How Super Smash Bros. Is Helping Pokémon Pre-Orders

By Ishaan . October 30, 2014 . 9:00am

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are seeing strong pre-orders across the world, and Nintendo have a very interesting hypothesis as to why that is. The answer, they say, lies within Super Smash Bros.


Pre-orders for Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, as illustrated in the image above, are in line with those of Pokémon X and Y. This is despite the fact that Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are remakes of older games. Since they’re remakes, the natural assumption would be that pre-orders wouldn’t be as high as those of newer games, but this is not the case here. In fact, in Europe, pre-orders are actually higher.


Here’s Nintendo’s hypothesis at to why pre-orders for the remakes are going well: In 2001, Nintendo released Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Gamecube. Melee is the first Smash Bros. game that was really considered a major title. The N64 game didn’t grow popular until it was already out, but by the time Melee was released, the Smash Bros. brand had had time to build up popularity and was more recognizable. A large number of people anticipated and bought Super Smash Bros. Melee on Gamecube.


Then, roughly a year after Melee, Nintendo released Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire for the Game Boy Advance, which served as the first Pokémon games for a whole generation of children. These children—who were elementary school students at the time—were also playing Super Smash Bros. Melee, so the two games shared an overlapping audience.


Now, all these years later, these elementary school kids have grown up, and are between 18 and 25 years of age. Coincidentally, they’re also a large percentage of the people buying Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, according to Nintendo’s research.


Nintendo say this generation comprises 30% of Smash 3DS’s audience in Japan, and 50% in the U.S. and Europe. Furthermore, thanks to Smash Bros. on 3DS, this generation is currently paying attention to the Nintendo 3DS console, and their fond memories of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire are causing them to take an interest in the new remakes of those games as well.


Source: Nintendo investor website.

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  • James Robert Thompson

    That’s an interesting theory, and no doubt has some effect, but with all the mega-evolutions this game feels like it’s adding a hell of a lot more to the game than any previous remakes, and not just from the original ruby/sapphire but also to X and Y. This game is effectively getting a bunch of new pokémon in a way previous remakes and third versions did not, as such this is almost like a new generation in most people’s minds.

    Moreover the dual plot nature of R/S means more people are likely to pre-order both rather than just the one like most normally would for the remakes (even the more hardcore fans due to being able to trade with the new gen), and this is further backed up by exclusive megas that can’t be traded to x and y.

    Europe obviously shows there are ore factors behind this than just being treated as a new gen, but to overlook how much more this offers than the previous remakes is a mistake.

    • ronin4life

      Also, Europe is a weak market for Nintendo; this could simply be gamers only now starting to support Pokemon/3ds heavily in the region, thus the disparity.

      • James Robert Thompson

        I live in the UK so I can talk on the subject a little, and there was a lot of trepidation about X and Y, but once people heard favorable recommendations they where fairly excited for it. I’ve not really been hearing that this time, I think people started to support the 3DS on X and Y’s release, and since they’ve done so the pre-orders are higher; but I doubt the sales figures will be.

        • Princess_Eevee9

          Even though a recent surge of popularity for Nintendo has come out of Europe it’s still the weakest market.

          • James Robert Thompson

            Since when did I say it wasn’t?

        • PreyMantis

          Or it’s because of Fifa…

      • HarakiriKami

        More like the UK

  • triablos

    I preordered Smash Bros and XY but I dont think I’ll be getting ORAS just yet. I played emerald back in the day, but I’m just too burned out on pokemon at the moment

  • Black-Moustache

    Nah, i think Pokémon is getting those pre-orders based on the game itself. New flying around mechanic, legendary mega evo, Ruby & Sapphire being a lot of peoples favorite in the series and much more. Pokémon and Smash will get great sales independently

  • gquain

    People were waiting for many years for the new entry of the Super Smash Bros. series. There were many people who bought the 3ds solely for Smash. And if they now have the 3ds, why not buy additional games such as preordering that new Pokemon remake?

    That’s my assumption

    • And it’s probably a very solid assumption as well. The Smash club that I’m part of has numerous people who didn’t buy a 3DS until Smash released, so adding the new Pokemon games to the mix was probably just icing on the cake for them.

  • Codename: D.A.V.I.D.

    “Nintendo released Pokémon Ruby (…) for the Game Boy Advance, which served as the first Pokémon games for a whole generation of children. These children—who were elementary school students at the time—were also playing Super Smash Bros. Melee.” Hey! I’m part of that audience :P

  • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

    Because die hard Nintendo fans never get tired of playing the same rehashed franchise ad infinitum. That’s why~.

    • *grabs popcorn*

      • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

        To be honest, I didn’t intend the comment to be inflammatory. I played Pokemon up to Ruby / Sapphire on the GBA. After that, I found that for my personal taste, very little was changing. It was more of the same with subtle changes and a new coat of paint on the World. But until Ruby / Sapphire, I enjoyed them a lot~.

        • don’t worry, I just commented for the fun (because I knew someone would be mad at it!) xD

          And I understand this feeling… I skipped most Pokemon games after Ruby and Firered because I was really bored of the same things/little changes.

          now I really hope I can enjoy OR/AS as much I enjoyed X/Y :3

        • James Robert Thompson

          Damn… You moved away the gen before the physical special split… poor timing man… still it’s a competitive game so don’t expect too much difference between iterations; compare to other competative titles , like fighting games say, however and you’ll realise it actually changes quite a lot between entries, so much so it often leaves the fans behind (though not to the same exodus that stuff like Brawl did for Smash of course), so they’re actually rehashing less than most companies would in their situation…

          Either way, each to their own, different games cater to different audiences, and Pokémon is one that caters mostly to it’s core (though less so this gen than usual); you’re not in that demographic so it probably still isn’t for you…

          • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

            Pokemon is played competitively, but at its core it’s a JRPG first and foremost. That’s why I find the repetitiveness over iterations too much for my taste. I grew tired of always being some newbie trainer choosing a starter Pokemon, meeting my rival for life five minutes afterwards before I set to be the best Pokemon trainer ever while I save the World from the antics of whatever Team / Teams are up to no good at the time being~.

          • Hound

            I stopped at Gold then played Black and borrowed X (since they changes to 3D, I was curious.) A new coat of paint and some balance-y changes are really all there is.. The core game flow has reached Mario levels of consistency, but the gameplay, stats, and combat flow has remained nearly constant with add-ons to skills and passives.

            It isn’t a fighting game, MMORPG, or a card game, so I find the changes from iteration to iteration to be rather dull. I was expecting a complete flip in presentation eventually. Maybe some sort of compelling story or new combat focus (some new tactics such as spacing, etc could certainly be exploited. There are many unique innovations that have and can be done to turn-based rpgs) Oh well =/

          • kthanxyousuck

            Trust me, even pokemon fans are tired of this formula. It’s really a shame because you’d think the games would evolve with the evolution of the anime series they still coincide with.

          • HarakiriKami

            Erm. The anime doesnt evolve at all XD

          • kthanxyousuck

            LOL well no the main focus hasn’t changed and somehow Ash hasn’t aged but at least they added variety with not everyone just wanting to be a pokemon master. Imagine a pokemon game that has a rhythm minigame to represent being a pokemon coordinator. There’s a lot they could do and just don’t.

          • HarakiriKami

            …. But coordinator stuff came from the contests in Ruby and Sapphire…

            All the stuff from the anime comes from the games ._.

          • HarakiriKami

            Pokemon has more changes than fighting games tbh.

            Hell pokemon is one of those games with insane skill gaps and a constantly shifting metagame.

            Pokemon always introduces enough new ideas between each generation.

            With the second gen came the ability to breed, Dark and Steel types, natures ect, abilities came in gen 3, brought new moves with it, double battles, gen 4 added the physical/ special split, more items and moves, evolutions,abilities special evos more and even more changes to the meta game. Now we’re in gen 6 and we have bloody singles, doubles, triple, rotational and inverse battles ( flips the typing around)

            Hell pokemon games have their own meta around the secondary effects of moves/ abilities and the like that run off real world logic. Want to make an egg hatch faster? Carry a pokemon with flame body. Your pokemon is frozen? Use a fire type move and get yourself out the status. Stuff like that.

            Plus they also made it more convenient to EV train and IV breed over time.

            The best pokemon games are the ones with Meaty post games because the whole 8 badges + elite 4 thing is getting a bit tired. ( Personally I like feeling like an actual champion) (( which is why people are looking forward to ORAS, you can build your own gym in this one)

            But gamefreak is the king of introducing diversion and then replacing them. They pack pokemon games full of stuff to do. They’re all meaty games but unless there is a substantial post game like in BW/BW2/FRLG/HGSS/P/E you get bored real quick after exhausting the first 60 hours of the game or so.

            Pokemon is really one of the most complex competitive games I’ve played.

            The nadir between a casual player and a pro is one of the widest that exists. ( Games like Starcraft, smash Bros ect are the only ones that can realistically compare)

    • Maybe so, but that holds true for fans of other franchises as well. And, it’s not actually as bad a thing as people make it out to be. If there’s an audience for it, why change it. I’d rather a company make minor adjustments to make a game better, than to try and rebuild it from scratch, if there was nothing fatally wrong with it to start with.

      • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

        There’s nothing fatally wrong with Call of Duty, and we all know the flack the games get. Yes, it’s yearly release and all that crap. But is the principle all that different? I agree with you, a lot of franchises are iterative and change very little over each installment~.

        Yet it’s Pokemon the only one praised as a masterpiece selling millions and spared of criticism. That part is the part that never really clicked for me~.

        • And that’s fair. Although the other communities I participate in are critical of Pokemon, to an extent, it never does reach the same level as CoD. And I think that does come back to the yearly release schedule. Pokemon games don’t always release yearly, so people aren’t as harsh on them for that.

          • Enzo

            The difference between Pokemon games is much greater than that between CoD games.

          • randominternetperson

            As a person who owns every major Pokemon title, Haha, no. What’s worst is that ORAS uses the same damn engine as X and Y. It feels like the same game. The next generation of Pokemon better not do the same. It’s just like those yearly Naruto games now. CoD although has yearly releases, the games are made by different studios. CoD fans can easily tell you the differences in them.

          • Enzo

            I feel like just owning “every major Pokemon title” doesn’t mean you actually are more entitled. And two games sharing an engine means almost nothing, given that MANY games share an engine. For all I know, you probably are a big CoD fan instead, especially given that you would be able to point out that the games are “made by different studios” and that fans can “easily tell” the differences. Although I am aware that CoD games do SOMETIMES have different studios, they do not ALWAYS do. And having a different studio doesn’t mean that the game is going to be vastly different.

            What people say when they think Pokemon games are all the same is the way it progresses and the core mechanics, which is exactly the same thing people complain about in Call of Duty. However, Pokemon also have more graphical updates (note that you can have changes in graphics and art style without changing the engine) than the CoD series had as of late. The Pokemon series adds some small mechanic changes that fans who delve into the meta game would notice easily. Not only that, but each Pokemon game adds a certain number of new Pokemon. Some people may think that many pokemon are just copies or lazy, but believe it or not there’s a real logic behind the new pokemon that are added. In addition to what I said, there are quite a few differences in the environment between the games.

            I may not be an expert on CoD, but the amount of content added per Pokemon game is far greater than you think, and goes beyond what most casual players notice. Whether or not fans like it is a different story.

          • HarakiriKami

            All remakes use the same engine as the other games ( they change the UI as well however). What is your point?

        • Slayven19

          Pokemon is never spared of criticism ever. It being a popular game means it gets more criticism by default of lesser popular games.

        • HarakiriKami

          You do realize most call of duty fans send death threats to the developers when they change things up between games right? Or patch something.

          Nintendo may use the same franchise but they always try to introduce new types of gameplay enwarpped around familiar faces . To keep things fresh.

    • Money?Muney??All my luveee!!!

      Every company had die hard fans there. So it is not only Ninty.^_^

  • Money?Muney??All my luveee!!!

    Lol, THAT’s Me Iwata was talking about.^_^

  • AuraGuyChris

    Either it’s the games that has more content, or Smash Bros helps people get acquainted with other franchises.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    Iwata: I feel better now, I better print more money

  • Tom_Phoenix

    The problem that I have with this theory is that there was a significant disparity between the install bases of the GBA and GameCube, even early on. As such, I don’t think there is as much overlap here as Nintendo would imply.

    I think some of the reasons that have been stated by fellow members make more sense.

    • James Robert Thompson

      The install base isn’t much of an issue in Smash’s case because it’s a (pseudo) party game, a lot of poeple who didn’t own the console would still play it round a friend’s house; it’s part of the reason Smash’ popularity has grown so much in only 4 games.

    • Keep in mind we’re talking about pre-orders here, not actual sales, so the figure in question may not be that huge either.

  • Adrian Duran

    could be because RSE is the best gen

    • Princess_Eevee9

      Not exactly but it is definitely one of the better ones.

      • Gojuu

        Eevee I remember you predicting Smash helping Pokemon OmegaR/S helping each other in sales in another gaming topic. IT CAME TRUE LOL!! XDDDD

    • AuraGuyChris

      The gen where the Special and Physical split hadn’t been done? Ha ha.

    • Grumpy Drizzle

      Each gen is the best one and the worst one simultaneously.

    • Guillermo Oliva III

      R/S/E were interesting and also, it was the first to introduce “contest” type and other challenges like “Frontier Brain”. Also, other optional fun-base like making berries, “dive” to find secret items(I love dive), making your base and decorating(now, its a lot more better and visual to see what your personal base looks like and even more.) and the finding the spot were Feebas can be caught. XD

    • fireguardiancoty

      G/S/C, actually.

  • SobriK

    This is one of those great cases where correlation doesn’t imply causation, but it certainly points to causation, waggles its eyebrows, and makes a damn compelling argument for it.

    I’m somewhat skeptical about Nintendo’s explanation here, because I’m wondering what effect the sales and new experiences offered by X&Y had on attracting players to ORAS. Setting aside individual preference for generations, Gen VI was pretty remarkable in the changes it brought to the typical Pokemon formula (in production values, if nothing else). Also, it came out just over a year ago… so it’s still fresh in the minds, and playing rotations, of a great many 3DS owners.

    Still, Nintendo knows their business – and customers – very, very well… so if they’re saying the uptick in pre-sales is due to Smash Bros., I would hesitate to doubt them :)

    • PreyMantis

      It is Smash! Not many people knew about Fire Emblem before Smash, but look how the FE series is going.

      • kthanxyousuck

        Fire Emblem Awakening sold a million copies before Lucina and Robin were even announced for Smash though.

        • Slayven19

          But he’s saying melee made FE popular enough to want characters in smash.

          • kthanxyousuck

            Melee helped FE because the games weren’t released outside of Japan before that. That was a special case. I’m specifically talking about Lucina and Robin.Those two were directly because of success of Awakening.

        • PreyMantis

          You just proved my point; though, I was referring more to Smash Bros. Melee which helped made the Fire
          Emblem popularize, specially in the West. Without Marth and Roy in Melee, I doubt
          the first game would have been as successful as it was. There is no doubt that the Xeoblade series will also increase in popularity due to the inclusion of Shulk in the new Smash Bros. People are asking who he is and where he is from these past few months, so it’s just a matter of time.

      • SobriK

        I’m not too sure you can attribute Awakening’s success on Smash, either… especially since it launched almost 5 years after Brawl’s release.

        Awakening was an absolutely fantastic game that did really well with critics and launched at an odd time of the year (post-holidays). I’d say the lack of immediate competition and strong metacritic score probably attracted more players to it than any tie-in with Smash did.

        Also, it probably didn’t hurt that Awakening landed at the time when the 3DS was really starting to gain momentum in the west.

        • PreyMantis

          I was referring more to Smash Bros. Melee which helped made the Fire Emblem popularize in the West. Without Marth and Roy in Melee, I doubt the first game would have been as successful as it was.

    • HarakiriKami

      For most of the 18-25 audience yeah.

  • Bobby

    Seeing this bundle pack on amazon!?

  • DwillXXII

    Uh…..pretty sure it has nothing to do with smash but moreso those steel cases that the Europeans get. If NA got those steel boxes I would’ve pre-ordered too as well as a lot of other people I know. So no Nintendo you want pre-orders to go up give us better deals.

    • kthanxyousuck

      But preorders rose everywhere. NA didn’t get anything so why would it be more? Though I do wish we’d get some special stuff :(

      • DwillXXII

        Wrong…..preorders are less in Japan and pretty even in US. In Europe there is a much bigger increase because, like I said, of those awesome cases.

  • s07195

    Another reason is that these are remakes which can bring back a nostalgia crowd, compared to a new generation like XY.

  • “Two already established, beloved, high-selling game franchises sharing an audience” =/= one game driving sales for another. This is a baffling “theory”.

    Actually, it’s kind of worse than innocuous. It’s Nintendo sort of rewarding themselves for nothing and not recognizing the age-old problem with them; people who buy Nintendo games tend to buy nothing BUT Nintendo games. Sales for Mario Karts, Pokemons, Smash Bros. — they’re all always high. Their audiences always overlap. Don’t think you’ve pulled off a complex marketing tactic here, guys. Jeez.

    Wanna really test the theory? Try and use Smash Bros. to move non-established, “already-guaranteed-to-be-successful” franchises. You should’ve put Bayonetta in, and see if the sales for Bayonetta 2 would’ve been better. Or characters from other new franchises Nintendo should be trying more aggressively to hype and make successful, like Fantasy Life, Splatoon, Devil’s Third, etc.

    • PreyMantis
    • kthanxyousuck

      Nintendo has gotten much better at hyping games in general, especially for the 3DS.

      Perfect example being Tomodachi Life. A game people laughed at, got mediocre reviews and people thought was ridiculous that went on to sell more than 3 million copies worldwide.

      They’ve done a great job of advertising Bravely Default, Hyrule Warriors, Shovel Knight and Fantasy Life. It’s more of the other way around in fact. Successful games and popular characters work their way into Smash. Villager was mostly due to the success of New Leaf. Greninja was one of the most popular starter pokemon for X/Y so he got added. Lucina and Robin from FE:A were characters fans were extremely happy to see in the game.

      And there are a lot of people who have played as these characters from Smash and look into the games they came from. Of course just because you like playing a fighting game with a character doesn’t mean you’ll like the type of game they came from.

      • HarakiriKami

        Actually Greninja is in because Sakurai took a fancy to him and decided to put him in Smash.

        Pokemon X and Y werent even out yet.

    • Kid Icarus was revived due to interest in who Pit was after Brawl.

    • HarakiriKami

      Well arent you full of yourself.

      ( Im also sure you realise Iwata’s talking to investors here right? Who most often are genuinely stupid and genuinely disinterested.)

      Nintendo’s well aware that they are tapping into the fond memories of their audience.

      Roy was in Melee because his game was coming out soon, Binding Blade.

      Nobody likes Binding Blade and Roy is one of the worst Lords in the series. But you still see people screaming for him to return in the West( because we’re stupid or something.)

      Same thing with Lucas ( Mother 3 wasnt particularly well received in Japan for that reason)

      They wont just stick a character in for promotion anymore.

      Thats what DLC is for :D

  • Hau To

    I see no point in preordering any major nintendo title when I can go to a midnight release at Walmart ten minutes away! It’s guaranteed. Preorder and wait a day or two or get it at release night and play instantly?

    • Quizler

      I preorder to ensure I can get a copy at that midnight release.

      • Hau To

        For me, there’s no point in preordering since there isn’t that many people at night for the release where I’m at. I think the last release of x/y there were about 20 people at most when I came in. I can understand doing so if there is a large crowd though.

        • kthanxyousuck

          Location is a big thing when it comes to preorders. People were lined up outside of Nintendo World in NYC until 3 in the morning trying to get pokemon x/y even though the copies they had sold out at about 1am. Smash Bros and Pokemon are few 3DS games that actually get midnight releases and sell out. When I wanted pokemon a week after it came out I had to get pokemon Y because the gamestop and walmart near me were sold out of x. In Japan, most preorders come with some really cool exclusive stuff. That hardly ever happens here though =(

          Sometimes people also preorder games that they know had a limited supply and/or exclusive to one store (like gamestop) that they won’t be able to find in a few months after release except for on the internet for a ridiculous price.

          • ^This, I bought Heart Gold last week and it was an absolute pain in the ass to find for a fair price(and even then I paid 56 aud for a shitty preowned copy)

          • HarakiriKami

            Lol Nintendo games retain their retail/ trade in prices like crazy

          • kthanxyousuck

            Seriously. Mario Kart DS….YES DS NOT 3DS is still going for 25 bucks and it’s going to be a 10 year old game next year.

  • kthanxyousuck

    I think it’s a combination of people really loving Ruby/Sapphire, it being a new game for a good number of consumers who now know what to expect after playing X/Y (like myself). I think Smash only helped for those people who it was a system seller for (meaning Smash is why they purchased a 3DS). Now that they have a 3DS, they’ll pick up pokemon as well (it’s also why we’ve been seeing random jumps in games like Mario Kart 7 and Animal Crossing)

    Or it could be something as simple as wanting to secure the copy they prefer since there were a lot of issues with one version of the game being sold out more frequently than the other (For me X was always sold out in my area).

    • Codi Schumacher

      Comparing Ruby and Sapphire to X and Y?

      those are wildly different games, and new no its revisiting a classic for me just with a few extras tossed in to make improvements on the originals.

      • kthanxyousuck

        They use the same engine. For fans that weren’t in the series for the entire duration, if X/Y appealed to them, Ruby/Sapphire was pretty much an automatic sell is what I mean.

        • Codi Schumacher

          I dont give a dam about the engine I’m talking about what content each game offers.

    • HarakiriKami

      Most older fans hated Ruby and sapphire cause they could trade them over so yeah

  • Chef Chef

    kind of….im getting it cause ruby was my first *blush* and to see if i like it as much as my older brother likes HIS remake (HG) but yeah i loved melee then too

    • Chef Chef

      OH and ive always have loved contests! even more then battles.

  • soulz

    I see why EU is getting more of the good games nowadays.

  • Playing as him in Smash Bros 3DS gave me a deeper appreciation of Greninja, which up until that point I thought was a really retarded looking pokemon with shitty typing. This caused me to replay Y just so I could choose Froakie as my starter. I played until I got bored halfway through. I’ll be getting Alpha Saphire since I loved Emerald as a kid and the fact that nothing good is coming out till DW8:E in Jan.

    • Slayven19

      Yeah you’re still not gonna beat brock for the championship bud, but I agree.

  • MaidKillua

    Oh Europe… Dem steelbooks are so very tempting. Might have to pre-order mine soon

  • Snorlaxation

    Love how they use facts like this to show where their current audience is, and then have (or before have) Sakura talk about how most of his audience are kids. Lame.

    • miju

      That was a figurative stab at how most of the fans (more specifically, the Melee tourney enthusiasts among the others) complain about “extra” content given to them for “free” like clones. The comparison was that the roster, minus the clones, is already a full course meal. The fans paid for that meal (full game). Suddenly, the restaurant (devs) decides to give them some dessert as a bonus in the form of some clone characters (3 only, not too much) just because they had enough time/budget to include them. But then people complained about even having the clones or how the clones ruined the game even though the game is still already a full game without them. Sakurai was saying that only a child would complain about something so trivial, not that their main audience was actually children.

      • Snorlaxation

        No no, I caught that tidbit, (and thought it was awesome), but I’m talking about his justifiying why exactly he wanted the fighting system more like Brawl, and less like Melee, his reasons being that most of his fans are younger, and so he wanted the battle system to be less ‘difficult’. All of that is bull, to me anyway.

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