In a newly translated Q&A with investors from the end of March, Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa has highlighted the success of Tetris 99 as a factor for increased Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions and hinted at further exclusives to help drive interest in the service.
Responding to investors' questions, Furukawa elaborated on membership trends and how Tetris 99's take on the battle royale genre has been a strong asset in keeping memberships to Nintendo's online service active. In order to continue expanding the service, he said 'we need to continue offering elements like this'. Here's the full question and his response:
Q: The number of accounts with Nintendo Switch Online memberships has reached 9.8 million, but are there people coming and going? For example, are people joining to play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or Splatoon 2 and then canceling their memberships, or joining to play Tetris 99? Or, have most of them continued to be members once they have joined? I would like more details about the growth in account numbers.
Furukawa: We recognize that the number of accounts that have subscribed to Nintendo Switch Online is increasing steadily corresponding to the pace that the hardware install base is growing. Naturally, not everyone remains a member, and there are cases where users joined during the holiday season and then canceled after three months. There are also new members who joined after Tetris 99 was released in February as an exclusive game for Nintendo Switch Online members, and others who have remained members because of Tetris 99. To expand Nintendo Switch Online even further, we need to continue offering elements like this, that highlight the distinct value of Nintendo Switch Online.
Elsewhere, Furukawa goes on to reiterate how successful the game has been for driving interest in the subscription service and he also notes how the monthly drop of NES games helps with member retention:
Tetris 99 has helped maintain Nintendo Switch engagement, as well as increase the number of new members joining Nintendo Switch Online. And when we add new titles to Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online, one of the services available to Nintendo Switch Online members, we see consumers returning to play on Nintendo Switch.
It would seem, then, that Tetris' successful entry into the battle royale genre signals more exclusive content coming to Nintendo Switch Online, in addition to the slowly expanding catalogue of NES games currently available. As a game which relies on a strong online hub of players in order to function, Tetris 99 has been a particularly good fit as an online-only offering and it'll be fascinating to see what the company does next to expand the horizons of the late-coming service.
What Nintendo franchises do you think might make suitable NSO-exclusive experiences? Are you happy that Tetris 99 is exclusive to the subscription service or would you prefer to pay a one-off fee to get the game forever? Let us know with a comment.