People buy Nintendo systems for Nintendo games. While that might seem rather obvious, that simple fact has caused Nintendo a fair bit of trouble over the years, as it has given other publishers an excuse not to bring their latest and greatest games to Nintendo systems. After all, who wants to compete with Mario? Some publishers have been up for the challenge, however. Matt Piscatella of the NPD Group was asked for the top third party sellers on each of Nintendo's systems, and the results are a bit surprising, to say the least!
Twitter user @meyerpi0 asked for the best-selling third party game on each Nintendo platform.
N64 - WCW/NWO Revenge
NGC - Sonic Adventure 2
Wii - Guitar Hero World Tour
Wii U - LEGO Dimensions
Switch - Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
(Didn't expect these tbh)— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) November 25, 2019
What's most interesting about Piscatella's list is how it points towards then-current trends in the video game industry. Wrestling games were a staple of the Nintendo 64 era, while the novelty of Sonic the Hedgehog appearing on a Nintendo console likely helped spur sales of Sonic Adventure 2: Battle on GameCube. Guitar Hero World Tour released at the height of the plastic instrument craze while LEGO Dimensions arrived at the tail-end of the toys-to-life fad. Finally, Ubisoft's Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle had the benefit of strong reviews and Nintendo's mustachioed mascot in the main role, despite the fact that the genre was quite a bit different than Mario fans were used to seeing.
In a follow-up tweet, Piscatella points out that these numbers are based off dollars, not units sold. While that doesn't make any sort of difference for WCW/NWO Revenge, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle or Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, it does greatly inflate the numbers for Guitar Hero World Tour and LEGO Dimensions. Both games retailed for a significant amount more than the average Wii/Wii U game, with World Tour in particular getting a boost thanks to the bundled guitars, drums and microphone.
While third party games have historically sold worse on Nintendo consoles, that has not been the case in the Switch era. Nintendo has made several moves to secure more releases from third party publishers, with some multi-console Switch releases out-performing their PS4 and Xbox One counterparts. When this console cycle comes to a close, it will be quite interesting to see if Mario + Rabbids ends up retaining its top spot, or if perhaps an indie game like Untitled Goose Game will take home the title. Only time will tell!
What's your favorite third party game on Switch? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!