Nintendo's Financial Results Briefing is out, and in it company president Satoru Iwata outlines why its Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon franchises are enjoying such robust commercial success.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS has performed better than expected on 3DS, and anticipation for the Wii U entry is sky-high. Meanwhile, pre-orders for Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire are strong — despite some worry that fans wouldn't embrace a remake over a totally new game.
Iwata has coined the wacky phrase "Same-Generation Hypothesis" to explain this situation; he feels that the gamers who enjoyed the likes of Super Smash Bros. Melee and the original Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire a decade ago are now driving sales for these newer versions. Basically, if you played the games as a kid, you're coming back to enjoy them again as a adult.
Here's what Iwata had to say:
The “Super Smash Bros.” series had not been considered as a dominant title for which we could forecast huge initial sales until we released the second installment of the series, “Super Smash Bros. Melee” for Nintendo GameCube. It was released in November 2001 in Japan, in December 2001 in the U.S. and in May 2002 in Europe.
Afterwards, “Pokémon Ruby” and “Pokémon Sapphire” for GameBoy Advance were released in November 2002 in Japan, in March 2003 in the U.S. and in July 2003 in Europe. For reference, it took longer to localize games then and we could not realize a simultaneous release at that time.
As I indicated, these two titles were released at intervals of approximately one year, and there were many consumers of the same generation who enjoyed both.
Those who were elementary school students when “Super Smash Bros. Melee,” and “Pokémon Ruby” and “Pokémon Sapphire” were released have grown up and they are now 18 to 25 years old. Our research in each part of the world commonly indicates that consumers between the age of 18 and 25 represent a large percentage of those who purchased “Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS” in the release period. It is approximately 30 percent in Japan, which is twice the overall average of Nintendo 3DS software, and has even reached 50 percent in the U.S. and Europe. This great momentum for the game in the initial stage was supported by this generation.
Thanks to “Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS,” consumers of this generation pay more attention to Nintendo 3DS and are likely to remember enjoying “Pokémon Ruby” and “Pokémon Sapphire.” We think this is why the pre-orders for “Pokémon Omega Ruby” and “Pokémon Alpha Sapphire” have been strong. They are now old enough to pay for their own expenses. They can afford to buy Nintendo 3DS to enjoy both “Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS” and “Pokémon Omega Ruby” and “Pokémon Alpha Sapphire” if they choose, and they might encourage their friends to play it with them too. We therefore see it important to stimulate their latent demand in the year-end sales season.
Taking into account both the trend of pre-orders and the same-generation hypothesis, we anticipate that “Pokémon Omega Ruby” and “Pokémon Alpha Sapphire” to be released next month will have more sales potential than just another remade game in the industry.
Are you one of the many people who played the games back in 2001 and are coming back to support the newer versions today? Let us know with a comment.