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Nintendo February Sales Data

by Daniel Bloodworth - March 16, 2004, 6:52 pm PST
Total comments: 35 Source: Nintendo

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is the top game of the month, and Nintendo reveals that the North American warehouse is out of GameCubes.

DID YOU KNOW? - NINTENDO CONTINUES TO DRIVE INDUSTRY GROWTH

March 16, 2004

What's driving the video game industry? Three words: games, games and games!

And who's driving the growth in the games market? Nintendo!

According to the independent sales data just released by the NPD Group, in February:

* Two new exclusive Nintendo titles captured the No. 1 and No. 3 spots on the best-seller list. Final Fantasy®: Crystal Chronicles™, made exclusively for Nintendo GameCube™, was the month's top-selling game, followed closely in the No. 3 spot by Metroid®: Zero Mission, exclusively for Game Boy® Advance (the No. 2 title, Electronic Arts' NFL Street, is also available on Nintendo GameCube).

* The top platform for game growth is Nintendo GameCube, with total game sales up 46 percent over the same period last year.

* When games for Game Boy Advance are included, Nintendo added two software market share points from the competitors from January.

* On the hardware side, U.S. lifetime sales for Nintendo GameCube have now surpassed 7 million systems, while Game Boy Advance has flown past the 20 million unit mark.

* Nintendo is also working overtime to meet the overwhelming demand for its highly sought Nintendo GameCube. By February, nearly half of all U.S. retail locations were out of stock…and Nintendo's North American warehouse was empty. Since cutting the suggested retail price of Nintendo GameCube to $99.99 in September 2003, unit sales between October and February are up over 50 percent from the same period a year ago.

Talkback

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusMarch 16, 2004

There's a lot of positive spin there, but not being able to get a GameCube really isn't a good thing.

mouse_clickerMarch 16, 2004

I hope Crystal Chronicles continues to sell well- I was worried it would sell horribly with the bad impression people will get from the multiplayer requirements and as a result Square wouldn't make anymore Gamecube games.

nickmitchMarch 16, 2004

face-icon-small-music.gif oooh things just keep getting better!!! face-icon-small-music.gif

DjunknownMarch 16, 2004

Well, it seems Square has no real excuse to crank out one more console title. Gotta give it up to Game Designer's Studio for a good all-around game. One could say this experiment worked.

Now if they could just ramp up production of 'Cubes....

mouse_clickerMarch 16, 2004

Quote

One could say this experiment worked.


My thoughts exactly- I get the impression that what really motivated Square to develop and release such a title with odd requirements was the fact that Nintendo was basically paying for the entire thing, so even if the game flopped it wouldn't affect them. You see what happens when a developer can truly experiment and try new ideas, not being bound by whether or not it will actually sell? This is the direction the industry needs to move in.

Rob91883March 16, 2004

FF :CC was creative, but I'm more of a single player, so most of the potential was killed on me . Yet I enjoyed this title more than past Final Fantasy games because it's actually somewhat different. I just wish that Games Designer's Studio makes a game concentrating on Single player, or at least co op with less Requirements. ( If that ever happens)

EBX in Century City mall, Los Angeles is stocked with at least 8 GameCubes

I thought I'd point out that "Game Designer's Studio" is a company on paper alone. Square-Enix developed this game--GDS is how Square snuck around its loose agreement with Sony when FFCC was originally announced. I don't know if GDS is still needed for future projects now that Square and Enix are one.

Ian SaneMarch 16, 2004

When good exclusive third party games sell well it's always good news. Let's hope this gets us another Square Enix game. Hopefully a single player game this time without the Final Fantasy name shoehorned in.

BlackNMild2k1March 16, 2004

*crosses fingers* Here's hoping for a Secret of Mana game, good w/ 1, 2, or 3 people and who's stopping them from adding a 4th?

never played Sword of Mana<?> the playstation sequel, and it doesn't make sense to have a 3 to 4 player game on a console that only has 2 controller ports (no one owns a multi-tap).

mouse_clickerMarch 16, 2004

Black: Have you played Crystal Chronicles? It's basically a 3D Secret of Mana- in fact, I wouldn't doubt the idea originally developed as a Secret of Mana game. It wouldn't be the first time they slapped the Final Fantasy name on it.

I have to think that any positive PR Nintendo gets from GameCube being "sold out" must be outweighed by the people who are going to the store to buy the system and can't get one. This situation seems mostly due to poor production capabilities, not overwhelming demand.

Sir CampbellMarch 16, 2004

Well, good to see that both of these games got their just credit. For all those out there worried about retail outlets being completely sold out, it seems just about all Memphis TN area outlets have at least few Gamecubes per store.

joshnickersonMarch 16, 2004

My local Wally World just restocked with Gamecubes... platinums, no less.

mouse_clickerMarch 17, 2004

Quote

This situation seems mostly due to poor production capabilities, not overwhelming demand.


No offense, Johnny, but I'll take Nintendo's word over yours. At least PR spin is based on actual fact.

In any case, shortages aren't always a bad thing- look at what it did for the PS2 at launch.

KDR_11kMarch 17, 2004

The PS2 had no real competition, though.

couchmonkeyMarch 17, 2004

Anybody know what the actual sales were? To me the real question is whether or not GameCube managed to compete with Xbox and PS2, not how out of stock the GameCube is.

jasonditzMarch 17, 2004

I think you guys might be overstating the "Gamecube shortage" as a problem for Nintendo. If nearly half of retail outlets are sold out that means more than half of retail outlets still had them left. Being required to "hunt around a little" to find one might be a good thing from the PR perspective.

ruby_onixMarch 17, 2004

From the NPD thread in the GameCube forum.

- December -
PS2: 1,940,000
GCN: 1,160,000
XBox: 1,080,000
GBA-SP: 2,260,000
(note: Microsoft claimed that they outsold Nintendo by a whopping 500k units in the last two weeks of the month, which was our first indicator that Nintendo was having problems with selling out)

- January 2004 -
PS2: 338,000
Xbox: 192,000
GCN: 131,000
GBA: 299,000

- February 2004 -
PS2: 363,000
Xbox: 204,000
GCN: 137,000
GBA: 353,000
(at which point Nintendo mentioned the problem)


Edit: and in case you were wondering, the "score" so far in America is sitting at...

Cumulative Installed Base
PS2: 22,958,000
Xbox: 8,187,000
GCN: 7,133,000
GBA: 20,601,000

...with an average game ownership-per-console rate of...

PS2: 8.10
Xbox: 6.58
GCN: 6.09
GBA: 3.42

If Nintendo actually had the hardware to meet demand for all this time, they would be closing in on Microsoft's entire "million unit" American lead like it was nothing. But they're still tripping over their own feet. And May (E3) is rapidly approaching. And Wal-Mart is supposedly printing signs, getting ready for an XBox price drop.

mouse_clickerMarch 17, 2004

A $30 price drop, certainly nothing huge- I'm surprised Microsoft is doing it at all. It doesn't put the Gamecube's $100 price in jeopardy.

Also, I would hardly say Nintendo is "tripping over their feet"- last I checked, having TOO many people buying your console wasn't exactly your fault.

Ian SaneMarch 17, 2004

"In any case, shortages aren't always a bad thing- look at what it did for the PS2 at launch."

That was a totally different situation. There was a HUGE demand for PS2s. I don't think Cube demand has ever been what I would consider "huge". That sounds harsh but it's true.

BlkPaladinMarch 17, 2004

Just a little tid bit about the Mana game being slaped with a Final Fantasy title. That's not really true. The orginal game that spawned the Mana series of games was Final Fantasy Adventure for the Gameboy. It was latter redone as Sword of Mana.

mouse_clickerMarch 17, 2004

Quote

I don't think Cube demand has ever been what I would consider "huge".


Obviously it wasn't lackluster if half of Nintendo's retail outlets sold out of them.

Isn't it ironic, though? Nintendo gets slammed for not selling enough units then get slammed when they sell too many.

Quote

The orginal game that spawned the Mana series of games was Final Fantasy Adventure for the Gameboy.


Are you sure? I could have sworn Final Fantasy Adventure was in fact a Secret of Mana game that got a name change when it was released in America.

MarioMarch 17, 2004

Quote

Isn't it ironic, though? Nintendo gets slammed for not selling enough units then get slammed when they sell too many.

Last place is too many? They're still not selling enough, and having no GCN's to sell contributes to that.

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusMarch 17, 2004

Quote

Originally posted by: mouse_clicker
Are you sure? I could have sworn Final Fantasy Adventure was in fact a Secret of Mana game that got a name change when it was released in America.



Seiken Densetsu also had the Final Fantasy Gaiden title stuck in there as well, so even in Japan it was considered an offshoot of Final Fantasy, which is why there are crossover things like Moogles and Chocobos.

mouse_clickerMarch 18, 2004

You completely missed the entire point of my comment, Mario- the point is, there are shortages of Gamecubes because there is such huge demand (before the shortage the Gamecube almost outsold the PS2). I don't see how Nintendo can be blamed for not expecting Gamecubes to sell so well- in retrospect we can see that demand was huge, but at the time Nintendo did the best thing they could have done. I think people are just constantly looking for reasons to fault Nintendo and this is one of those cases. Yes, it's a problem, but I think it's a much better problem than low Gamecube sales due to NO demand.

couchmonkeyMarch 18, 2004

But whether or not the demand for GameCube is actually "huge" is impossible to tell, since Nintendo isn't producing enough units! Considering that you can still buy them for $70 on Ebay, I'd say that the demand is nowhere near the insane level the PS2 achieved when it was launched.

I only have one more thing to add: who here has actually noticed a shortage of GameCubes where they live? There was a shortage here in January, but every retailer I've visited in my city in the past several weeks has had an ample supply of Cubes.

vuduMarch 18, 2004

yeah, that's a fair comparison ... the gamecube 2.5 years after launch compared with the ps2 2.5 weeks after launch.

mouse_clickerMarch 18, 2004

Quote

But whether or not the demand for GameCube is actually "huge" is impossible to tell, since Nintendo isn't producing enough units!


Perhaps you missed something, but the simple fact that half of Nintendo's retailers are sold out of Gamecube shows that there's huge demand.

MarioMarch 18, 2004

*sigh*

No it doesn't. Prove to me that there are hundreds of thousands of people who want GCNs but can't buy them. More people are buying Xbox's and PS2s, and whether or not that's because they can't, or don't want to buy a GCN, is not easily determined, and you can't assume that everyone wants a GCN and can't get one. I don't believe the demand for GCN is huge, or ever has been.

mouse_clickerMarch 18, 2004

So the Gamecube sold out at 50% of the places carrying it because people didn't want to buy it?

Look, I'm not saying demand for the Gamecube right now is bigger than the PS2's, or anywhere near it. And I'm certainly not saying the shortage itself is a good thing. What I AM saying is the reason for the shortage is good because it shows that so many people want a Gamecube that many places don't have any left.

Nintendork SPMarch 18, 2004

It could also be an intentional attempt by Nintendo, that is sort of like the Firarri technique. More than likely Nintendo still doesn't have any bills on the GC like when it started. Well then Nintendo can just intensionally limit the units to insure money, rather than over providing and outweighing sales. This is a sit back everything is fine technique realistically. But of course you could be right. Also this technique gives the idea that it is the popular system so they can throw out articles like that, and when people at the stores say "well GC stalk is low, so it is selling great" to potential customers, ect.

Simply put, they didn't start production back up soon enough.

Early last year they stopped GC production because they were building up too much inventory, too much stuff taking up space, too much stock they couldn't move at the time. But with this price-drop, holiday season, etc., it seems that Nintendo may not have started up production soon enough to meet demand.

Sure, the GC is obviously selling now. But let's not forget that One GC customer with a GC now is better than Two when that supposed "high-demand-must-buy-GC-now-or-I-will-die" MIGHT (read: won't) happen.

So in essence...Nintendo should've started production sooner and anticipated this.

Carmine M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

mouse_clickerMarch 18, 2004

Actually, I believe Nintendo started back up production before they dropped the price- the problem is they didn't produce enough Gamecubes to meet demand. The price drop was designed primarily to clear out full warehouses, too- I doubt anyone could have foreseen the price drop working this well. Like I said, in retrospect, yes, we can see that Nintendo should have produced more Gamecubes, but at the time that wasn't the best decision. It's like when you fold a hand in poker that started off bad but would have ended up winning- don't feel bad that you made the best decision at the time. You can't fault Nintendo for doing just that.

Yeah, don't feel bad. But the next time a situation comes around, don't deny that it could've turned out better too.

Carmine M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

mouse_clickerMarch 18, 2004

It could have turned out better, yes, but only in retrospect. I don't think Nintendo will be quite as conservative with their estimates if this happens again.

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