Nintendo: “No Connection Between Social Games And Nintendo DS Games”

There’s a hypothesis that, as free-to-play social games on Facebook and other platforms become increasingly popular, they’re going to detract from the sales of traditional videogames. Speaking to his investors, Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, opposed this idea recently.

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Iwata presented the following slide, showing the results of an annual Nintendo survey, to investors during a company Q&A:



The slide depicts people that play both Nintendo DS games and social games, as well as those that only play Nintendo DS games. You’ll notice the latter figure is the larger of the two. Nintendo investigated further to see if they could find data to suggest that users of social games were being drawn away from Nintendo DS software purchases by them.



The above chart depicts the average number (per consumer) of Nintendo DS software titles purchased in the last twelve months by those who only play DS games as well as those that play both DS and social games. Iwata points out that the chart seems to suggest the opposite of what people believe to be true — those that play social games are actually buying more DS software on average.


Iwata reveals that Nintendo conducted another investigation to check for a correlation between social gaming time and time spent playing DS games, and could find none in this regard either. He believes that the misconceived correlation between social and Nintendo DS games could be a result of seasonal trends as game sales typically tend to slow down during the summer across the board.


“However,” Iwata concludes, “We understand that there is a large amount of software which is allegedly free of charge, so we strongly believe that we have to maintain an environment where our consumers appreciate that our products are fun enough to warrant purchases.”


The caveat here, of course, is that Iwata only presented data pertaining to the Nintendo DS. Also, the data was acquired exclusively from Japan and not globally. 3,000 people is a significantly larger number than 700, though, which is the number of people the latest survey to establish a correlation between weakening “casual” games on consoles and social games used.


Charts sourced from Nintendo’s investor site.

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Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.