Nintendo’s digital market has been steadily growing over the last few years. There’s also been exceptional growth within the last year after the launch of the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo President Kimishima has acknowledged this growth and believes that things will continue to improve, but he also has an interesting thought that kind of goes against the popular opinion of the future of digital gaming: he doesn’t think it will take over anytime soon.
Kimishima shared his thoughts on the matter during the Q&A session of the recent March Financial Briefing. Here’s what he had to say:
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.
Digital gaming is very convenient, but there are some cons to it when compared to physical gaming. When digital games are delisted from online storefronts, there’s no other way to legally obtain them if there isn’t a physical option available. The biggest hurdle for some is that there are many parts of the world, even in developed nations, where Internet speeds are simply not good. This makes downloading games a very slow and frustrating process. Until these cons are minimized, then perhaps Kimishima’s thought of digital and physical gaming continuing to coexist for the foreseeable future will likely end up being the case.