Purely Opinion: Nintendo saved themselves like only Nintendo could
A while ago, it almost seems like a lifetime ago now, I wrote on how Nintendo didn’t need massive Wii U sales for them to be a successful company (Article HERE). My main point, for those who decided not to read it, was Nintendo is a lot more than a console provider, they are a major software and merchandise distributor and some can argue they are selling a brand. The year 2014 has proven my point. Nintendo has saved themselves like only Nintendo could.
Nintendo has two major things going for them; they have very popular franchises (That we all love) and crazy fanatic fans. Nintendo played to both of these strengths in 2014.
Unlike other consoler developers, Nintendo has the advantage of a strong core of franchises. In my last article I was berated when I made this point and was strongly told that Microsoft and Sony do have core franchises that they develop. Ok, let’s be honest with ourselves, they have a few but nothing like Nintendo. So moving on.
According to some reports, both Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. U have sold over 3 million units each; add around another three million units for Smash Bros. 3DS – Nintendo can claim they sold 9 million units off only three games (Sales numbers are not official). That’s not counting all the other games Nintendo released for the Wii U and 3DS during 2014. There’s a term that many used when talking about excessive chip dipping, double-dipping. Basically Nintendo is causing Nintendo fans to double dip. First we buy their consoles, and then we purchase their in-house games. Nintendo is making profit off the system and the games you purchase. Not a lot of companies can count on a consumer paying full price for a product and then paying double that amount just to run stuff on that product.
As I wrote in the previously mentioned article, Nintendo has a strong revenue stream from merchandise they release. Nintendo has taken this idea further with amiibo and now caused consumers to, in a sense, triple-dip.
According to recent sales numbers, 2.6 million amiibo figurines have been sold since their release in November. With an average cost of $13 an amiibo, Nintendo has made over $30 million on these little plastic figurines. It’s not all profit, but I am sure it only cost cents to produce, and taking out retail costs, Nintendo can still claim a big amount of that as profit. I’m not even going to talk about the GameCube adapter, the special edition Majora’s Mask figures, Virtual Console, eShop profit or anything else that has fans tossing money at the faces of Nintendo.
I’ve spent hours trying to find a way to manipulate the Wii U sales numbers into something positive, and I really cannot find a way. According to Nintendo, the 2014 Wii U’s sales increased by 29% over 2013. That is a nice increase but still not the juggernaut pace that everyone would want. But like I said those many years ago, Nintendo Wii U matching the sales of the GameCube, about 25 million, doesn’t mean doom and hell fire for Nintendo. As long as they have their strong franchises and fanatic fans, Nintendo will always be ok.