NPD ?
the average for the first four are around 50k ltd. the zombie thing did far, far less. it's just not a profitable (or profitable enough) venture in the west. people need to realize that's the reason why we're not seeing it.
 
Aug 26, 2006
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Vita - 16k
WiiU - 29k
I have a strange blend of love and indifference towards the Vita. When I see it's painfully low sales figures I actually feel glad because it's more justification for Sony to drop the price. It drops the price and I can buy one.

But why buy a Vita at all I hear you ask if I'm so indifferent to it? PS Plus. I have a year membership and I actually feel like I'm leaving money on the table by not having a Vita to play all the free Vita games each month.

I'd definitely buy a cheap Vita (with memory card) to play Uncharted GA etc and this is coming from a man who bought a PSP and played it twice.

I'm waiting to see what Gamescom will bring.
 
Nov 20, 2011
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Nintendo theoretically have the capital to moneyhat Grand Theft Auto, it's still not something that would benefit Take-Two long term though. Although I guess with Sega seemingly mostly exiting console gaming, they may not care as much about the Yakuza franchise's sustainability.
It still baffles me why Nintendo didn't throw money at Rockstar, EA, Konami and Bungie for WiiU versions of GTA V, BF4 / Fifa, MGS V and Destiny. Even paying $5 million a pop (didnt the Ubisoft CEO say PS360 ports were around $2 million ?), it's still only $25 million, a tiny amount of money and a great investment for a company sitting on $5 billion in available cash.

Nintendo do not need every third party game but the more core consumers will not take the console seriously without the really big name games.

Anyone expecting a price cut soon ? (they have to now with those sales right ?), I think we may get a Nintendo Direct in early October announcing that they are getting rid of the 8GB pack and launching both a black and white Premium set for $299. I think they will also show some more footage of the big 2014 releases and maybe a brief glimpse of the new Zelda as Nintendo struggle to try and take the attention away from PS4 and XBO.
 

jvm

Gamasutra.
Jun 22, 2004
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Anyone expecting a price cut soon ? (they have to now with those sales right ?), I think we may get a Nintendo Direct in early October announcing that they are getting rid of the 8GB pack and launching both a black and white Premium set for $299. I think they will also show some more footage of the big 2014 releases and maybe a brief glimpse of the new Zelda as Nintendo struggle to try and take the attention away from PS4 and XBO.
No.

This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Complex Questions®.
 

jvm

Gamasutra.
Jun 22, 2004
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Why not? Elaborate this, please.
I believe the implication is that the brand would be damaged by putting it on a platform that for a large part of the audience doesn't exist. It's the chicken-egg problem: GTA isn't on Nintendo platforms because the audience isn't there, but the audience isn't there because GTA isn't on Nintendo platforms.

Something like that.
 
I believe the implication is that the brand would be damaged by putting it on a platform that for a large part of the audience doesn't exist. It's the chicken-egg problem: GTA isn't on Nintendo platforms because the audience isn't there, but the audience isn't there because GTA isn't on Nintendo platforms.

Something like that.
How can you say GTA audience isn't there if no GTA game was ever released for a Nintendo home console before? You could say that if a previous game of the franchise came out and bombed, but that never happened so this is an assumption.

I should clarify that I meant moneyhat as an exclusive. (I take the same view with regard to a franchise like GTA and moneyhatting by Sony or Microsoft, really, although it would have less impact long term probably.)
Ok.
 
Nov 13, 2011
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Why not? Elaborate this, please.
I should clarify that I meant moneyhat as an exclusive. (I take the same view with regard to a franchise like GTA and moneyhatting by Sony or Microsoft, really, although it would have less impact long term probably.)

Unless all the third parties essentially come on board with their big franchises exclusively on a single platform and drive it to dominance then, a singular title being exclusive doesn't really benefit any given publisher long-term. Metal Gear Solid 4 would have sold more multiplatform etc. etc.
 
Sep 23, 2004
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How can you say GTA audience isn't there if no GTA game was ever released for a Nintendo home console before?
Well, it might be the obvious answer, but the GTA audience usually buys consoles that have a precedent for getting GTA or GTA-like games.

And I don't recall GTA-like games doing insanely well on the Wii.

Which is why Wii U sales are dead.

They are selling machine priced into core gamer territory without producing core games themselves and 3rd parties are not there to fill the gaps since Nintendo was so succesfull at that family friendly stuff with Wii that they cemented the perception that mature games don't sell on their consoles.

And after companies got results of Wii U launch software sales from NPD this perception got solid foundation of facts.
Not to mention for those core gamers, the 360 and the PS3 have their needs and wants covered and then some. The Wii U has failed to showcase one thing that they'd be missing by not having one, aside having a map on a second screen.
 
Uh thats exactly why. Not like it matters. Nintendo would have to spend all their cash to get it exclusive
And it would worth every penny of it.

The problem is... if they bought GTA and at the same time make "family" appealing games as flagship titles to sell their system like they did when they got the Resident Evil exclusiviness when they were painting the GCN's image with games like Sunshine, Luigi's Mansion and Wind Waker. That would be useless.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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Well, it might be the obvious answer, but the GTA audience usually buys consoles that have a precedent for getting GTA or GTA-like games.

And I don't recall GTA-like games doing insanely well on the Wii.
i don't recall many gta-like games on the wii. the sandbox genre in general took a backseat to the first-person shooter though. gta wouldn't be as much of a 'get' as other franchises this gen.

Not to mention for those core gamers, the 360 and the PS3 have their needs and wants covered and then some. The Wii U has failed to showcase one thing that they'd be missing by not having one, aside having a map on a second screen.
most of those games aren't out yet, and the ones that have released for the system have been successful. one is bundled- nintendoland, so it's hard to say how well it would do on its own, but people are buying a more expensive version of the console versus the version that doesn't have the game, so it must hold some value. nsmbu has an insane attach rate, and lego city undercover's reaching 200k in the us (which is closer to a 15-16% attach rate).
 
Sep 23, 2004
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i don't recall many gta-like games on the wii. the sandbox genre in general took a backseat to the first-person shooter though. gta wouldn't be as much of a 'get' as other franchises this gen.



most of those games aren't out yet, and the ones that have released for the system have been successful. one is bundled- nintendoland, so it's hard to say how well it would do on its own, but people are buying a more expensive version of the console versus the version that doesn't have the game, so it must hold some value. nsmbu has an insane attach rate, and lego city undercover's reaching 200k in the us (which is closer to a 15-16% attach rate).
Scarface, Godfather, and Driver were pretty similar and released for the Wii in it's more active earlier years, but didn't turn out the numbers IIRC.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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Scarface, Godfather, and Driver were pretty similar and released for the Wii in it's more active earlier years, but didn't turn out the numbers IIRC.
all three of those games came out a year after they released on the ps2 and xbox. going from what i have, driver and godfather didn't do very well on any system. scarface was a success on the ps2 though with a million copies sold.
 
Jun 1, 2005
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all three of those games came out a year after they released on the ps2 and xbox. going from what i have, driver and godfather didn't do very well on any system. scarface was a success on the ps2 though with a million copies sold.
For what it's worth (not much - ha ha), Godfather: Blackhand Edition (Wii) topped 100k in the US, and outsold Godfather: Don's Edition (PS3). But yeah - I'm not sure why we're talking about late ports of games that weren't that popular to begin with.
 
Feb 5, 2009
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This is moving into an area that often results in a mangled discussion. You'll get the full range of views from piracy is a net-positive, to piracy is Satan incarnate. For me, it's more of a gray area when it comes to sales.
I know the "piracy" subject is a very delicate one with not much of a disclosed scientificaly sound study released about its repercusions in the console gaming market. But i do think is was worth to consider for the "GBA Age Vs. DS Age" of game sales due to how accesible it became to the consumer.
the purple lunchbox was kinda out of their hands. the black version of the system was available and sold better, and i believe the platinum version was the one advertised once it released (i don't know if the black one had much screentime). nintendo was also riding off the n64 era where they had rare's and acclaim's titles on their system selling in the millions.
I contest this statement.

The console was unveiled in the purple color and most of the press material for it's launch was presented with that model, since it was even considered "indigo" as the comapnie's official color. Counting even Majora's Masks references XD
After launch and some price drops in, you saw the silver SKU heavily advertised but it was kind of futile effort.
It is too expensive, I agree.I think the various comments from senior management have made it clear they don't really plan to drop the price. They're betting on bundles being enough to move the needle it seems.
And it turns out they did ended up dropping the price, so it clearly shows Iwata's comments on the price matter were actually full of shit.

*Note: Why is Shinra banned? This man is one of the last users that i would've imagined to get banned, seems like part of a nightmare really, since his comments are always very informative and quite balanced. Let's hope is a temporal one so we can have him again as soon as possible.
So a question that just came up when discussing that in Japan the XL sells more than the OG 3DS.

Which sells better in the US? OG or XL? Thanks in advance.
XL seems to be the prefered model world wide but i don't have the numbers. It is based of my observations of available units in many stores i've seen.

That's why im really curious about the performance of the 2DS after the Pokemon wave.
 

jvm

Gamasutra.
Jun 22, 2004
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So a question that just came up when discussing that in Japan the XL sells more than the OG 3DS.

Which sells better in the US? OG or XL? Thanks in advance.
In the absence of bundles, and assuming $200 and $170 for the two models, the ASP suggests that the split is about 50/50 to 60/40, in favor of the less expensive model for the latter.
 
Dec 5, 2012
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In the absence of bundles, and assuming $200 and $170 for the two models, the ASP suggests that the split is about 50/50 to 60/40, in favor of the less expensive model for the latter.
Thanks. I wonder if the many discounts for the OG 3DS and the XL skew it lower, especially for the XL being regularly available at a price lower than $200.