Nintendo Expects Increase In Digital Sales, Although They Won’t Take Over Completely

Nintendo Switch

Back in Nintendo’s earlier days, there was a genuine amount of excitement when it came to picking up one of their games in physical format. But lately, times have changed; and now game players are just as excited to get a release in digital format as they are on a cartridge.

During a recent Q & A session at its financial results briefing, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima explained that the company expects digital sales to continue increasing for Switch and 3DS games. However, they won’t take over completely.

Kimishima said that “the percentage of digital sales will rise steadily in the years ahead,” then clarified that statement by noting that “the percentage of digital sales has already risen above 50 percent on some titles released by publishers outside Japan.”

But he feels that physical sales will still play a part in Nintendo’s success, since there are “many consumers who purchase only packaged software.”

Here’s Kimishima’s full statement:

“I expect the percentage of digital sales will rise steadily in the years ahead. Consumers have grown accustomed to getting digital content, which is a trend that is clearly visible in the way consumers in North America and Europe purchase titles, and especially in the sales performance of titles from other publishers. Even so, there are also many consumers who purchase only packaged software, so I do not see digital content taking over all of sales. The sales ratio also differs for every software title, depending on factors like content and the age and type of consumers making the purchase, so I cannot predict how high the percentage of digital sales will rise for Nintendo. That being said, the percentage of digital sales has already risen above 50% on some titles released by publishers outside Japan, so I definitely think the percentage will rise for us.

As for the contribution to stable revenues, no contribution will be made if the percentage of digital sales increases but total unit sales of software declines. It is more important to create interesting titles that consumers want to buy.”

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Nintendo will continue to offer AAA games in both physical and digital form, but don’t be surprised if you see more digital-only releases down the road.

The Nintendo Switch is available now.