With Switch sales surging across the board, it should come as no surprise that Nintendo’s digital business is also seeing a strong increase in numbers. This was confirmed during Nintendo’s recent financial report, and a subsequent Q&A session following the report has been translated and released online by the company.
During that session, one investor pointed out Nintendo’s reporting of increased sales across “Download-only software, add-on content and Nintendo Switch Online, etc.” That investor then asked for some extra context and what Nintendo is expecting in the future.
Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa took the opportunity to answer this question himself. Furukawa pointed out that all three of those aforementioned areas have seen an increase in profits. Particularly with Nintendo Switch Online, “sales increased thanks in part to the growth in membership that has accompanied the rise in hardware sales.” Nintendo has seen a digital sales increase by 104.9% year-on-year, resulting in 256.0 billion yen being made. In the previous fiscal year, Nintendo made 124.9 billion yen. Nintendo also revealed that “downloadable versions of packaged software, especially Nintendo Switch software, made up 58.7% of overall digital sales, and greatly contributed to growth.” Unfortunately, the comapny has not revealed exactly how many Nintendo Switch Online subscribers there currently are. The last stat was 15 million subscribers as of May 2020.
It was revealed just a few days ago that Switch hardware sales are approaching 80 million units worldwide as of the end of December 2020. Combine that with the cheap price of Nintendo Switch Online and the consistent flow of new content into the Switch eShop and it’s no wonder why the Big N’s digital business is on the rise.
More to come
Looking ahead, Furukawa has an overall positive expectation for the future of the company’s digital business, pointing to consumers generally preferring digital purchases over physical ones. This is true, considering that so many goods these days in the entertainment industry as a whole are distributed digitally. The Big N’s competitors are also reporting steady growth rates annually, so the same will continue to happen for the Big N.
It was recently reported by two reputable Twitter users, both with tech backgrounds, that Nintendo is currently in the unannounced process of upgrading its aging online multiplayer infrastructure. The upgrade will replace components that have been around for 18 years and that Nintendo has been using for at least 10 years, since the days of the 3DS and Wii U. Nintendo has yet to acknowledge this publicly, however.