Why Nintendo Games Almost Never Go on Sale

if you've ever owned a Nintendo console

you've probably noticed something about their games.

Brand new games and three-year-old classics

both retail for the same price.

Meanwhile, you can buy most other games a couple

months after they release at a 20 30 or

even 40 dollar discount.

So what makes Nintendo different?

Part of the answer lies in their hardware.

The Switch and the 3ds both use solid-state cartridges

instead of discs.

These cost more than the blu-ray discs used by the

PlayStation 4 and Xbox one.

Sometimes a lot more.

An 8 gigabyte Switch cartridge cost a publisher as much as a

50 gigabyte blu-ray disc.

And a 32 gigabyte cartridge costs 60% more than a blu-ray disc.

So if a developer's game is more than 8 gigabytes

they actually earn less selling the game on Switch

See the problem?

Why take the risk?

It's a simple business transaction dear boy ...

Now you might be thinking

"I download all my Switch games, who cares how much the cartridges cost?"

unfortunately retailers do.

they won't stock a game if the publisher is just

selling it online at a discount.

This isn't an issue limited to Nintendo either.

All publishers have to play by these rules if they want to sell their games in physical stores.

But that didn't stop stop an online uproar over the so called

"switch tax", where certain games cost 10 dollars

more on switch than on other platforms.

Of course, formats don't explain the bigger issue of why

Nintendo's first party games seemingly never drop in price.

But there's a very good reason for that:

They know you'll pay.

Let me put it another way.

Do you want to play Assassin's Creed 2?

Cool, it's on 6 different platforms...

Do you want to play an Assassin's Creed style open-world game?

Awesome, here are 20.

But if you want to play a Mario or Zelda game

there's only one way

a Nintendo device

Yes, Sony and Microsoft also produce

exclusive games with millions of fans

but they simply don't have Nintendo's

decades of consistency.

From the arcade era, to the first home consoles,

to the advent and perfection of 3d graphics

Nintendo has persevered

where other companies have faltered.

Nintendo games have a lineage that distinguishes what

they do from everything else

and it leads to the type of brand loyalty that

their competitors would kill for.

You can also see this in the Switch's attachment rate,

which is the percent of console

owners who also bought a specific game

by January 2018 more than half of switch

owners have bought the latest Mario Kart

Zelda or Mario game.

This is probably the biggest reason they can keep their prices high

Literally, because they can.

"I guess it's time to pay up."

But their is another reason Nintendo doesn't like to

discount their own games and it has to

do with the quality of their products

the Nintendo logo is practically a

guarantee that this is a good game

setting aside the fact that metacritic

may be an imperfect measure of game quality,

it's notable that in 2017

Nintendo's average score on the review

aggregator is one of the highest in the industry.

Nintendo's quality standards are what

When's the last time you could remember Nintendo releasing a buggy unfinished game?

directly to the business philosophy of a

This speaks late president and CEO of Nintendo

Satoru Iwata.

In an era of cheap low-quality mobile games,

he pushed high value games at Nintendo

quality experiences the developers take

time to polish, thus providing value to the customer.

And justifying that consistent MSRP.

But that intangible sense of Nintendo quality can't be sustained

if its games are also in the bargain bin.

this is psychology as much as it is marketing.

Price is not always but often a signal of quality.

Which is one reason many people won't buy generic painkillers.

Even though it's literally the same stuff as the name-brand.

There's actually another major media company

that operates in a similar way.


Just like Nintendo, Disney's brand is something people are willing to pay for.

but don't take it from me.

This is Rob Enderle, a veteran analyst with over 20 years in the technology industry.

Disney movies don't really get cheaper, it's the it's the one movie kids buy.

over and over again they'll paid the same price,

Disney will repremote it and

drive it through the drive it through the channel.

Nintendo's much more like that.

Disney like Nintendo knows how to

exploit its own storied history.

"Don't miss your chance to own these magical Disney videos before they disappear"

Back when video cassettes were all the rage

Disney didn't make all their old movies consistently available.

they'd keep them in the

"Disney Vault, get them before they're gone"

and rerelease them every 10 years

By limiting supply Disney was able to create demand amongst their customers.

Allowing them to sell their movies at full price

over and over and over again.

In fact, Disney's have been doing

that online now, by moving away from the Netflix and Amazon Prime's and

starting to bring out their own service

just like Nintendo they want to control

the platform, not just the content

and that's not even all the Nintendo and Disney have in common.

they're also after the same demographic.

tends to be a younger more G audience than the other ones.

The games are relatively safe, fairly low violence

or violence is cartoony if they've got it

Nintendo and Disney both design their products to be fun for all ages,

but they also know who's actually buying them

the parents

I think that they kind of feel Nintendo's safe.

where a lot of the game tiles from either Sony or Microsoft you know you don't have

that same familiarity

and don't feel quite as safe.

Just like Disney, you kind of be buy a Disney movie

you don't figure you're gonna walk in and find you know

woman's body parts all over the screen

to just you it's gonna

it's gonna be safe because it's got Disney on it.

Not to mention the culture of nostalgia these two companies have

cultivated over their lifetimes.

Now a days, many new parents have their own fond

memories of growing up with a Nintendo console.

They may not have played the latest Zelda game,

but they probably grew up with one.

They trust that Nintendo's games are good.

because they've experienced that quality for themselves.

So if Nintendo doesn't lower its prices because of its more expensive formats,

or because it might hurt their quality based brand identity,

or, well, because they can

then what hope to you the thrifty gamer have?

Well, there's honestly not much but,

here are a few tips to saving money on Nintendo games.

Use your Nintendo points.

You earn these every time you buy a new Nintendo game.

They're not worth much and they expire pretty quickly

but hey it's free money.

If you buy physical copies of your games and rarely return to them,

you might want to consider selling them

since Nintendo's prices rarely drop

their trade in values rarely do either

so even if it's a couple years old it

should still be worth around 20 dollars

beyond that there's not much else you

can do besides keep an eagle eye out for

coupons and discounts at major retailers

or you could stop playing Nintendo games

yeah we feel the same way

thanks for watching if you like this video be sure

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can learn more about Nintendo like in

this bite-sized look at the company's

surprisingly risque history

or in this video about why Nintendo made Luigi into

a punching bag