Nintendo finally overcomes its traditional digital Achilles’ heel.
Historically, Nintendo has not been strong in building up an ecosystem of digital purchases. However, on the Switch, with them finally implementing a proper user facing account system, and a slew of fantastic game releases that leverage the system’s form factor well, it seems like they have finally managed to induce their users into spending money on their digital storefront.
Specifically, speaking at a GDC panel today, Nintendo confirmed that sales for third party games on the eShop overtook sales for third party games via retail channels for the very first time in the US- which seems to have to do with not only the Switch’s more robust digital infrastructure, but also the fact that a lot of the system’s notable releases are digital only, or that digital purchases make more sense on a portable device, or that the Switch, which has an older audience than the otherwise traditionally younger skewing Nintendo, induces more impulse spending on the eShop, especially with their regular discounts.
Whatever the reason is, Nintendo is doubtless pleased with this development- since digital revenues have less cuts than retail ones have, and generally lead to ecosystem lock-ins for users.