Nintendo seems to be focusing its attention on one aspect of its business that is significantly weaker than the others—digital sales. In the early years of the eShop, digital sales accounted for less than 5% of sales in the Americas. Since then, many efforts have been put in to improve the lackluster performance of the digital market. As CEO Satoru Iwata revealed at the financial briefing on Tuesday, these efforts have done wonders for the system. Digital sales are at an all-time high and are still growing.
A few weeks ago, we reported that
Nintendo’s digital sales have risen to 11% of their total software sales. While second quarter digital sales were down slightly from the previous fiscal year, the third quarter has more than made up for the difference. When taking into account the last three quarters versus the same period in fiscal year 2014, digital sales have risen 17%, bringing this year’s sales to ¥21.1 billion. In fact, Q3 of the current fiscal year represents the greatest single quarter of sales since fiscal year 2013. The third quarter also almost doubled the amount of sales for the entire first half of the year. With results like these, it seems as though Nintendo will easily surpass last year’s numbers.
Nintendo’s audience for digital downloads has also shifted from last year. In the first three quarters of 2014, roughly 45% of downloads came from Japan, while 35% were from the Americas. However, in the same period in 2015, the Americas make up about half of all downloads, while Japan shrank to almost 30%. European downloads also slightly increased from last year. In part, this is likely due to the release of hit digital titles such as Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball which released early in fiscal year 2014 for Japan, possibly leading to elevated quantities of downloads for that segment. Likewise, the game did not come out until almost the end of the same fiscal year for North America, so any significant impact from the game would most likely be recorded in this year’s numbers.
Finally, Nintendo looked closer at first party sales within the Americas. From 2008 until 2011, downloads of first-party titles remained fairly constant at around 2-3% of total software sales. Since 2012, however, the percentage has risen dramatically increased. The change was strongest between 2013 and 2014, almost doubling in the span of just one year. Currently, digital sales of first-party games are sitting at around 13%, the highest they’ve ever been.
From introducing a unified account system for the eShop in 2013 to allowing users to pre-load games, Nintendo is doing what it can to better capture a growing market. These numbers seem to indicate that their efforts are paying off. Nintendo’s digital economy has never been better, and at the rate it’s going, it will continue to remain strong.