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Nintendo on the rise of digital sales, looking to increase the appeal of Switch Online

Posted on May 15, 2020 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News, Switch

Nintendo’s digital sales continue to be on the rise. President Shuntaro Furukawa was asked about the increase last week during a financial results conference call, providing further insight. Furukawa said new Switch owners may have previously turned to digital versions of games, and more recently, the popularity of Animal Crossing: New Horizons was a big factor. 

As for Nintendo Switch Online, “memberships are increasing steadily with the expanding hardware install base beyond 15 million accounts”. Pokemon Sword and Shield as well as Animal Crossing: New Horizons contributed to the expansion. Furukawa also spoke generally about the service, stating: “By adding elements that make games even more fun to play and by increasing the appeal of the service itself, we hope to continuously grow this into a service that makes Nintendo Switch even more enjoyable and convenient for consumers to play.”

Here’s the full exchange regarding digital sales and Nintendo Switch Online:

The digital business grew significantly in the fourth quarter, but could you provide a quantitative discussion of, for example, Nintendo Switch Online paid membership numbers and ongoing initiatives for Nintendo Accounts?

The ratio of digital sales in the fourth quarter was relatively high in the fiscal year ended March 2019 as well. We assume this was likely due to many cases in which consumers, who purchased hardware during the holiday season, chose easily accessible digital version of software when purchasing their second and third software titles. In the fiscal year that just ended, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is well-suited to being played as a digital version, which we consider was a factor in the relatively high ratio for digital sales in the fourth quarter.

Regarding the number of paid memberships for Nintendo Switch Online, we do not plan to disclose a specific number this time, but memberships are increasing steadily with the expanding hardware install base beyond 15 million accounts, the number we have already announced at the Corporate Management Policy Briefing in January 2020. The number of paid memberships has particularly grown since the release of titles that support online play, like Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. By adding elements that make games even more fun to play and by increasing the appeal of the service itself, we hope to continuously grow this into a service that makes Nintendo Switch even more enjoyable and convenient for consumers to play. Regarding Nintendo Accounts, we consider them to be an important way to build lasting relationships with consumers. With the distribution of games like Mario Kart Tour, the number of consumers with Nintendo Account surpassed 100 million, and this number has continued to rise greatly since then. We will continue our efforts to build trust with consumers so that they will want to keep their relationships with Nintendo over the long term.

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