April 22, 2013

Big Bucks Roll in as Nintendo Goes with the Digital Flow


I must confess, I’m a bit of a closeted gamer.

This is exactly what drew me to shop the other day for a new video game. As I perused the aisles in all of my gaming glory, I noticed one of my favorites from the past – Super Mario 64. However, it was for the Nintendo 3DS, and I was looking for Nintendo Wii games. I decided to take a chance and ask an employee if the game existed for the Wii console, and wouldn’t you know it, it did. There was only one thing – it only came as a digital download. This meant that I had to buy a “Points Card” and use the code on the back to purchase the game through an online store. For instance, to buy my video game, I’d have to purchase a 2000 Points Card, which translates to $20 when shopping.

Apparently, video games are increasingly taking this form, and not to the surprise of many. In fact, Nintendo – a company who for the most part stayed away from this craze – reportedly experienced soaring sales after embracing digital distribution last summer.

For some, this could mean losing out on one of the most cherished aspects of gaming – the physical game (almost every young adult can remember the days of blowing into video game cartridges to clean them out). Now, our games are going virtual and intangible, and apparently, it’s for the better.

Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo America, weighed in on this growth, explaining that experimenting with digital gaming has significantly improved the company’s bottom line overall. And, according to reports, he doesn’t see this trend slowing down anytime soon.

Fils-Aime also noted that the company currently has 15 Nintendo-published titles available, which are both in physical and digital form, but so far this year, 11 percent of those 15 titles have been purchased as digital downloads. Clearly, digital downloads have secured an innovative and consistent stream of sales for the company.

When you break it down further, Fils-Aime says that Emblem Awakening has sold 240,000 units life-to-date in the U.S., and a staggering one-third of those were sold in digital form.

Turning our attention more strictly to Nintendo 3DS, it’s been reported that 67 percent of all 3DS owners have already connected their device to the Internet, which has prompted them to browse the eShop. Furthermore, Nintendo 3DS sold eight million units within its first two years on the U.S. market, and as of April 15 of this year, 3DS game sales have increased by 55 percent compared to last year, including both physical and digital versions.

"Through that connected experience, consumers have downloaded more than 41 million items from the eShop - everything from full games to applications like Nintendo video, DLC, demos, free items, and more," says Fils-Aime.

In an age where we can browse and buy essentially everything via online shops and Internet-connected devices, it seems only logical to enable gamers to buy their favorite games without having to even get off the couch. With Nintendo embracing this mentality, it’s been able to recognize high revenue and even higher hopes for the future of digital gaming.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi




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