News Article

Talking Point: An Unplanned Flash Sale Looked Like Retail Download Genius from Nintendo

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

A flash sale... well, 'flashed' before our eyes

There was a moment this week when, for a brief and glorious moment, Nintendo ran a Steam-like flash sale on retail games. It may have passed plenty of people by, especially as it was for download codes on the official Nintendo UK store, but it was a glimmer of a brave new world where Nintendo creates buzz through timed, targeted and aggressive temporary discounts. It was actually a bit exciting for those that got in quickly, before the inevitable happened. It stopped.

We have a couple of theories about what went down here in Nintendo Life HQ, and that's all we have in an absence of official statements — we have asked for comment. The optimistic thought is that the store is planning some attractive, short-term discounts to reel gamers in and shift some download codes for games past their retail prime, and that somebody simply hit the button too soon. The more likely but slightly dispiriting theory is that it was a mistake, plain and simple, and not a precursor to any imminent promotional plans. Either is feasible and was on the table as the exceptional offers disappeared one by one; we can imagine someone with a sweaty forehead frantically clicking through to adjust each individual item. It was remarkably haphazard, with most prices being adjusted but, with the first edit on The Wonderful 101, the action being to simply chop the product away entirely — chaos behind the scenes.

As a reminder, the following are the prices that were available on the eShop codes for these games, and we've added some rough estimates in Euros and US dollars.

In some respects, initial reactions at the time that the prices could be legitimate were backed by the presence of the Pokémon X & Y download code — among others — for £39.99, showing that the whole store hadn't fallen victim to price crashes. The undermining entry, however, was Animal Crossing: New Leaf, a title that still has reasonable legs in the UK retail market, owing to its continued presence in the all-format top 40 for every week since its launch. The other titles on that list are, while excellent games, past their 'retail prime'. We should also mention that the Nintendo UK store does appear to have honoured purchases at these lower prices.

It's that retail prime that matters, and prompted some initial optimism that — rather than clicking the wrong buttons — Nintendo had launched discounts before it had gotten around to doing the usual business of announcing them to customers. Once the (arguably) inevitable had happened and the pricing disappeared, we were left to consider the brief buzz that had been caused and to ponder whether those discounts had even been a bad idea.

When considering whether a game has passed its retail prime, we're ultimately applying a mix of logic, common sense and knowledge from access to very limited amounts of data. It's often said that the first week of launch is crucial for any game, as early excitement brings that initial burst of sales before the next major release arrives and steals attention. This varies, of course, and as the New Leaf example shows titles can continue to sell reasonable numbers — though not at launch week levels — for a sustained period of time. One of the greatest strengths of major first-party Wii and DS software — and increasingly 3DS games — is a certain "evergreen" quality, meanwhile. There's no fixed template across the board, but it's undeniable that as a game ages, even if only by a few months, it'll slide further away from the top of wishlists.

Trends we do see in chart results, however, are discounted games seeing brief but noticeable jumps in sales — it happened with Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask in early December (in the UK, again) due to its inclusion in some handsome 2DS bundle deals. If a title has been on your "maybe" list or you're simply short on funds, seeing it a few months or more after release at a third of the price can be hugely enticing and prompt you to take a plunge. It's just market forces at work.

Of course, that's not always how Nintendo has operated, especially with its eShop platforms. In truth, it's entirely unsurprising and justifiable in light of its successes throughout the last-generation — copies of Mario Kart DS are still spotted for close-to-full price — and that evergreen reality for some brands. There's also Nintendo's stance of maintaining the value of video games, something applicable across the board from retail to download-only titles. Yet the times have been changing, with first-party Wii U games showing some discounts on the high street — more than would perhaps be common with the Wii — and, to the company's credit, far more dynamic eShop platforms that allow publishers to reduce prices and run discounts as they see fit.

So it's clear that Nintendo, across multiple regions, is adjusting to new pricing models — with DLC more prominent and free-to-play on the way — that will drive sales. And so that brief spell of first-party retail titles at borderline ludicrously low prices was a shock, but also pleasing. There was certainly a brief and noticeable buzz among UK gamers that spotted the anomalies, and we'd love to see whether that spell delivered a noticeable spike in copies sold.

Ultimately, if Nintendo is to pursue aggressive discounts on first-party downloads in future promotions, we'd anticipate prices more along the lines of 15-20 pounds / dollars / euros. Yet it can be argued that this is less a throwaway of potential profit but more a strategy for sales growth. Let's consider some key criteria.

  • Games would have to be at least three months old
  • Sales momentum must have seen it fall away from substantial weekly numbers
  • First-party only
  • Download codes only
  • Can be through official online web stores to drive traffic (like Nintendo UK's) or simply through the eShop

The final two points are, potentially, vital in enticing Nintendo gamers with flash sales while avoiding potential damage to retailer relationships. It's an awkward dance for Nintendo — as well as Sony and Microsoft — to offer deals through its own sales platforms while trying to persuade retailers to stock products; the first-party can't undercut the high street out of the game. The rules for games being a certain age and having lost a degree of retail momentum minimises this, and also helps to avoid early-adopters feeling excessively burned.

Flash sales — with the inevitable comparison being Steam — are particularly effective at generating hype and pushing sales figures up. It's not fool-proof, of course, but it's also not hard to find PC developers that declare the vital financial importance of discount promotions on Valve's service, often seeing substantial jumps in downloads and, by extension, boosts in userbase. For established Wii U owners it's also a nice reward, and wouldn't even be unprecedented — Ubisoft has slashed some prices on the eShop stores, with excellent titles such as Rayman Legends and ZombiU having been available at fantastic prices both as permanent and temporary discounts.

By sticking to first-party games the only loser, in terms of margins, is Nintendo, although whether those such as PlatinumGames receive per-unit percentages on copies of The Wonderful 101 — for example — is something we can't definitively confirm. Regardless, if the market conditions and timing are right, these discount sales are extra units that may never have gone out the door in the first place — we're talking downloads, too, so there's minimal cost of distribution. Marketing minds better than us would deal in statistics, but we'd suggest that some games are well overdue generous flash sales to promote impulse buys — examples can include Star Fox 64 3D and Game & Wario, games which have surely already been picked up at full price by those that are willing. And all of this, let's not forget, drives traffic to the eShop stores as codes are redeemed.

The beauty of flash sales is that, for a short time, we can all have our cake and eat it. It'd be a gamer's heaven for desired, top-notch games to be under $20 all the time, so that we can buy every game we want and be happy; of course, the industry doesn't work like that, and retaining value that achieves the best results for game makers and their publishers to turn a profit is important for more games to be funded and made. Yet once that critical early period has passed there must be a statistical time when any sales, even at less than half the full price, can be considered a bonus.

If you want an extreme example of the excitement these policies can prompt, look no further than Steam's yearly Holiday sale bonanza, when it dominates social network timelines and plenty of people buy games that they wouldn't normally download. That's perhaps an extreme example that Nintendo is unlikely to ever follow with first-party games, but there are more restrained options out there. With the right price and limits on small purchase windows for one game at a time, excellent but undersold titles can be played by more players.

It's win-win, right?

Do you think Nintendo should run flash sales on retail first-party downloads? (595 votes)

Most definitely yes!


Yes, but not too frequently


I'm not sure it's a good idea, but worth a trial


Definitely not


Please login to vote in this poll.

From the web

User Comments (126)



Kirk said:

Now that is cool.

Those are great prices for all of those games.

More decisions like this!!!



Rafie said:

Flash! Actual decent sales were the consumers actually get a chance to partake in....YES!! I hate hearing about great deals going on, only to be disappointed that it was either a mistake, or it was a "flash" sale.



MeddlingIdiot said:

I usually buy physical releases if possible, but these prices would definitely convert me. Unfortunately I missed out on Mario & Luigi: Dream Team...



BalrogtheMaster said:

For consumers, it's great. But for Nintendo, it's a horrible idea. If they started doing flash sales like these sometimes, people will hold off buying the game in anticipation of one. And on top of that, consumers who bought the game at 5x the price would feel betrayed.

I know there's the whole digital vs. physical argument too, but I'm pretty sure most people would go digital if they could get their game at a fraction of the cost.



TruenoGT said:

I think Nintendo should avoid the race to the bottom on digital pricing. Steam sales are nice and all, but they just train people to expect to pay next to nothing for games. I don't think that's sustainable in the long term and ultimately bad for developers. Considering game prices have actually fallen versus inflation over 20-30 years while dev costs have gone way up means we're already getting a pretty good deal even on new, full priced (even digital) games IMO.



HarryK said:

I would have bought FOUR games yesterday that I will most likely miss out now (I don't have time for them anyway, but that's what happens to all my Steam purchases).

So Nintendo would've gotten ~ € 40 out of me that they will never see now! If they do it right, then flash sales can be a gold mine.



Anguspuss said:

Only issue is they sold bulk codes & the if you look at some chancers on ebay trying sell them for £25 now



Gerbwmu said:

I think a flash sale if done rarely can be useful to drive customers to your website....especially for something that is otherwise not selling.....but again....if you do this as the norm then why would I pay full price for anything....just wait 3 months and buy it for 80% off.

What it can do is get me to purchase something I wouldn't have otherwise....So I think they are useful as a quick promotion and something that can drive daily looks to your website but deep discounts like this devalue your product



ACK said:

Nintendo screwed the pooch by not including enough storage space in either Wii U model. Given that, I can see these sort of sales creating more problems than intended.



cornishlee said:

Lessons can certainly be learnt from Steam. I imagine they'd also be looking at how many full price games are bought on Steam.



ACK said:

@Rafie I actually agree. Flash sales leave more butt-hurt than benefit sometimes. My life is too busy to be bothered with rushing to get a deal. I appreciate either advance warning or an explicit deadline.



Anguspuss said:

ACK said:
Nintendo screwed the pooch by not including enough storage space in either Wii U model. Given that, I can see these sort of sales cresting more problems then intended.

Yes I understand where your coming from but disagree. X1 & PS4 both have 500gb hdd. With mandatory installs of most idsc games this will disapear quickly. Where I I got a toshiba 2tb external drive for j£55.



ACK said:

@HarryK I'm sure Nintendo is crushed. Considering all it takes is one person to buy one of these games at retail price to recoup your lost sale...



BigH88 said:

If Nintendo did this I would convert to digital only and have to buy a external hard drive.



DarkCoolEdge said:

If able I would have bought all "discounted" games.

I hope they start doing discounts more often and bigger. Star Fox 64 3D would be nice.



Rafie said:

@Kirk Doing the flash sale and not advertising it to the customers does it no justice. At least let the people know you're doing it. Nintendo stuff is overpriced at times anyway. They need to do sales.



ACK said:

@Anguspuss I agree that the PS4/XB1 are no better and possibly worse off in this regard (particularly the XB1, which is a bit of a travesty). External HDD support is the ideal solution, beyond allowing games to be played off SD cards.

However, I think a Nintendo system should avoid complicating such processes (firing up Nintendo games should always be as simple as possible). It wouldn't have been hard or especially expensive to include significantly more space, which could have simplified the ability of consumers to download numerous retail games. Maybe Nintendo wanted to keep encouraging retail, but I feel for any families that pick up some download codes ignorant of the data requirements.



Rafie said:

@ACK Definitely agree here. Let the public know what you're doing. If all they do is flash sales, then it will do Ninty more harm than good. I'd rather just have a good sale for a few days or even just one day....and ADVERTISE IT!



Emblem said:

Nice piece Thomas, discounts are very nice but there have been repercussions to steam success (in regards to sales) and with consoles and competitors following the same tactic i expect more in the future. As a PC gamer and Steam veteran of many years let me state some information that console owners may not be aware of :

Steam started regular deep discounts which directly led to the loss of release day sales due to people waiting for the inevitable sales, to combat this the industry hit back with:

A. Increased Pre-order bonuses or early access, a AAA release on steam without a bonus is unheard of since deep discounts came into play. indies etc are more likely to have one absent but its a rarity.

B. Increased DLC, while other factors contribute to this EA especially stated that DLC keeps their games profitable after retail so are now a staple in all their games.

C. The creation of season passes to ensure multiple dlc is brought.

D. Reward unlocks, let me explain since this hasn't yet come to consoles afaik. If 500 people pre-ordered The new Tomb Raider they got the first one for free, if 1000 people pre-ordered then you also got the second one for free and so on.

The benefits of flash sales on steam in particular is:
1. It often brings a new influx of players to multiplayer games.
2. Affordable games for shrewd buyers and those with low disposable income.
3. Gives visibility to some games that often get lost in the 1000's of titles on the steam store.

So yeah discounts are cool, deep discounts are great but having them regularly is bad in the long run imo. I for one know that steam will have several major sales a year so rarely buy anything outside of those sales.Most times they are game i would have brought eventually anyway at the asking price. But there are also some games i have only brought because of deep discounts, of course my financial situation and gaming habits differ from everyone else.

TL;DR Deep discounts are a double edged sword and gamers need to be aware of the repercussions as well as the benefits of their purchasing habits.



PinkSpider said:

Who are the 10% of people that would rather pay full price than a reduced price? Seriously people... Really?



Dark-Link73 said:

@Anguspuss Even worse, XBOX One and PS4's HDD only have about 370-390 GB left of space after the OS and apps. So I really like to be able to plug in up to 4TB of space on my Wii U.



LztheQuack said:

I don't think deep discounts are a good idea.

I wouldn't mind if their lesser-known games get lower prices though



Bisylizzie said:

I picked up Mario and Luigi, one game that I hadn't got round to buying, and was falling down my list of stuff to buy... I think, if I hadn't jumped on it during this sale, I may never have picked it up...
So, that's got to be good for both me and Nintendo, right? They've gained a sale they may never have had otherwise, I've gained a game for a fairly nice price...

Sure, them doing something like this "for reals" in the future, could cause me to jump at purchasing a game that isn't high on my priority list... But I can't see them doing this often. Maybe one-off events... Or even, as someone said, on older games, from early in the 3DS' life.
Even so, in some cases, it's usually easier to get games much cheaper from retail (case in point, recently Tesco have had their big sale, with many games less than a fiver.) - plus, it's physical copies, too.



HarryK said:

@ACK Sure... cause I'm the only person who would buy games they wouldn't buy otherwise. The article above got so many things right. Nintendo just has to figure out which games to put on sale and when to do it. It will drive software sales and could even create interest in the hardware (Wii U, the new Steam). Of course they should never ever throw away something like Mario Kart in a flash sale, but there are enough older games that would make sense. I'm sure Ubisoft made good money off their holiday sales.



SavoirFaire said:

What about their eshop promo in late December: 2 games, 2 days, 2 bux? That seemed like a great promotion they could do, and they did it... Once



bizcuthammer said:

I would buy W101, DKCR3D, and ACNL at those prices. Maybe even Dream Team, too. I hope if this happens again it hits NA too.



Jayvir said:

Considering Nintendo titles retain their value for a REALLY long time traditionally, it would be a good idea to have a sale or two with deep discounts on occasion.



ricklongo said:

They should definitely do things like this. I always buy retail (unless in the case of digital-only games, obviously), and even I would be enticed by something such as this. It could be a chance to get a game that I don't really intendo to purchase, like Ninja Gaiden or Scribblenauts.



Yasume said:

Steam-like flash sales and you'd have won me back, Nintendo.

I'd bet my house that those earlier flash sales were nothing but a simple mistake though. Nintendo would never sell first party games for such low prices.



SirMime said:

It would be nice to see the odd eshop sale. The OoT discount last year was great and luckily I managed to bag some codes yesterday for cheap. Just the odd sale every so often would be nice to see.



HaNks said:

i said this in the other thread, but nintendo's software pricing philosophy is out of date in an increasingly digital era. they've never really done much discounting so don't have the data - but what all other publishers and indie devs are doing should be a clue as to how you get the most bang for buck from the consumer. all the while keeping them more happy and invested in a particular ecosystem.

games don't have to be slashed at retail (thats happening anyway) but these days people pay for the privilege of playing a game first. that's where the value is perceived to be. nobody is upset when a game is on sale months down the line because that's the norm. if nintendo want to get with the times, make more money and please more customers, they have to seriously rethink their pricing strategies (and a hell of a lot more).



Spoony_Tech said:

One point you seemed to have forgot is that it takes away from a used games sale. If i see one of these deals for a heavy discount price and it's the same or even a bit less then the used copy ill buy the dl as i know the company is getting the money. Whenever i can i buy the cheapest way i can! Afterall raising a family of 3 isn't cheap!



tripunktoj said:

From my personal view as customer I don't care, I always prefer a physical option when there is one, the only exception would be the ones I got completely free (Wii Fit U-eShop promo, Art Academy Lessons for Everyone-club.nintendo) or if there is an exclusive Im interested in for getting it via download (Donkey Kong Original Edition for getting digital Crosswords Plus).

From a business perspective, I guess its OK in the right amount at the right times.



GalacticMario28 said:

I think this could be a good idea, but it would require some serious management. They'd have to have sales on some titles, but not others, and they'd have to make sure the sales wouldn't be too frequent. Otherwise, people would soon become spoiled and might never buy a certain game because they're waiting for a sale that will never come, or they might begin to feel that the full $60 is a rip-off and refuse to buy a game at that price even if Nintendo came out and specifically said there would never be a sale on that game. Needless to say, that could significantly hurt sales. But if Nintendo plays its cards right, this could work out for everyone.



WingedSnagret said:

I would have a say in the matter, but besides Black Friday NoA doesn't do sales in any significant way.



Nico07 said:

@Rafie Agreed, I would have been all over these deals even though I already have physical copies of most. How would Nintendo's biggest fans have had any warning of these sales? Maybe Club Nintendo email opt-in reminders to check a at a certain time for some mystery deal.



Anguspuss said:

DarkwingLz said:
What about a buy one get one 50% off (or more) sale?

That would be great. I did end up buying a lot on xmas sale. I would never have bought AC3 or Splinter cell if they hadn't been on sale. The two tribes offer on TOKI 2 if you had bought more of their releases was good as well.

Would like to see pre order bonus or discount on new releases on eshop would be great.

I only want to buy digital but my biggest issue is the games aren't linked to your account but the device.

The Nintendo Premium pack vouchers are a great idea. Managed to get £25 credit for e store so far.



Jazzer94 said:

I see no problem with flash sales for games like Wonderful 101 which sold terribly as if people enjoy it they my get the next installment andthink twice about the next niche title, all I'm trying to say is these sort of things can help generate exposure.



rjejr said:

I'm not sure what the definition of "flash" sale is, and I don't view Valve/Steam as a main competitor of Nintendo/eShop, but Sony has sales on an almost weekly basis - this week is 14 in 2014 in the US, the UK had a 12 days of Christmas sale - and it's my understanding MS has regular sales on Xbox360 as well. So Nintendo should have both regular weekly sales - which honestly I have seen them doing over the past few months way more than they ever have in the past - and "flash" sales.

And Flash sales don't realy cost them that much money. It's advertsing/marketing, which the Wii U still needs badly, and peple who haven't bought 6 month old games probably aren't ever going to at full MSRP. And digital costs them almost nothing compared to manufacturing and shipping of physical product. Whatever Nintendo makes from 1st party digital sales of old games is profit. simple.



rjejr said:

Here's my comment from yesterday in agreement w/ this article, despite my previous post reading not so agreeable.


Considering how poorly the Wii U is doing in the UK - did it really sell less than the Vita last year? - then even if these prices were in all likelihood an error I hope Nintendo sees that games can sell if you put them on sale. W101 sold so poorly it probably needs to be at that price, or close to it.
And they should honour the prices, between the low Wii U UK install base and the limited amount of time these were on sale how many were sold? Enough to PO your Wii U owners? They probably weren't going to buy Pikmin 3 and W101 at full price now if they haven't already. Even Animal Crossing must be slowing down by now.



cmk8 said:

They'd work on me, I'm a real sucker for temporary sales. I have about 20 unopened games on my 3DS.
I've rejoined xbox live just for the free games and the excellent sales.



TheRegginator said:

Lol at all of these people that think they're economists and think flash sales would be bad for business. Steam has demonstrated time and time again that publishers get more profit during digital game sales and that the sales do not devalue the game. The games continue to sell just as well did before the sale.



Peach64 said:

I definitely think they need bigger discounts during sales. Over Christmas, XBLA and PSN had amazing sales. Ni No Kuni for £6.59 or £5.99 if you have PS+, and Dark Souls for £3.75 being my personal favourites.

There's a lot of hard data out there to show how much the deep discounting in Steam sales makes a developer. The idea that things won't sell because everyone is waiting for the sale just isn't true. The Steam Sales bring in people who normally don't buy games on there, and it gets current Steam users to buy games they were curious about about before. The amount of copies sold vastly outweighs the discount and then it goes on to have continued success from the extra word of month with all the new users.

"Following that argument, nobody would ever go to a first run movie ever again. Even now, as DVDs come out even faster, you'd just be like, heck, I'll just wait and get the DVD and me and 10 friends will watch it. But people still like to go to theatres because they want to see it first, or they want to consume it first. And that's even more true with games.

For instance, if all that were true, nobody would ever pre-purchase a game ever on Steam, ever again. You just wouldn't. You would in the back of your mind be like, okay, in six months to a year, maybe it'll be 50 per cent off on a day or a weekend or during one of our seasonal promotions. Probably true. But our pre-orders are bigger than they used to be. Tonnes of people, right? And our day one sales are bigger than they used to be. Our first week, second week, third week, all those are bigger"



Zodiak13 said:

@PinkSpider If Nintendo has survived by not discounting games very often and has remained profitable, I say stay the course. I just want them to keep being able to make great games until I die or can't play games anymore. I would rather support Nintendo w/ $60 at launch rather than even wait 3 months and get it for $20. I only like free or dirt cheap if I don't care about the company, i.e. Sony. With the PS3 I have 4 games bought used only and lots of free PS+ games, but have never supported them w/ new product. Why?? Because I don't care about Sony or if their company comes crashing down. I run a repair shop that I would consider charges premium $. I have 5 shops in my area that charge considerably less per hour, yet I am by far the busiest because of the quality of our product and service.



Rafie said:

@Zodiak13 Why do you support a company that you care nothing for?! If you don't like Sony and their products, then why do you have a PS3 and purchased a PS Plus subscription? Just curious....



Zodiak13 said:

Oh and in case I was unclear, yes I voted definitely not. Many problems with 1st world macro economic issues stem from this constant lowering of profits margings which forces them to pay employees less, using inferior materials or just putting out inferior product all to just make sure they kept their price point down.



Zodiak13 said:

@Rafie Because sadly they have 4 games I wanted to play. Ni No Kuni, Tales of Graces F, Tales of Xillia, and Demon souls. Exclusives. Plus the free games from PS+ give me a chance to try games I would be unwilling to buy and see if I am missing out on something good. Same reason I have a Vita. Games I can't get from Nintendo or MS (not that I'm a big MS guy). Oh and the PS3 was mis priced at Fred Meyer for $89 w/ 250G.



SeVok said:

I choose "definitely not", I have all the respect for people wanting these sales and all, but throwing out games at bargain prices like steam does on sales creating a community that doesn't buy at launch and does nothing but lure around for crazy sales isn't my idea of supporting the hard work and love developers have put in their creations.

I also say no to the throw-away-gaming culture coming over from the mobile gaming world.
And those wondering what's wrong with those that votes "definitely not", try to think long term instead of short term, you'll understand sooner or later that this isn't the way forward. Plenty of cheap attention-span-of-12-minute games to be had on the mobile stores, 4 million games with, granted, now and then a couple of true gems, but that's it. I may be getting old, but again, this just isn't the way forward.



Zodiak13 said:

@Doma Did you read my comment #56/57. That does not make me a fanboy (Although I am a FAN of Nintendo). I bought 7 games during the Wii era since I did not like many games/controls. Every other system they have made EARNED my money.



DarkKirby said:

For a moment Nintendo went insane and tried a business tactic used by the most successful and popular non smartphone based digital game distributor in the industry, but then they came to their senses and realized they're Nintendo and they don't do stuff like that.

I can tell you I've purchased games on Steam while they were on sale that I wouldn't have purchased otherwise. Steam does it because it works.

Steam actually plans out sale dates and people wait for them, hopefully Nintendo doesn't consider this "test" a failure.

But I wouldn't purchase games digitally on Nintendo systems unless there was no other choice anyway because console tied digital purchases are horse manure.



shigulicious said:

W101 for $10.49? I don't do digital downloads on retail games BUT that one would have taken my money!



unrandomsam said:

Nintendo at the moment on the high street is not stocked much more than PC (Where most of them activate on steam anyway).



Senario said:

@ACK Except you can attach a non proprietary external hard drive for cheap considering that 1tb is 80 ish USD. And usually you won't download enough to get 500 gb.

I agree with short time sales as long as it follows the steam model. They discount only when the interest of the title is low enough. With appropriate gaps. Honestly I don't know any friends who use steam that feel betrayed for paying full price for a game when it was on sale several months later. It simply doesn't work like that. You will always have the group of people who want to play a game ASAP and those who are very patient waiting six or more months or more for a sale.



Dogpigfish said:

I'm not sure. It would definitely increase the hardware sales, but their brands are too lucrative. They do need to get the flow going, however.



pubjoe said:

Steam has completely devalued it's library. I have hundreds of Steam games and I consider them worthless.

Nintendo publish games that sell second-hand, and often years later, for almost the same as retail price - unlike every other publisher, who's prices crash in weeks. Nintendo's brand may be less popular, but it is still high valued - and for making replayable games with timeless appeal, it gets to be.

The pricing must have been a mistake. Part of the whole purpose of Nintendo's webstore is to further instil a consistent (high) price, just like Apple's strategy.

Apple protecting their brand value has seen them through hard times too.



Rafie said:

@Zodiak13 I respect that. There are definitely games on other systems that are worth a purchase. When you say "deserving" of your money...was Ni No Kuni and others not worth a purchase at that time because they were Sony exclusive?

Every system has a game that is worthy of a 60 dollar purchase. Every system does. MS don't have many, but Halo is definitely a worthy purchase on the first day imo. Sony has quite a few titles like Uncharted, GOW, etc that's worthy. Of course Nintendo with their 1st party titles deserves the day one purchase for their games. Except NSMBU. I thought that was more of a 40 buck game than 60. However, that SMB3DW is immaculate! I guess it's of the preference of the individual.



unrandomsam said:

@pubjoe Basically none of the 3DS games I have have been worth £40. (Link Between Worlds was worth it.) Mario Tennis Open and Starfox 64 3D have been worth £10. They are too easy. (NSMB2 lasted 5 hours to complete it with all the star coins just not acceptable). They ruined Fire Emblem which I was quite into up until the last one.



HaNks said:

@unrandomsam you've hit across the exact reason why 'sales' work. not everyone perceives every title to be worth its full value and by reducing it you unlock a whole group of customers who would have never bought in otherwise. and tempt a whole load more who weren't even on the radar, positive word of mouth, etc. perfect for titles like wonderful 101 which is fantastic, but sold/selling terribly. also hugely discourages piracy and used game sales.

the amount of people crying foul for day 1 purchasers is increasingly minimal. this isn't 1990 anymore, you are paying to play first and the sales keep money rolling in to fund the next title! i wonder if anyone at nintendo realises they'd make more money with a more flexible pricing strategy. we've been in the digital ecosystem era for a while already, it's time nintendo executives woke up to it. i actually think they are just far too slowly...leaving a lot of money and potentially satisfied customers on the table.



SCAR said:

All I know, is that I'd be jumping on this if it was in the U.S. I would have bought all of them, if I hadn't already.



pubjoe said:

Fair enough. I'd love to see the weaker games officially drop, say, 50% after a year (they already do unofficially, and often by more). When writing, I was thinking about the long term damage of Steam sales which regularly drop 80-90%, and also in the context of this £8 Animal Crossing etc.

It's only really Nintendo 1st party games that I'd pay close to RRP at launch for. Most other modern stuff, especially from Steam, I have no faith in their lasting appeal and the resale value of physical purchases.

...And I'm someone who will happily spend £100 on a good arcade PCB. While other times I'll begrudge 69p on a throwaway game. I accept there's a huge range in value and quality.

I think the short lived value (in content and price) of lots of other companies games, has lowered the perceived value of games in general. As a result, companies make cheap throwaway games and/or games with day 1 DLC.



pubjoe said:

...However I don't miss paying £50 on some of the rubbish that used to get thrown out in the 8 and 16 bit days!

I like a game which earns an expensive price.



Manaphy2007 said:

i would prefer 50% off for some 1st party games from nintendo that have been around at least a year and lets include 3rd party too



unrandomsam said:

@SeVok Ubisoft is the big problem for the Wii U when it comes to that. (Don't think any 3rd parties will succeed due to them doing what they are and so quickly.) Used is what takes money away from the dev's and publishers. Get all the money currently leeched by the retailers with used sales to the dev's and it would be better.



Senario said:

@unrandomsam lol ruined fire emblem? How? It is the best fire emblem since path of Radiance. And difficulty is there. Not that a more difficult game makes for a better one. I have played short games that were great and easy games that were also good.



Senario said:

@unrandomsam I dunno why you think it is unbalanced. It is not. DLC was also good Imo so I don't know why there are complaints there.

Somebody needs to play lunatic or lunatic+ on classic mode.



TrueWiiMaster said:

I'd love to see some flash sales from Nintendo. Actually, I'd love any sales from Nintendo. Unlike 3rd party developers, Nintendo has had almost no sales on their games on either eshop period, let alone deep discount flash sales. That said, it would probably take those deep discounts to get me to buy retail games digitally instead of hard copies.

While it can be annoying to miss a flash sale (as people have already said), if Nintendo allowed you to buy eshop games for your Wii U through your cell phone or computer (wasn't something like that in the works?), that would make such sales harder to miss. Besides, the urgency of Flash Sales is part of what makes them exciting (for us) and profitable (for them).

Also, I think these sales should come from more than just Nintendo. I'm sick of seeing developers favoring other platforms with much better sales.



boynerdrambling said:

definitely not a good idea. you'll end up getting people who just hold out for sales. if any nintendo game is going to go on sale, which in most cases it wont, a sale of $10-20 would be the most reasonable. Nothing steam like that was seen yesterday



Peach64 said:

You know what the top selling games during Steam's winter sale were? Day Z and Rust. And neither of them were on actually in the sale. No discount at all. The people that hold out for sales are not going to buy your game full price anyway. I buy tons of Stuff on Steam for under £4. I only buy on sales, but are they losing money because of that? No, because I'd never buy those games normally. I'm buying them because they're a chance to try a new game for (most of the time) less than a cup of coffee.



GN004Nadleeh said:

nintendo hardly ever drops the price of it's best games and when it does happen it is still ten dollars more than anyone else's 'players choice' titles



AJWolfTill said:

I do wonder if they were going to do a price drop following the inevitable Janurary Direct. I'm sure Nintendo is accutely aware of what it is doing so just enjoy the opportunity if you get the chance.



Ninjuggernaut said:

Man considering the criticism Nintendo receives for being "behind the times" when it comes to online services having these Steam-like sales would definitely put Nintendo on the map. Please Nintendo!! Make this a trend!!!



ShanaUnite said:

Not sure about flash sales. It certainly would be nice if some of the first party titles could drop in price a bit after a couple months. Sadly they seem to be pretty stagnant at the 40-45 euros range.



unrandomsam said:

@Senario I don't need to play it again. They took something I quite liked. (Every entry I had played) added lots of aspects of other games I dislike didn't put enough effort into the balance ended up with something I didn't enjoy at all. The problems it has for me will only annoy me even more if I play it again. I would rather play the GBA or DS ones I haven't.



Obito_Sigma said:

I don't think that it would be a good move for Nintendo. I often hear (I'm a High Schooler) from friends who also own a 3DS but only have very few games (about 3 - 5) because they don't have that kind of money. I don't think that they should go extreme with the discounts, but try to make it so that they would have to lower down some budgets in mind. Keep at mind that this one company is in the hands of their own products. They rely on their IPs in order for their devices to sell, and although something such as Download Exclusive software and DLC may be a good idea to promote them more, the main IPs don't need much attention.



JaxonH said:


Me. I value physical copies over digital. For one, there is no resale value in digital, for two, digital download codes don't look as snazzy on my shelf as a retail game case.



JaxonH said:

Eh, as much as I love saving money, I love pre ordering games even more. There's something to be said for getting a game day one, when all the hype is surrounding it and the fanbase is chattering about it. Not to mention I HATE waiting for a game I want to play. The wait til release day is long enough- I don't want to wait ANOTHER 6-12 months just to save $20-30.

Yeah, I blow thousands on games by only pre ordering, but do I love it! Besides, if your'e thrifty you can get pre order bonuses AND discounts, like how I pre ordered Wii Fit U Balance Board Bundle for only $65, or how I got the Fire Emblem Awakening Artbook through Gamestop.



Gamer83 said:

It seems like Amazon runs flash deals quite a bit and whether it's music, movies, games, etc, I always miss them and many people I know do as well. These deals can be good but I much prefer something like Sony has going on with it's 14 for '14 deal right now. A well planned, one week sale that many can partake in. Flash sales work for Steam but there's certain advantages to Steam that Sony, Nintendo and MS just don't have.



Tritonus said:

I combine digital and physical disc sales in order to get the best prices.. So far it's worked out pretty well. For example, Batman Arkham Origins and Deus Ex are half price or even less on amazon compared to the eShop price, but other titles like the Ubisoft titles are waaay cheaper on eShop...

Best of both worlds imo!



Zodiak13 said:

@Rafie My general rule of thumb is that I will buy a system when there are 5 games for it that I REALLY want. Nintendo console (not handhelds) are different because the new systems always release on my Birthday Nov 18th, so have always bought them day 1. I waited on the 3DS almost a year. I still don't have 5 games for the PS3 but at $89 I had to go for it. Back when I was into dudebro games (roughly 2 years) when the 360 released it took only 3 months after launch for me to get it.



Doma said:

@Senario Awakening's balance was screwed from the get-go, just for the fact its map was free-roam and allows you to purchase/grind whenever. Other balance destroyers include: Dual-up, the ability to train random offspring, second seal.... all this crap shouldn’t exist in a FE game.



DualWielding said:

I think what happened is that Nintendo UK had a brilliant idea to increase sales then Iwata found out and shut them down because he is onto screwing his own company



SCAR said:

Ya, and sometimes charging very little money means you're losing money. It's possible for them to make profit, but it's far less of a chance, than if people will buy the game full price. This is obvious, but my point is that they need to find a better way to justify their set price, besides selling it for almost nothing.

Millions of people can buy a game that's on sale, but the developers probably still aren't making money.

It's exactly what happened to the PS3. When PS3 dropped to $300, people went out and bought it, but Sony lost money on that. They may have sold around 77 million consoles, but they only made enough money to justify probably 40 million of those consoles. That's not counting software, but selling enough software to compensate a huge loss on hardware sales is pretty unlikely.

Never the less, it's all about if the consumers are happy, at the expense of the company or not. If money doesn't matter, then Sony is doing a fantastic job.

Moving forward, I wish the for best.



QuickSilver88 said:

I am not sure flash sales are that viablle for Nintendo, but what does need to be looked at is making older digital titles competitive versus used at retail. Buy 2 get one sales, lower prices in general on older titles and maybe a more sassy rewards club (then say DDP which no ones seems to use) would all be helpful.



Windy said:

@Spoony_Tech I totally agree with you. Taking care of family and trying to keep up with our hobby is a tough balance. Myself even though a flash sale occurs I still want a physical copy of any retail games which are released. I did get sucked in and bought Project X during the holidays the price was too good to pass on. I think an occasional Flash sale would be awesome especially on the non-retail games, like they did for holidays. That holiday sale was just greatness on Nintendo's part. Would love too see that about 4 times a year.



Senario said:

@Doma Maybe in your opinion but I don't think that it detracted from being a good fire emblem game. And I am a long time fan of the series. Honestly if you want difficulty go up the difficulty. The new mechanics were necessary to revive the franchise as both radiant dawn and shadow dragon were not exactly great imo.



FineLerv said:

This industry has become a race to the bottom. I think everyone needs to take note of the the comment from Two Tribes developer @Reuf regarding Steam - "people only seem to buy games when they're heavily discounted (70+ %) and at that point as a developer you hardly make a dime."

The Video Game market is quickly becoming a case of consumers wanting AAA games at bargain-bin prices. It's an egocentric desire that can only have negative repercussions in the long term, especially considering the always increasing costs of game development.



element187 said:

@ACK I disagree. I bought the White 8gb model for $300 and added a 2tb external drive for $60. So for the same price most paid for their 32gb Wii U, I have a 2,000gb Wii U.

I love to throw this into the face of people who say things (not you) like "people would be dumb to buy the white one, 8gb is a total ripoff"

Ninty was smart to keep the costs as low as possible so the consumer can CHOOSE if they want more space, instead of forcing people to buy a more expensive system that has more space than they care for..... People were complaining about the $350 price tag, it would have been over $400 with a paltry 500 gb drive.... I would be angry right now if I bought an expensive console with only a 500gb hard drive as I would fill that up relatively quick, so I would have to upgrade anyways..... Frankly I think Sony and Microsoft "screwed the pooch" by forcing their customers to pay extra for a HD you will have to upgrade within 2 years anyways (less if you have a lot of mandatory game installs)

Being a consumer, I prefer choice and freedom, instead of being locked into paying for something I don't want. But that's just me.



element187 said:

@FineLerv but nobody is forcing devs to have bargain sales.... Nintendo does fantastic with holding strong... If I was an executive at Nintendo I would be adamant in not dropping prices for at least 4 years. What you are doing Is training consumers to wait for price drops. You are only reeling in people who cannot wait for the price drop.

Now with PC games it's a bit different, there isn't any licensing fees devs have to shell out to the platform holder, for the most part there isn't any packaging and shipping going on anymore, as it's all digital for the most part, if it's a multiplatform title, the marketing is almost non-existent as it can piggy back off of the console versions marketing... PC devs can come down in price much quicker and still turn a larger profit per unit than the console counter parts.



element187 said:

@Zodiak13 pretty much the same as me. I'm not the least bit impressed by the exclusives on the ps3, but I bought one for the bluray playing capabilities,which that part got the biggest workout for sure. After most if the generation went by, I still haven't purchased one game for it, no PS+. Just renting from gamefly.

Its just the quality in output of their alternative games is quite lackluster, you can tell they don't budget very much to titles that are not shooting/ultra violent/dudebro... Games like ratchet and clank and LBP, and the kart racers feel more like indie titles, i certainly wouldn't call them AAA...... If Sony doesn't care enough to out some money behind things that are not dudebro, then I shouldn't put my money in them either..... Gamefly has been great to me when it comes playstation software. All my third party games I get on PC to avoid Sony's 30fps ghetto.

Nintendo software on the other hand, they actually care deeply about their franchises, dump A LOT of cash into all of their AAA titles. They hold titles back if they are not 100% ready or the gameplay isn't quite there yet. Their love for their franchises shows in the meticulous care and polish that goes into every title. There is no other platform holder like that



Zodiak13 said:

@element187 Due to losing my wife for 3 years before I got her back because of online gaming addiction, my computer is a $300 Black Friday special to ensure I can't play online PC games. Although all the new systems have online, I have yet to try the online multiplayer aspects of any of them for obvious reasons. Fortunately for me most 3rd party games don't appeal to me so I'm not missing out on too many games that may be better served on a great gaming PC.



LoveSugoi said:

I'd rather they just have a couple of well executed big sales a year on those non-evergreen titles and do more permanent discounts on titles that flop. Also offer more BOGO deals for 3DS titles releasing close together to entice those who would have only gotten one and not the other. Deeply discounted flash sales is something I'd personally want for VC titles. Something like the 30 cent deals happening more frequently would be sick and I wouldn't feel too bad if I missed them since... well, they're old and less than $10 anyway.



gregrout said:

This is depressing. I have to say I'm jealous that Nintendo UK has it's act in gear, looks like Nintendo UK is a lot more fun and a lot more lively. Nintendo in North America is just utterly pathetic in every way possible. We're basically an after thought while you get pre-order Zelda bling, a deluxe collector's edition of bravely default, flash sales, a link to the past... soooo jealous.... Any chance Nintendo might shutdown their North American offices and have Nintendo UK take over? Please?



HaNks said:

@gregrout this was an accidental pricing error, so no, nobody has their act in gear. title of the article is perhaps a little misleading.



ECMIM said:

@TruenoGT 100% this. If Nintendo wants to keep actually making substantial money, Steam-style races to the bottom are abject poison.

This can work on PC because 3rd parties* treat the PC like gravy and don't expect even 5% of their overall, dollar-value, sales to come from there. But for Nintendo? Who only does WiiU and 3DS games? That's literal suicide this early on.

*3rd parties that invest millions into each game, like Nintendo, not 3rd parties that do not.



andreoni79 said:

You can call it a "flash sale", but it was clearly a mistake. Nintendo should simply sell first party games at budget price one year after their release. Here in Europe we can hardly find one of those "nintendo select" 1st party games for less than $ 30 and they are at least 5 years old...



skywake said:

Well when you see what happens at retail it makes a lot of sense to push discounts. Games here launch at $70AU or so and within 6 months or so a lot of them drop to $30AU new and as little as $10AU used. So if the eShop isn't flexible then people are just going to buy the used copies and the devs get nothing.




Nintendo is the Disney of video games. Disney very rarely reduce the price of their DVDs and Blu-rays. They often only produce them in limited time runs. They very occasionally run BOGOF offers or discounts. This keep the value of the product at a high price which is vital for their business. This is even more true for a company like Nintendo because all they do is make video games. They need to keep their brand quality and value high in order to sustain their business.

If in three months you knew a game would be reduced in price by £10-20 why would you bother buying it at full price? Sure, some who want it NOW would but the vast majority would wait. While this has an affect on chart presence it also affects the value of said product and the brand overall.

Game that have underperformed have often seen vast reductions in price, such as Metroid Other M. Nintendo seem to like repackaging products that are five years old (or older) and selling them at a discount. I don't understand this approach. I do think they should run flash sales for games of an age for a brief period but not keep the prices low all the time.



Doma said:

"races to the bottom".."abject poison".."literal suicide"...

How do you expect to be taken seriously with this garbage? lol



Hyawatta said:

I'm still waiting for Nintendo Land and Wii Party U to become available for purchase on the US eShop.



TonLoco said:

I'd like to see sales on eshop cards from nintendo's own site or on amazon. Best buy ran a 20% off all eshop cards around the holidays but I unfortunately missed the sale. I would enjoy being able to choose what amount and what game to save some money on. I think it's a nice strategy to push digital sales on both consoles.



Luigi21 said:

I would have loved this! I might have to browse the eShop more often in hopes that this happens again. I would have downloaded most of those titles.



Anguspuss said:

Well today I bought Trine 2 DC. Theres no way Id have bought it at £15 as I was in two minds over it. But at £5 ive nothing to lose getting it. So the developer got £5 it wouldnt have got before.

PS Looks great & enjoyed it but the bloody controls are annoying. Not sure if its one of those games that upset my evil left handed ways. But do end up doing everything except what I want to do.



uximal said:

Can't believe I missed a chance to grab those games for those prices, I was too busy playing Monster Hunter and Fire Emblem... I think I should frequent the eShop



Kolzig said:

Really hoping that the discounts kick in to full gear on Nintendo platforms also.

That is one great aspect that Steam brought in with it's sales.

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...