News Article

Piracy Not to Blame for Poor Software Sales, Says Iwata

Posted by James Newton

Blame must be divvied out more evenly

We know that the DS has suffered a great deal from the impact of piracy, with many titles failing to gain the sales they deserved, in part due to the ease with which software is pirated on the device. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata isn't convinced the blame lies squarely at the feet of pirates however, acknowledging his company has a part to play in promoting great software.

I do not think we should attribute bad software sales solely to piracy. Even with piracy, as long as we can create products which can attract attention from many consumers and which can greatly entertain them, that software can make it to the No. 1 position of the hit software sales chart.

This isn't the first time Mr Iwata has stressed the importance of great software, doing so previously when discussing how good games can triumph over economic troubles.


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User Comments (37)



CanisWolfred said:

Glad somebody's not just playing the old Piracy Cop-out. Blame it on the real problems.

Not to mention pirates usually don't buy games anyways, so it's not like they'd actually be losing any sales.



R-L-A-George said:

Glad they realized it.

I've noticed a lot of DS games are poorly promoted, I go to my local surplus store and find a lot of games I didn't even know existed. Kind of strange most of the "Rated T" games are not even really promoted, its like the companies release the games and just forget'em.



WWammy said:

That's true DS games are poorly promoted however PSP games are even worse promoted from what I've seen. When I went to my local "GAME" a few weeks ago I saw that the DS had a massive amount of shelf space but the PSP had next to none. I'm not sure if this is because of the PSPGO but man I was shocked I couldn't find a damn thing for the PSP.
I don't really get what's going on to be honest the only games I see promoted are 360 and PS3 titles and other games just seem to dwindle in nowhere land.



Guybrush_Threepwood said:

How would he explain the poor sales of GTA: Chinatown Wars? I think piracy was the main reason why the sales were absolutely disappointing. Hardcore games made for older target groups have definitely more piracy issues than casual or not M-rated hardcore games.

Additionally Nintendo Europe didn't promote the best rated DS game ever in the Nintendo channel on Wii. You can't even find Chinatown Wars in the Nintendo channel anywhere.



Objection said:

I don't see what's so wrong with blaming part of bad sales on pirates. If they paid for at least some of the games they pirate, then some games would do better.



ueI said:

I can't believe the stupidity of Nintendo of Australia. If Australians speak English, the games don't need to be translated, so they should come out sooner. The prices are also obscene. Does everything in Australia cost twice as much as it does here, Chibi Link?



GamesX99 said:

You know i don't like piraters (like many people). First they make it so games dont get enough sales then Nintendo stops making those games early than intended so i cant get it, and second of all they get Nintendo to lose money.



theblackdragon said:

@ShadowSniper7: I've got you beat with 9, though two of those were the extra copies of AC:WW and FFIII i picked up for my husband as well. I'm also choosing to not count Electroplankton, though I have bought 2/3 of those apps via DSiWare. :3 I traded some of them in after playing them, but Ninty's gotten their money outta me for sure :3



Token_Girl said:

This is good. People don't pirate 3rd party games they've never heard about. The most pirated game was Pokemon (Platinum, I think). It's not like Pokemon needs any help with sales. Chinatown Wars is the ONE example of a game that could have been seriously hurt by piracy I can think of. The problem is if third party games aren't good, or people don't know about them, they won't buy them. News flash, they won't pirate them either.



EdEN said:

Well, piracy does bring down overall sales for games but great games end up selling a lot of copies in the end to sorta offset this.



EdEN said:

As for shadowSniper7's challenge, I have 14 of the games pictured.



LuWiiGi said:

I have two of the games pictured. If guess which ones and get it right, you win my respect! (Hint: It's obvious)



mjc0961 said:

@5: I lol'd.

Also I love the irony of this being about making great games to overcome piracy, and yet there's a Sonic title and a Final Fantasy title in the box art mosaic. At least the other 14 games will feel better knowing that they aren't the worst one featured.



Hokori said:

Over the hedge??? NO THANK YOU!!! but how could NSMB and Mario Kart DS not sell well??



CanisWolfred said:


That's the thing...chances are the pirates wouldn't have bought those games anyways (Ironically, they can even be helpful, since if they like the game they pirated, they may act as free advertising). They're not usually "losing a sale" as much as they now have people using their product without giving them the money they deserve (there's a similar consequence when you buy games used). Certainly that's still clearly not a good thing, and it still does bring down the sales of games overall, but that doesn't mean that pirates can really be blamed for making a game fail. It just isn't significant enough to outway all the other factors, such as marketing, quality, availability, timing, general appeal, etc.



childofacid said:

When the DS first released I was expecting games like Mario 64 DS. I was excited that a handheld could create N64 far since then I havent seen any game look as good as Mario or Metroid Hunters. I expected Phantom Hourglass to look as good as Ocarina of Time...but it was just a 2.5D game...



Justaguest said:

I love nintendo too much to be able to pirate. i got 39 ds games and never did it once.



JimLad said:

There's A LOT of DS games out there in case you hadn't noticed, and a new game purchase isn't something people tend to take lightly. The only way you're going to improve sales to reflect the install base is to get DEMOS to people. I'm not talking about temporary ones you get from download stations or the Nintendo Channel, I'm talking about carts that have several demos bundled on them. Distributed in magazines or maybe free in stores.
And when the 3DS hits, I highly suggest downloadable demos that stay on your SD card, that you can also share with other machines.
It absolutely baffles me that Nintendo have avoided demos for so long. They may cost money to produce, but they will increase software sales tenfold, resulting in more third party support!



LuWiiGi said:

@uel Wrong! I have NSMB and MK. But you still win my respect cos you're the only one who tried.



Objection said:

@Mickeymac-All good points, just want to clarify that I said "If they paid for at least some of the games they pirate, then some games would do better." For instance, I buy a lot of games used, so technically I am legally fine but not helping the developer, but I do buy some of my games new. I can't say what a pirate's ratio of buying/pirating is, all I'm saying is for every game they don't/couldn't pirate, they might have bought that game, hence the sales would have been 1 better.



Capt_N said:

In response to Iwata:
"How can we help?"

I'd buy more games, but I lack the money.




I've played 11 games in that picture and owned 10! ]

As for sales, fair enough to the big man's comments.

Piracy is still immoral and wrong, however.



PSICOffee said:

The only promotion I've ever seen for videogames are the ones that are 1st party, and even then those are rare to see on tv. Most has to be relied on word of mouth and the internet, and if that fails its the developers fault for not promoting it.



Nintendo-is-my-love said:

SHAME ON YOU. thats to every1 who used piracy i no one person but they got the abuse they deserved. nintendo is the best company in the world an dmake great games but these games dont make any money because of this piracy seriously would they rather nintendo goes bankrupt and then have no more games to even get pirated

thank you for not advising people to pirate from any company -- TBD



MysticX said:

40-something euros per DS-game, and most of them are shovelware (Lame iphone-ports, movie-tie-ins, collections of games that would be lame as Java-based timewasters or weak attempts to port games that are popular on way more powerful consoles), so to keep on trying to go "It's piracy that's lowering sales!" would be silly to the extent of insanity at this point.

Either lower the prices or bring out more good games, or divide them up in 2 ranges, really good top-tier games like the Mario-games and pokémons, the games that will last a while, at full price and an official line of "Not as long playtime or deep gameplay, but cheaper" for people who want that, selling trash for full price doesn't work anymore...

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