The reason is that third party games on PS4 offer more choice to customers compared to on the Switch.
Nintendo games just sell an incredible amount. On the Switch, they are already breaking all sorts of records, so we are more aware of this fact than ever- but even on consoles like the Wii U, for example, games like Mario Kart 8 sold over 8 million copies.
The end result is that Nintendo games end up achieving immense attach rates with their consoles- over half of all Wii U owners owned Mario Kart Wii, as an example, while a third of all Gamecube owners owned Super Smash Bros. Melee.
That is something that Sony’s own exclusives for their consoles will never achieve, according to Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. Speaking to GamingBolt in an exclusive interview, Pachter pointed out that there is simply more vying for a player’s attention on the PS4 compared to on the Switch- with every major third party game also out on PS4 (but not Switch), a user has the choice to, for example, get Red Dead over God of War (while there is no Red Dead stopping a user from buying Smash).
“I think one of the things that Nintendo has going for its first party titles is that they don’t have as many third party games,” Pachter said. “So if you can’t play Call of Duty, Battlefield, or GTA on a Switch, you know, you are a bit more limited in your choice of great games. So of course you buy the Nintendo first party titles. That’s different for a PS4 owner, they have a choice of every game made except a Nintendo game on their console, and so God of War has to compete against everything else, So it’s harder for those to stand out as much, it’s a perverse logic, where Nintendo’s lack of third party support ends up being a strength for its first party.
“But, you know, this is Nintendo’s model, Nintendo, launching the Switch in 2017, coming after the launches of the PS4 and Xbox One in 2013, did not have any pretensions that everyone will throw away their old PS4 for their console. I think they want the Switch as a second console for most people, so you get your Call of Duty fix on Xbox or PS4, and you get your Nintendo fix on Switch. So it’s not a straight comparison, because Nintendo first party titles don’t sell like the norm… like Zelda probably has an 80% or higher attach rate. It’s going to be the odd person with a Switch who won’t buy Zelda. There’s no way any Sony game will compare.”
Pachter also pointed out that Nintendo games simply have broader appeal- owing to their family friendly nature, more people will pick them up than something like God of War. “Unlike God of War, and The Last of Us and Uncharted, which are all very much story driven games. Nintendo games are much broader appealing, because they are friendly,” he said. “Butt stomping a mushroom won’t offend anyone. And I personally think Zelda is really hard, and I can’t even imagine how difficult an eight year old might find it… where Mario Odyssey has super broad appeal.”
I think there is some truth to Pachter’s statements here, of course, but the fact of the matter is, Nintendo games sell well because they are great games. In fact, if people are willing to buy consoles just to play Nintendo games, then that right there should be proof of their appeal and quality, right?