News Article

Analyst Claims eShop Made $11 Million in 2011

Posted by James Newton

Staggering statistics

Nintendo is extremely protective when it comes to releasing sales figures for its downloadable games, insisting developers and publishers sign non-disclosure agreements that prohibit them from discussing revenues and unit sales. Digital analysis firm FADE LLC is in the business of releasing digital sales figures and revenues, and has just published a report on the 3DS eShop's performance in 2011.

Including 3DS Virtual Console, 3D Classics and original downloadable games, FADE claims the eShop generated income of $11.1 million USD in 2011. Nearly one-quarter of that was contributed by Game Boy Color classic The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX, which sold 339,000 units to rake in $2.3m.

3D Classics: Excitebike shifted the most units, racking up 481,000 downloads, though FADE claims half of those came during the period the game was free, though it still grossed $1.3m in 2011.

How did non-Nintendo games fare, however? The best performer was Gameloft's Let's Golf! 3D, pulling in 43,000 sales for a revenue of $356,000. The gap between first and third party success extends even to the eShop it seems, though Nintendo certainly had the jump on third parties, with most big non-Nintendo releases hitting at the tail-end of the year.

FADE compiled a top ten of the year and lists Hyu Stone in the number ten slot, despite the fact it's not out in the West yet.

As ever, we should point out that these are estimated sales figures and revenues provided by FADE and may not be entirely accurate. We should also note the eShop only launched on 6th June, so these figures are for a seven month sales period. Still interesting, though.

Estimated Top Selling Titles, by Gross Revenues (Annual, 2011)

1. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Nintendo) - 338,700 Units / $2.3 Million USD (VC)
2. 3D Classics: Excitebike (Nintendo) - 481,100 Units / $1.3 Million USD (eShop)
3. Super Mario Land (Nintendo) - 230,500 Units / $1.1 Million USD (VC)
4. Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive! (Nintendo) - 112,700 Units / $969,000 USD (eShop)
5. Pushmo (Nintendo) - 93,300 Units / $634,000 USD (eShop)
6. Kirby's Dream Land (Nintendo) - 84,500 Units / $384,000 USD (VC)
7. Let's Golf! 3D (Gameloft) - 43,200 Units / $356,000 USD (eShop)
8. Donkey Kong (Nintendo) - 82,800 Units / $348,000 USD (VC)
9. 3D Classics: Xevious (Nintendo) - 47,900 Units / $301,000 USD (eShop)
10. Hyu Stone (Poisoft) - 50,300 Units / $293,000 USD

Zelda Tops 3DS Downloadable Titles in 2011

February 14th, 2012 - As per the Research & Analysis division of analyst firm Forecasting & Analyzing Digital Entertainment, LLC (FADE), Nintendo's newest platform, the 3DS generated approximately $11.1 million USD from 3DS and Virtual Console titles in 2011.

Sales were led by Virtual Console title 'The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening', which sold 339,000 units in 2011, or an estimated $2.3 million USD. Performances were split between classic releases through Virtual Console, 3D remakes, and 3DS Ware titles, as titles from each collection were well-represented in the top 10, adjusted for gross revenue. Other key titles included 3D remake 'Excitebike' which saw an estimated 481,000 units downloaded during the year, with approximately half being during its free promotion in June, resulting in an estimated gross of $1.3 million USD.

Nintendo-published titles dominated the top ten with eight of ten titles being from the console manufacturer. Gameloft's 3DSWare offering 'Let's Golf 3D' placing as the top selling 3rd party title, with an estimated 43,000 units sold through the year, or $356,000 USD in revenues. "Nintendo generated 81% of gross revenues among downloadable titles in 2011, asserting dominance during the year. However, in order for the 3DS market to grow, Nintendo will need to promote 3rd parties in 2012" said Director of Research & Analysis, Benjamin Schlichter.

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User Comments (47)

GamerDude

#1

GamerDude said:

WOW! This is defiantly going to attract the attention of developers who are unsure about developing for the e shop!!!

kyuubikid213

#2

kyuubikid213 said:

Did you see this, Nintendo?

If you release a game that we all will buy thanks to nostalgia (and because it is a great game), you can make MORE MONEY!!

So what are you waiting for?! POKEMON!!

JustAnotherUser

#3

JustAnotherUser said:

That's amazing! Congratulations Nintendo.
But hopefully this means developers won't rush in and develop ShovelWare...

sgotsch

#5

sgotsch said:

Compared to regular software sells, these are quite low numbers, though?

Tethers

#6

Tethers said:

I never trusted such sales number out of nowhere. What are the sources of these valuations?

nick_gc

#8

nick_gc said:

I would very much welcome Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow with added wireless multi player please.

James

#9

James said:

@sgotsch Compared to boxed software, sure. Super Mario 3D Land sold 5m worldwide in about two months!

@Tethers Predictably FADE won't reveal its methods or sources (not for free, anyway!)

@Lan These are the first eShop sales figures I've seen. FADE has estimates for 360, PSN and Steam downloads but they're obviously unfair comparisons. All we have from developers is Icon Games' WiiWare figures and they're no help either.

XCWarrior

#10

XCWarrior said:

7 games over 80,000. Thats pretty terrible. Though I guess digital downloads don't have as much $ put behind them, so it probably doesn't take as long to make profit. Still really bad.

accc

#13

accc said:

Hey guys, Hyu Stone is not the same game as SpeedThru, though they do look somewhat similar. SpeedThru is a sequel to the (excellent) Wiiware game Thruspace, while Hyu Stone involves dropping a rock down a hole and moving it to avoid obstacles. I've been hoping for Hyu Stone to come out in the West for a long time, and your comment raised my hopes only to dash them quite expertly. Bravo!

supermario4ever

#14

supermario4ever said:

In my opinion, the Pokémon won't be released on Virtual Console, because the essential part of the game is the multiplay, trade each other's Pokémon. I didn't play with Pokémon games much times, but as I know, there are Pokémons which are in the Red, or Blue versions, so you're Pokédex never will be complete.

Dashtag

#15

Dashtag said:

you all know what would be virtual GOLD is if they launched Sonic the Hedgehog. I would buy that DEFINETLY.

eviLaTtenDant

#16

eviLaTtenDant said:

Seems legit.
If you could directly compare these numbers to retail titles Pushmo deserved to be a million seller imo. But if this means downloadable games will never replace retail games and only be used to supplement them i like it. :$

At least it shows that NA and the UK aren't the only important regions for Ninty. Looking at NL's download charts for the UK and NA there are some minor differences to this.
Surprised to see Freakyforms selling more than Pushmo, SML2 not making the list and also interested in how much the NA Club Nintendo shake things up here. ;)

Flowerlark

#17

Flowerlark said:

Go Zelda!! DLed that one myself and it was one of the best Zeldas I've ever played. And that's really saying something. I hope that they release the Oracle games in the e-shop too. Okay, so I have the carts already but as I'm not an old school gamer, I tend to get stuck and would really love those vc restore points.

AbuJaffer

#18

AbuJaffer said:

@sgotsch No. Especially for such (relatively) small production costs. Most developers (except ones who already make multi-limmion sellers) would kill for half a million sales.

Shworange

#19

Shworange said:

I wonder how much money it cost a game like pushmo to be created. It seems weird that pushmo only sold 93,000 units out of 15 million 3DS'. That's means less than one percent of all 3DS' systems have the game. Maybe, but that just doesn't seem right.

Birdman

#20

Birdman said:

Hopefully Hyu Stone will get a Western release; it looks interesting from what I saw on 3DS-Screenshot.

GuardianKing

#21

GuardianKing said:

Nintendo:
Making a game once
Releasing it twice or more (How many times has OoT been re-released total?)
Make a lot of $$$

Megajack

#22

Megajack said:

yay! hopefully nintendo will learn that relsesing dumb games like marus mission and dumb 3D classics isnt getting them money. mabye theyll start releasing the good GB and classic games

Hardy83

#27

Hardy83 said:

How is this going to attract developers?
If anything it shows that third parties shouldn't even try, since if it's not a Nintendo made game, it won't sell very well.

It made more then I thought it would, but this obviously shows what everyone thought. Third parties don't succeed on Nintendo's platforms.

As for Let's Golf. My guess is they succeeded simply because they were the first 3D game on the shop.

siddharthbandhu

#28

siddharthbandhu said:

Well, box won over digital downloads as most parents fell it rather safer to buy it physically from a store than buy using credit card online. Kids could do anything.

Nevermind good progress Nintendo!

WaLzgiStaff

#30

WaLzgi said:

Yeah, seems legit....until you remember that Nintendo never releases sales figures out. I bet I can "estimate" figures too. Give me two minutes ;)

Shworange

#31

Shworange said:

@NiaLovesNity
No. The figure is US dollars, but says nothing about only western downloads. It even includes a game at the last spot that hasn't been released in the states.

DarkEdi

#32

DarkEdi said:

Nintendo will be very angry because it doesn´t like to publish virtual sales.

P.D. And the Wii VC?? It could generate money but dead it won´t create money.

AVahne

#34

AVahne said:

Interesting, I've bought way more Third party stuff than First party though.

Ren

#36

Ren said:

that's not a lot but a step in the right direction, probably double what wii-ware has made in it's entire run. I hope this teaches them that throwing a bone once in a while does in fact generate more sales.

Knuckles

#38

Knuckles said:

@Viewtiful_Joe Funny i thought link was hylian,(sorry if spelt wrong) not italian. Considering he never speaks we never shall know...
Can you imagine the figures if the NES, SNES, GB, GBC, GBA games were released on eshop! Nintendo would make a killing!

Supremeist

#41

Supremeist said:

I've actually been quite disappointed with some of the releases. The only thing in the eShop that was released that made me go "OMG I CAN'T WAIT TO DOWNLOAD THIS" is Link's Awakening, and Pushmo.

grumblegrumble

#42

grumblegrumble said:

This just goes to show that the 3dS Virtual Console service is a sure-fire success! Now Nintendo has PROOF that their older titles (Donkey Kong for Gameboy, etc) are still as hot as ever and can make the company MONEY, maybe they'll keep re-releasing quality older titles :) Which makes me very very happy! Links Awakening made a fortune!

eviLaTtenDant

#43

eviLaTtenDant said:

@Lordlz(#31): Oh crap, i was only looking at the order of the titles and totally disregarded the numbers. There was an article that mentioned something like "six sells of a xShop title equal one sell of a retail game". I'd take this into consideration but sadly can't remember the title or when the article was written. @James: Any idea ? :)

eviLaTtenDant

#45

eviLaTtenDant said:

@James: Exactly. Amazingly on the spot as well. But why should i expect any less from a henchman of good ol' Sonic. ;)

I don't know if this is significant to how legit these numbers are. But if Pushmo / Pullblox would have sold over 500.000 in retail so far that would be quite a success i believe. Calculations might not be that easy of course and i could talk total bogus now.

Henmii

#47

Henmii said:

Very impressive! So I assume it's a much bigger succes then the Wii-shop?

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