80% of sales: Nintendo too strong, or “three gravemachine” Switch platform fiasco?

When it comes to Nintendo, it’s believed that even people who don’t play games must have heard of it. As a magical company, Nintendo usually leaves two impressions: the invincible law “always wins”, and the first party to lead the console game industry. With decades of hard work at Nintendo, a well-known national IP is gradually being established in the minds of players.

Recently, Japan’s senior gaming industry figure Ono Shi published an opinion article, “Ono’s history of the game review.” The article lists only two original IP works, Fitness Ring Adventures and Alien Chains, for Nintendo’s own million-selling productions in 2020, and criticizes Nintendo’s remaining productions as eating old books.

Nintendo Switch, on the other hand, accounts for as much as 82.8 percent of Nintendo’s game sales, which are Nintendo’s own IP, and the result is that other vendors can’t get in the way, and switch, a console platform, is more of a “stage” for Nintendo’s own entertainment than an open console game store.

In fact, criticism like Ono’s has long been the antithesis of everything, but on Switch, “Nintendo 8, Others 2” seems too powerful to complement Nintendo’ power, but also to make the Switch open game ecosystem a nominal decoration.

So why is this happening? GameLook wants to ask: Why is Nintendo undefeated on its own game? Today we will discuss one or two.

Stand up to Switch’s day-to-day Nintendo, a powerful first-party game

According to the console game sales data shown on VGChartz, the top 10 games sold on the Switch platform were dominated by Nintendo. More outrageously, Nintendo’s “slaughter list” continued until it was until the 19th place, when Ubisoft’s “Mario and Crazy Rabbit: Battle of the Kingdom” ended.

Ironically, even with challengers like Ubisoft on the list, its Mario and Crazy Rabbit still borrows Nintendo’s IP, which shows Nintendo’s reign of terror on its own platform. Of the top 50 games sold on the Switch platform, according to VGchartz, 32 came from Nintendo, accounting for 64%.

In contrast, Sony’s PS4 platform sales chart appears to be much more “harmonious”.

In the PS4 platform, sales ranking TOP10 games by five different game manufacturers, on behalf of the first party of Sony Interactive Entertainment in TOP10 only 4 games, the ranking is more showing the factory “you catch up with me” situation. On the whole, PS4’s best-selling list gives people a “flower-in-full” feeling, reflecting the balanced development of PS4 gaming platform ecology.

Switch’s contrast with ps4’s bestseller list has led to criticism and praise.

Critics say the Switch platform is too rigid, Nintendo is dominant and does not fit into the “diversified market”, while the PS4 is the “normal” host market. If from a developer’s point of view, this is not unreasonable. But can this set of rhetoric stand when the criteria for judging the players turn to the player? GameLook doesn’t think it’s necessarily.

From the player’s point of view, the choice of a game has its subjective factors, such as IP, personal game experience, game preferences and habits, but from the host platform point of view, more is to meet the needs of players on different types of games.

Nintendo has always taken self-developed games seriously, compared with Microsoft and Sony’s acquisition of Studios as its first party. And Nintendo’s first-party self-study game category rich, in the host “Royal Three” can be said to be no one out of the right.

The powerful self-study capability allows Nintendo to adopt a “wide-ranging” strategy for different groups of players.

In the Nintendo camp, RPG types include “Legend of Zelda”, racing has “Mario Racing”, adventure game “Mario Odyssey”, simulation management category has “AnimalS”, collection and development has “Bao Ke Dream”, shooting game has “Jet Warrior”, fighting game has “Nintendo Star Fight”, sand box play “Super Mario Manufacturing” … Mainstream game types that players can find in Nintendo First-Party games.

In addition, Nintendo also has “World Game” such a collection of N multi-classic chess, table games, poker game of the casual set of games, Nintendo’s own first-party game on the layout of the category is too exaggerated.

Consoles and games are like fish and water, consoles are the platform on which games survive, and games are the key to keeping consoles alive. Nintendo’s expansion of the classic IP is the best expression of this phrase. In Nintendo’s thinking, this not only expands the value of IP itself and demonstrates its plasticity, but also minimizes the loss of the switch platform due to the lack of some type of head product.

NS players may not like some of Nintendo’s games, but Nintendo’s attitude is to ensure that there will be a Nintendo game in this category for players to buy, this is Nintendo to give their own platform insurance. Such thinking and strategy is why Nintendo is so important to support the Switch platform alone.

“Three gravemachine” situation, whose pot?

“Three gravemachines” refers to the graves of third-party game makers. The title of “Three Gravemachines” as a stalker between players, more reflects the player’s symbolic overview of the long-term performance of the NS platform. Because many facts have been repeatedly verified, third-party game makers as long as the Nintendo consoles such as WII, NDS on the sale of the game will be very poor sales.

Of course this sentence can not be said so absolute, such as SE’s “Eight-way Traveler”, solo “Empty Knight” in Switch also achieved very good results, but such a game is really rare.

The “three gravemachines” phenomenon naturally has its complexity, and we refocus our eyes on the big tree itself in Nintendo to see why.

As we all know, in the three major console manufacturers, Nintendo’s NS is the only portable host device, widely praised by players, but God opened a window for you, must close a door for you, NS hardware performance is also the weakest of the three factories.

This results in many smooth-running 3A games on the PS4 and Xbox, which require a complex set of optimizations when ported to NS, sometimes even after optimization.

Such a hard-working thing, most game developers are not willing to do, especially those with the screen to win the 3A game manufacturers. So NS naturally excludes some other platforms from high-quality 3D games in terms of device performance. At the same time, this basically announces a lot of “insulation” with NS.

Some small and medium-sized developers see the space to survive from the Difficulties of the Nintendo Platform, and the lack of a large-scale NS platform has become a gathering place for many solo developers, but this has created a problem: a large number of quality 2D games, indie games flocked to Nintendo Switch eShop.

Nintendo is developing these games, such as the annual for some of the indie games landing on the Switch console to do a special presentation, after all, many games to join not only expand the platform, but also players have more additional options.

But the looseness in terms of content has also left Nintendo saddled with the nickname “4399 console market”, with games flooding the EShop store, but it must also be said that the PS4 and Xbox are the same, but Nintendo is more obvious.

In contrast to the disparity in quality, Nintendo’s self-developed games are clearly more attractive to players than those of small and medium-sized manufacturers, and that’s another important reason for Nintendo’s “slaughter list.”

The game is not in the fine not much, the boutique strategy to win

Last month, GameLook reported Nintendo’s 2020 annual revenue report.

Nintendo Switch sold 55.77 million consoles by the end of March 2020, according to the proud report card. Switch consoles sold 21.03 million consoles in the past year, up 24% year-on-year, with Switch 14.83 million and Switch Lite 6.19 million units. Full-year software sales were 168 million units, up 42.3 percent from a year earlier.

The above data can be estimated that each Switch player buys about 3-4 games per year on Nintendo, which actually reflects the spending habits of the Switch player community, but also reflects the more cautious console players buy games. This is excusable, because the host game’s high trial cost, decided that the host player can not like mobile game players can try a large number of games.

Nintendo knows the way to sell console games, so “boutique win” has always been its main strategy.

Compared with the more than a dozen of nintendo’s first-party, exclusive games a year, Nintendo’s original game products are only a poor one or two a year. Nintendo’s original work, though few, is high-quality and playful, as “Legends of Zelda: The Wilderness” has been hailed as another milestone in the history of video games. This speed of output is highly matched to the player’s spending habits, making it a regular habit for most NS players to buy Nintendo’s “Do of the Year” every year.

In addition, the continued high investment in marketing ads is another important reason why Nintendo game sales have been maintained. Nintendo’s marketing advertising shipping last year was 76 billion yen, while research and development costs were 84.1 billion yen, up 20.9 percent from a year earlier, according to the company’ results.

This year is no exception, withmedia reporting that Nintendo still dominated advertising exposure between April 16, 2020 and May 15, 2020, despite a 26.67 percent drop in advertising exposure in the North American gaming industry compared with the previous month. Nintendo’s “Mario Racing 8” in North America has 150 million monthly exposures, topping the list.

Compared to other console games ads, Nintendo’s ads are mostly based on decades of classic IP series, making it easier for players to give them a “sell-out” psychological cues, so they are naturally more attractive than indie games that are “new faces”.


Third-party sand in Switch, resulting in many developers do not understand Nintendo and NS platform, “three grave machine” and other names followed. Contrary to this incomprehension, NS players love Nintendo deeply. But there’s no denying that both developers and players love Switch and respect Nintendo.

For third-party game makers, many simply blame the “three gravemachines” on “platform sin” and “the original sin”, which GameLook does not think is appropriate. Developers have only seen Nintendo’s performance shortboards bind their hands and feet, while ignoring its many genres of boutique games, strategies that match any player’s spending habits, and huge advertising investment, all of which are key to Nintendo’s dominance of the NS platform.

What do gaming companies do to become famous on the Swich platform? In fact, the route has always been very clear, do Nintendo does not do the game category, that position has been.