Nintendo's digital business is positively blooming, with the company recording a 71.8% increase in year-on-year sales in today's fiscal year earnings report.
From April 2019 to March 2020, Nintendo's digital sales reached 204.1 billion yen (at the time of writing, this converts to roughly $1.92 billion / £1.55 billion). Interestingly, the majority of that income has been generated from downloadable versions of physical games.
Nintendo cites "the strong sales of downloadable versions of packaged software for Nintendo Switch, the steady growth in sales of download-only software and add-on content, and the contribution from Nintendo Switch Online throughout the year" as reasons for the success.
The company's mobile business also saw a slight boost this year, with titles like Mario Kart Tour helping Nintendo's mobile income to reach 51.2 billion yen (an 11.5% increase year-on-year).
Do you tend to buy your Nintendo games digitally, or do you still prefer to go physical whenever you can? Let us know with a comment below.
Ahhhhhhhhhhh what? Where are all the posts about the death of physical media???
Everytime I hear digital is doing better, I get more nervous. Especially in this case where most of the money is from buying digital versions of retail games. I am genuinely interested to see the divide between physical and digital at this point.
I'm an old fogey. Physical all the way. I like the idea of owning something. I can (and do) occasionally sell or lend games. I will concede having all the games instantly accessible without switching carts would be nice. You also don't have to worry about loss or theft since the games are tied to your account. I definitely see why people enjoy the ease of use for digital but I can't get over the fact that I don't have something tangible.
They did not “earn” 2 billion dollars in digital sales. The figure is the net sales and NOT PROFIT.
I’ve mostly embraced digital, but sometimes will go physical for a good CE
You only have to look at the digital best-sellers, almost all of them are titles available physically too, and sometimes even cheaper that way, and if digital sales keep increasing like that physical games will disappear sooner rather than later.
Their trick worked: distribution costs drastically diminished, but that doesn't reflect on the price, yet people fall for it... Of course they're making a profit. Why bother releasing physical games in the next generation?
Of course people has a choice... Or not. Many times a physical version is announced well after the digital one has been around for a while and when people doesn't know they'll eventually have the chance to buy retail versions it's only natural to buy digital (and curse a lot when physical gets released too late).
I generally prefer physical but I don't mind digital. Perhaps it's sad to say but the value of physical is going down because rarely if ever now are games released, 100% finished, with all the content, on the cartridge these days.
It's not like in the past where you bought the game on a nice cartridge or disk and you had the entire game right there, forever.
Love seeing Nintendo doing well
Digital is the best, it's good for the environment. Save the world Nintendo, we can do it. Nintendo is gonna take over the world.
I'd like to see the change in net profit from retail games sales as well along with this.
I can see both sides of the digital/physical thing and I’d say my library reflects that.
I buy digitally for games I know I’ll be regularly returning to like Animal Crossing and Splatoon 2 or indie titles. But physical for games I’ll either have big gaps between playing or games I’m unsure about and may want to trade in.
Personally I like the setup we have now, I wouldn’t want to move to an all digital future but it’s cool as an option. If we do though, Nintendo needs a lot more onboard storage from launch.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are now arriving in Nintendo's complacency. We hope you enjoy your stay, and look forward to seeing you again as they struggle to sell the Switch U in a few years. (light-hearted joke, although I'm concerned why we're not seeing the benefits of their 1st-party studios supporting one platform instead of two, and where are the games that should have been near-finished and ready for release post-Animal Crossing).
If i am not sure i will like a game i buy physical cause can resell
I think digital sales are only going to get bigger from this point.As already pointed out a lot of games these days require day one patches or are not entirely on the cartridge. The only downside is the the amount of onboard storage. Let’s hope the Switch successor has a lot more on board storage.
@mesome713 "Digital is the best, it's good for the environment. Save the world Nintendo, we can do it."
Is it really? I'd really like to see some proper figures comparing the carbon footprint (or however you want to measure it) of a one-off physical release of, say, 1 million units, against the on-going costs of hosting the digital game in power hungry data centres. Would be an interesting comparison.
It's a shame that these days physical releases are no more than a "pass" to download the game, what with their constant patches and DLC. Would be nice to get cartridges with the finished game on them. Oh well...
I still go the physical route when possible. The only exceptions are if the digital version is significantly cheaper than its physical counterpart or if the game (most Nindies in my case) will never be offered in physical format.
Probably because many people bought the digital version of Animal Crossing
Not surprising,so many great digital games
I like both. Alot of times I just can't get to a store for a physical game and Amazon can take a few days. Digital is convenient. However, I do like physical copies.
My Switch is 100% digital, and I have a loooot of Switch games. I guess there’s a lot of people just like me with digital sales figures like that.
@Yas It's super cheap, just look at Steam, they offer it for free. Yet physical is a waste for Steam. It's just junk, it's physical trash made of oil. It's scum of the earth.
The bulk of these numbers though comes from massively reduced pricing and the games being only available as digital. The only reason I bit on the X legacy collection digitally rather than physically was even if I bought physically I wouldn’t get both only one as the second half is digital either way which is just ridiculous.
Prefer physical games because you actually own them and can resell but will occasionally go digital based on price and the convenience of not having to put in a cartridge.
As someone who has been all digital for at least the past 6 years let me say that it has been wonderful. And I have yet to lose a digital purchase. Even when titles are removed they are still available to redownload. The only exception is when an entire shop is taken down (something so far only Nintendo has been doing). Also with this day and age a lot of games are not even on the disc or cart completely. You are essentially buying some of the game with the rest to be downloaded. So the argument of having the game in hand forever are bad as you may need an update for it to run properly or for any DLC it may have had. We live in strange times and digital is the only way to truly own the whole of some games. It will still take time to be all digital but it seems to be coming faster than I thought it would.
Oh sadness... physical games are definitely going to get pushed out in the future. 😩
Digital games is pure evil. We already lose a physical manuals. What next? I never buy a digital games on my consoles. Games deserved to be in physical world.
That's insane. RIP physical media. Great to see nintendo doing so well though.
This success only encourages them to keep their idiotic refund policies intact. As far as they're concerned, people will still buy no matter what.
Physical for me. For games that only release digitally I even wait about a year in case a physical version appears. Considering how much I like taking out and playing my old games that are long gone from store shelves (real or digital), I see no alternative. As usual other factors play a part too, such as being able to lend games to friends, having a second hand value, not taking up so much storage space, etc.
I’m all digital, except for 1 cart (which Im going to buy digital eventually). I travel a lot for work and have 84 games (just counted). Carrying this many with me, or even a single extra game is a major inconvenience. I missed letting people borrow games a couple times, but most of the people ended up buying it anyways so in the end it didn’t really matter for me. I see this more as a hinderance for kids passing games around in groups at school (this is what my classmates did in GB/GBC/GBA era) more than anything.
@tekknik Not sure a single extra game is a major inconvenience when you can keep it plugged into the cart slot permanently! LOL. Take your point with 84 games though.
@Yas the cart slot is already taken by the one physical game I don’t have digital (Zelda). I could definitely fit more if I get a larger luggage set but Im already at the limit for carryons. Currently I have to carry about a week of business type clothes, 2-3 laptops (2 of which are 15”), toiletries, etc. Granted this was all pre-COVID lol
Physical all the way for me. I like having the collection there infront of me to see. And digital scares me cause if something is removed well it's gone. But that's just me.
@graysoncharles yeah, let's chop more trees! It's big and that things scare me.
Plastic is everywhere already. It's not bad if we just use some more for good things.
This fear of digital games is stupid, sometimes it's impossible to find a physical version of the game you so want or it's available at a ridiculous price. Sometimes sales are just too good to ignore, especially when you're on a tight budget or don't feel like paying full price, maybe you don't care enough to buy a physical copy or the download size is very small and won't eat up too much space on the sd card. There are a million reasons to get digital games and it's ultimately another OPTION, discs and carts won't go away anytime soon.
This goddamn argument again...
WHY ON EARTH WOULD NINTENDO DO GAMES FOR PC OR OTHER CONSOLES?! THAT'S JUST STUPID.
You want Nintendo games? GET A FREAKING NINTENDO CONSOLE!
Don't come saying that you like their games but want them some other place. If Nintendo consoles are so beneath you because you don't dare to get "inferior" hardware..then you don't like Nintendo games.
Their software works because they have their own hardware. If they become third party they will become as generic as bland as sega, EA, Activision and countless other Souless third parties.
Mobile is a different issue because they are not making full games for them. And even so, their are doing much better with their consoles and games than on mobile.
But no, they keep spouting the same nonsense of wanting Nintendo games on other consoles.
Get a Nintendo console if you want them or GTFO
@RPGamer If that's the end of gaming for you, then you were never a real gamer in the first place.
@RPGamer Because all you care about is the format the game comes on, not the actual game itself.
And I don't care for streaming either, but you said "when physical gaming stops happening..." implying you wouldn't even play games digitally, either. Consoles are going to be digital-only in 7+ years time, so you might as well quit the hobby now.
@RPGamer Well I'm probably twice your age, with a fulltime job and a family, and still make time to game. And I'll always be a gamer, regardless of the media it comes on.
Hell, most of the Nintendo YouTubers you probably watch are largely in their 30's, and started out on NES and are still gaming to this day. No offense, but you sound like you're kinda parroting these 30+ year olds and their rhetoric about physical media, rather than embracing the digital generation of gaming you're actually from.
And ironically, as you get older and start a family, you do start to appreciate digital more, for the convenience factors.
For AAA games, I buy physical - if only for the resale value.
I have a £20-25 limit for digital.
Physical in almost every instance available! Unless it’s a game I ALWAYS want with me (or is great, but unavailable physically, of course), I try to add to the collection I rarely get to show anyone (who gives half a dump, at least). And honestly, I embrace an all-digital future: it will make my GameCube-and-on Nintendo collection all the more impressive and valuable (the latter, debatable).
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