Is Nintendo Playing Games?


Is Nintendo Playing Games (pictured is Nintendo’s newest console, the Nintendo Switch)

Recently popular video game company, Nintendo, has been getting a lot of negative attention from both the media and their own fans. This is due to a recent anti-consumer business practice they’ve instated which has left almost everyone baffled. Along with the announcement of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Nintendo also announced that they would stop selling the game on March 31st, 2021 creating artificial scarcity and greater incentive to buy as soon as possible. While on paper this may seem like a good idea from a business perspective, it actually hurts not only the consumers who want this product but also Nintendo themselves in the long run. This begs the question of why is Nintendo doing this?

There are several theories as to why this may be happening, but the most likely of these reasons is Nintendo’s recent numbers. Since the recent release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, in March of 2020, Nintendo’s been having the best year monetarily speaking since 2009. They’re pulling insane numbers thanks to Animal Crossing, but to break their own records, they would need more than just 76 million Switch sales and 31 million copies of Animal Crossing sold. They needed to report the best possible numbers. Therefore they gave Super Mario 3D All-Stars a sale time frame that conveniently ends on March 31st, the same day that Nintendo’s fiscal year ends. With more incentive to buy, consumers are rushing to stores and Super Mario 3D All-Stars began flying off the shelves.

Now, the issue with this business practice still may not seem too apparent. Nintendo found a way to improve their revenue for this year. However, in doing so they’ve cost themselves so much money in the future. Mario games seemingly never stop selling. For example, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sold fewer copies upon release than it did in 2019 alone, then it sold more in 2020 than it did in 2019. Therefore, pulling what could be a continuous and exponential money maker in years to come for some extra cash now is not the best move by them in the long run. It also has caused boycotting and distrust from Nintendo’s previously loyal customers.

The scariest part of all of this though is the fact that this isn’t just a one-time thing for one Mario game. It’s setting a precedent for Nintendo that’s working for them. Nintendo already announced the next short release window for the English translation of the first Fire Emblem game, which is again selling phenomenally well as of now. This is a concern for not only Nintendo fans, but also the gaming industry as a whole because game companies tend to copy each other when it comes to business practices, the most recent example being loot box microtransactions which are becoming more and more common among big-name titles.

In conclusion, this is a very slippery slope. If this practice continues, it could not only lead to Nintendo fans not getting the games they want, but anti-consumer practices like this one potentially consuming the game industry as a whole over the coming years.