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If you've ever owned a Nintendo console you've probably noticed something about their games.
Brand new releases 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 eight-gigabyte Switch cartridge cost a publisher as much as a 50 gigabyte blu-ray disc.
And a 32 gigabyte cartridge costs 60 percent more than a blu-ray disc.
So, if a developer's game is more than eight 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 cartridge costs?"
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 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: It's because they know you'll pay.
Let me put it another way.
Do you want to play Assassin's Creed 2?
Cool—it's on six 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 there 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 set them apart.
When's the last time you could remember Nintendo releasing a buggy unfinished game?
This speaks directly to the business philosophy of a 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. -["We make platforms designed to demonstrate the high value of high quality video game software.]
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 pay the same price.
Disney will repromote 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 Primes 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 that 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 the 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 titles from either Sony or Microsoft you know you don't have that same familiarity and you don't feel quite as safe.
Just like Disney, you kind of buy a Disney movie, and you don't figure you're gonna walk in and find, you know, woman's body parts all over the screen, it's just you...
It's gonna be... 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.
Nowadays, many new parents have their own fun 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 to subscribe to our channel where you can learn more about Nintendo.
Like in this bite-sized look at the company's surprisingly risqué history.
Or in this video about why Nintendo made Luigi into a punching bag.
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Why Nintendo Games Almost Never Go on Sale

1516 Folder Collection
Mackenzie published on April 30, 2020    Mackenzie translated    adam reviewed
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