Nintendo has recently taken its first tentative steps into retail downloads, providing gamers worldwide with the means to download New Super Mario Bros. 2, taking away the need for a box and game cart. In Japan that also extends to Demon Training, the Brain Training follow-up that encourages short bursts of play to help improve concentration. The question is, are there enough gamers willing to go digital?
Speaking to Wall Street Journal, and as reported by gamesindustry.biz, Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata has shared details on what seems to be a decent start for retail downloads in Japan. Since 28th July retail downloads have accounted for 5% of New Super Mario Bros. 2 sales in Nintendo's homeland, while Demon Training figure is a thoroughly decent 20%; the latter no doubt performing better as it requires short, daily bouts of play.
In terms of what this means in actual figures, it's difficult to be too precise. The Enterbrain charts, released on a weekly basis, do not include eShop downloads in sales figures, but it's unclear at the time of writing whether download codes, purchased from retailers, are applicable. It's also unclear whether these percentages from Nintendo refer to both means of digital distribution or primarily the eShop: are Japanese gamers still buying code cards at slight discounts from retailers, or paying the full amount directly from eShop? These download codes aren't currently available on cards in the West, to our knowledge, so the option here is eShop at full price or a boxed copy.
In any case, the last reported total sales of New Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan were 790,732, while Demon Training has reached 98,088. In both cases, even with uncertainly about what's included in Enterbrain's figures, the retail downloads appear to be well into five figures. It'll be interesting to see if similar details are provided for Europe and North America in the weeks to come, and what those figures will say about retail download progress outside of Nintendo's homeland.