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Two Reasons Why Nintendo Games Seldom Drop in Price

Why is it that Nintendo is never seen offering discounts on its games when other platform holders do so on a regular basis?

When it comes to buying new games for a platform, chances are that you have probably been advised by someone close to wait until the next seasonal or annual sale. Even if it involves a highly anticipated release, there are still going to be many holding back their spending urge until the retail price has shed a few bucks.

Steam is probably the one digital marketplace that has popularized games at incredible bargains as long as you are willing to wait it out. The digital marketplaces for other consoles, including first-party sources and retail shops, have also followed through the same route. The fact is that every new release, regardless of platform, is expected to drop in price within the first year or less.

However, such is not the case with Nintendo. Anyone who has ever owned any recent Nintendo console will personally know that games under the Nintendo umbrella are immune to sales and discounts.

Just take a look at Horizon Zero Dawn for the PlayStation 4 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Switch, two critically acclaimed titles that left everyone in awe. They both released around the same time last year but six months after, Horizon Zero Dawn was already being sold for $50 and even $40 at particular outlets. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, however, retained its full retail price even then.

This is mostly the same with every other game released by Nintendo. So what is the reason behind this somewhat disdain for slashed prices? It turns out that there are actually two and none of them have anything to do with underhanded schemes. It is just how Nintendo operates.

Brand Exclusivity

It is important to note that Nintendo acts as both developer and publisher for its own platform. This essentially means that every game released by the Japanese conglomerate is automatically a first-party and exclusive offering, albeit the company has shown a bit of interesting in porting outsiders this year.

Since these games are never going to hit other platforms, Nintendo must ensure that it alone is able to achieve targeted sales. Hence, there is little interest in supplementing large volumes at discounts. This also means that Nintendo gets to keep complete control over what lands on its turf, making it easier for its products to retain their original value for extensive periods.

In contrast, rivals — Sony and Microsoft — allow their games to be sold at every store and marketplace, digitally and physically. This does mean that they must pay a cut to the middleman for each sale, which only makes it more important to offer discounts to rake in large sales as early as possible. The exclusive position of Nintendo, however, allows it to keep all the revenue and forego the middleman problem entirely.

Brand Loyalty

In many ways, Nintendo is a separate ecosystem in the gaming industry. It is often that people talk about consoles in general but move the conversation on an individual basis when it comes to Nintendo. This has to do with a loyal following for what only Nintendo can deliver.

Consider a situation where you want to play a good platformer. Now there are several to choose from across the PlayStation and Xbox families, as well as the PC. Limbo, Hollow Knight, Inside, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Cuphead are just a few to name. However, eyes will immediately begin to sparkle when placed upon Donkey Kong. Even though it also another platformer, the Nintendo flavor makes it ‘the’ platformer to play.

In another scenario, there is the iconic Mario franchise. Super Mario Odyssey slightly changed formulas last year to delve into an open world setting for exploration elements. There are obviously other franchises available right now that are renowned for their open worlds such as The Elder Scrolls and Grand Theft Auto. However, Super Mario Odyssey, in this case, renews the same genre in the eyes of fans.

In other words, anyone wanting to play an open world game can choose from hundreds if not thousands. Anyone wanting to play an open world Mario game or the new Zelda installment must look toward Nintendo. This power is something that Nintendo is fully aware of and the company continues to bank its classic franchises because they will always remain ever green.

There is no need for Nintendo to slash prices when it alone offers what its customers madly desire. The day Nintendo falls into mediocrity is the day when players start to compare its games with those on other platforms. Until then, Nintendo fully knows that you will always buy its games even if they hold the same price tag for months. There is simply no alternative to what Nintendo offers.


What are your views on the matter? Do you believe that it is time for Nintendo to accept sales and discounts? Let us know in the comments below.