As many discuss why Nintendo had limited availability for Super Mario 3D All-Stars and others, one developer claims Nintendo know “rereleases of games tend to wither on wishlists.”
Today Nintendo removed Super Mario 3D All-Stars from the Nintendo eShop, along with physical copies from stores. The same also occurred with Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light, and Super Mario 35. The limited availability of a game in this manner was not something seen in the industry. So what motivated Nintendo to do it?
According to Vice, not only is it the end of the Fiscal Year for Nintendo and other video game companies, but to help improve their sales and profits. This is also why Vice claims “many video games that are delayed past the holidays conveniently arrive before the end of March.”
NPD Group video game analyst Mat Piscatella stated that over his 15 years in gaming he should “not get in the business of predicting what Nintendo will do.” He cited the Nintendo Labo, and the Nintendo Switch as signs of how Nintendo loves to do their own thing.
Piscatella was left equally as clueless as to Nintendo’s motives behind the limited availability, but did propose it could be Nintendo testing different ways to sell games.
“Limited time releases like Super Mario 3D All-Stars could be Nintendo testing different market approaches to selling and marketing its content in a quickly changing landscape. Or the strategy could be part of a content plan that will see these titles be available in other ways. I simply don’t know.”
This unpredictability was also echoed by Georgetown University economics professor Alan Bester. “Nintendo is quite simply a pathological case when it comes to these matters,” he explained to Vice. “They’re simply not typical of any other developer/publisher/console manufacturer in the industry.” Some tackled the question far more pragmatically.
“This strategy is sure to create urgency amongst Switch users to purchase content and avoid missing out on the experience,” explained Futuresource Consulting gaming analyst Morris Garrard, “fuelled also by the media attention the strategy is already garnering. Imposing these time restrictions is expected to aid these limited-edition games in cutting through the noise.”
Finally, an unnamed developer who had published several games on Nintendo Switch revealed the above may be the strongest reason; that re-releases do not sell well for Nintendo, despite being on wishlists.
“They have data that shows that rereleases of games tend to wither on wishlists. The manufactured FOMO [fear of missing out] helps them get those sales, or so they think.”
If true, this means Nintendo may be less keen to produce re-releases in the future, aside from under a limited time. It may also explain why several ports of much beloved Nintendo titles have not happened.
While Super Mario 35 was not a remake (though borrowing concepts from Tetris 99), it may be Nintendo also had little faith it would sell well, unless its availability was limited. This may mean the more “limited appeal” a title has, the more likely we will see these limited releases in the future.