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WiiU

Here's Why Nintendo Doesn't Release Games In The Summer

by Neal Ronaghan - July 1, 2015, 6:07 am PDT
Total comments: 21

Over the past several years, Nintendo of America hasn't released many games in the summer. We finally got an answer about it.

Over the past few years, you might have noticed that Nintendo of America avoids releasing games in the summer. As a matter of fact, they've only released one retail game in the month of July since 2007, and that was a bundled version of all of the Wii Sports Club games. When we interviewed Charlie Scibetta, Nintendo's Senior Director of Corporate Communications, he let us know why that is.

"We do the bulk of our business in the holiday season, probably about 60% in October, November, and December," Scibetta said.

That's why the video game industry in general backloads the whole year, but it seems that Nintendo of America feels the disparity more than other regions. He also cited school graduations as another key time for game launches, which likely explains Nintendo's recent trend of releasing major games in late May/early June.

Scibetta summed it up thusly: "You want to launch games when people are in the mood to buy." And even if it makes some of us die-hards unhappy, people aren't in the mood to buy Nintendo games in America during July and August.

Talkback

AdrockJuly 01, 2015

Makes sense though it'd be nice it Nintendo released some smaller eshop games during that time just to fill the void. Maybe some people can be talked into buying a $5 to $10 game if spending $40+ doesn't work for them.

broodwarsJuly 01, 2015

Something tells me the reason Nintendo does the bulk of their business in those last 3 months + May is because that's the only time they release games. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Tweede946July 01, 2015

Does Dr. Mario: Miracule Cure count?

Smash_Dojo_Bro_23July 01, 2015

Thanks for the article Neal. Please note, Mario Strikers: Charged was released for Wii on July 30th, 2007 as well.

This is a good reason! But the summer months are perfect for niche releases and initiatives like VC and Nindies.

JimmyWolfJuly 01, 2015

I am confused by this reasoning though. A game like Xenoblade would be perfect for release over the summer. Summer vacation? A ton of time for people in school to play games? Anyone?

StratosJuly 01, 2015

Quote from: JimmyWolf

I am confused by this reasoning though. A game like Xenoblade would be perfect for release over the summer. Summer vacation? A ton of time for people in school to play games? Anyone?

I am guessing vacations take a toll on this which is why "Summer" titles release in May/June. A lot of people here take off for days, weeks, even months in the Summer. Get the sale in before they take off.

Quote from: broodwars

Something tells me the reason Nintendo does the bulk of their business in those last 3 months + May is because that's the only time they release games. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Probably true, but I think it's fair to suggest there's seasonailty in sales of video games as well generally.  Is it that unrealistic to think there may be expected higher sales in periods which there's a good "excuse" for family/friends/relatives to buy games for others?

No big holidays that people purchase gifts for others in the summer (Happy 4th of July, here's that copy of Splatoon you've been wanting!).  I'm also guessing Nintendo has data to support that generally Summer is where games go to die due to vacations, organized competitive sports, summer jobs, etc.

macverdeJuly 01, 2015

I don't think this is a smart move..... at least for, "b-tier" games.

Ex: fantasy life (and crappy sales on october 2014), and fire emblem awakening (good sales on february 2013).



"Small games need their spotlight".

There is other reasons like:

Only looking for 2015 Schedule.

Money: if i am pretending to buy, Star Fox Zero, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Yoshi's Wooly World, Zelda Triforce Heroes. I can't afford thinking about buying games like Mario Tennis Ultra Smash and Chibi-Robo Zip Lash.

Time: Even if i am a rich person, buying all those games. I will probably skip Xenoblade Chronicles X (on december, because i will still playing other games. and doesn't make sense buying a Giant JRPG when you have other games to play)

WiiU and 3DS isn't a blue ocean case.
The main audience for both systems are "hardcore players". And they play games, all the time. A game like mario tennis ultra smash, maybe have a chance for these nintendo fans who doesn't have games to play on june and july. Despite that games looks a bad port for the 3ds version. Mario tennis is still fun.



 

EnnerJuly 01, 2015

To be fair, the summer 2015 release slate looks sparse all around. Also, it wasn't too long ago that we would never see big releases in the spring months.


Still, not having much in the summer months is a bummer.

broodwarsJuly 01, 2015

Quote from: lolmonade

Quote from: broodwars

Something tells me the reason Nintendo does the bulk of their business in those last 3 months + May is because that's the only time they release games. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Probably true, but I think it's fair to suggest there's seasonailty in sales of video games as well generally.  Is it that unrealistic to think there may be expected higher sales in periods which there's a good "excuse" for family/friends/relatives to buy games for others?

My issue with this excuse is that we've HAD successful games that released in the Summer (June->August) period before. I don't doubt that sales, in general, are lower than the pre and post-summer periods, but that didn't stop games like Bioshock; Infamous 2; Transformers: War for Cybertron & Fall of Cybertron; The Last of Us; Tales of Xillia 1 & 2; Splinter Cell: Blacklist; The Last Story; Persona 4 Arena; etc. from being at least reasonably successful. Hell, several of those were incredibly successful (Bioshock, The Last Story, & The Last of Us).

This especially comes off as a bit weak when one of the biggest games of the year just released last week in Batman: Arkham Knight. There's an audience in the Summer that a smart company can cater to with the right marketing & effort, so naturally Nintendo's avoiding it.

Ian SaneJuly 01, 2015

So Nintendo's logic is to just sell games in November and December like literally every other videogame company in the world?  Is no one smart enough to realize that if they space things out differently than everyone else their games face less competition?  NOA is all "this is how we do business" but are things working peachy as is?  In the wake of the Wii U's failure you figure they would be open to changing a lot of stuff.  If they're so goddamn smart why are things going so poorly?

Though personally I don't play games much in the summer so if they were basing things on my habits this would actually make sense.  Living in the Pacific Northwest I get enough crappy weather in the fall and winter that I feel odd "wasting" nice summer weather inside playing games.  But I also don't have typical buying patterns where if a game comes out in a time that doesn't really fit my schedule I still will buy it later when it does.  I wouldn't turn down a great game just because it came out in the summer.

Mop it upJuly 01, 2015

I'm fine with it, because summer is a good time to catch up on previous releases. Most people can't (or don't want to) buy every game that comes out right when they do. There are plenty of 3DS and Wii U games I haven't bought yet; in fact, I've got only one game that was released in 2015.

broodwarsJuly 01, 2015

It's also worth noting that Splatoon, a game that's for all intents & purposes a "Summer" game (it only released a few days short of June), has been a pretty massive success for Nintendo.

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: lolmonade

Quote from: broodwars

Something tells me the reason Nintendo does the bulk of their business in those last 3 months + May is because that's the only time they release games. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Probably true, but I think it's fair to suggest there's seasonailty in sales of video games as well generally.  Is it that unrealistic to think there may be expected higher sales in periods which there's a good "excuse" for family/friends/relatives to buy games for others?

My issue with this excuse is that we've HAD successful games that released in the Summer (June->August) period before. I don't doubt that sales, in general, are lower than the pre and post-summer periods, but that didn't stop games like Bioshock; Infamous 2; Transformers: War for Cybertron & Fall of Cybertron; The Last of Us; Tales of Xillia 1 & 2; Splinter Cell: Blacklist; The Last Story; Persona 4 Arena; etc. from being at least reasonably successful. Hell, several of those were incredibly successful (Bioshock, The Last Story, & The Last of Us).

This especially comes off as a bit weak when one of the biggest games of the year just released last week in Batman: Arkham Knight. There's an audience in the Summer that a smart company can cater to with the right marketing & effort, so naturally Nintendo's avoiding it.

In no way am I assuming I'm a foremost expert on this, I just deal with a lot of product with seasonality, so I could understand the business case.  That said, could part of this also be that Nintendo anticipates a good portion of their customer base being in a younger age bracket that wouldn't necessarily align with the age bracket of the games listed above?

Quote from: broodwars

It's also worth noting that Splatoon, a game that's for all intents & purposes a "Summer" game (it only released a few days short of June), has been a pretty massive success for Nintendo.

And I'm happy they released that this summer, a very pleasant surprise of a game to me.

peacefulwarJuly 01, 2015

This whole fucking country is just retarded.  The entire economy is based on Christmas.

Mop it upJuly 01, 2015

Summer began on June 21st, so Splatoon released almost a month before summer. Definitely counts as a spring game.

ShyGuyJuly 01, 2015

I too use the summer to purchase previous releases and sometimes catch up on my backlog.

ThePermJuly 01, 2015

Summertime is also movie season. I don't really feel movie season competes with games for me, but they can have that opinion if that's a factor.

NinfernoJuly 02, 2015

I totally get the point of releasing all their family-friendly games during the holiday season; I just find it outright stupid for them to not release anything in the summer.  Most of their 2nd-tier to niche games are perfectly fine to be released in the summer, pushing these titles to the holiday season isn’t going to do them any good, in fact, I think that is actually doing them a disservice as they got massacred by all the other mulch-million sellers then. :(

nickmitchJuly 02, 2015

Summer gives me the most time to play videogames with my work schedule.  I usually end up backlogging instead of picking up new titles.

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