There are many, many ways to buy and enjoy games nowadays, but it’s fair to say that retail behemoth Amazon is still a big option for a lot of consumers. As a major player in game sales (and sales of pretty much anything) it’s interesting to see its best performers of the year, and in terms of gaming the results are intriguing for multiple reasons.
You can see the regularly updated page here for the US store, though it’ll likely now stay roughly the same for the rest of the year. Interesting point number one is that you don’t see any games until #11 in the chart, with the top 10 consisting entirely of digital store gift cards and accessories. From a Switch perspective there’s a $10 eShop gift card at number 3, while an officially licenced Mario-themed micro-SD card is at number 8. More similar accessories and gift cards can be found throughout the charts too, showing that consumers are more than savvy in terms of knowing they’ll need store credit and expanded storage with their system.
Surprisingly – or not, depending on your perspective – the first game is Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury in 11th. It benefits from being a notable title with one of the longest times on the market (it was released on 12th February), but even so it’s impressive that it’s held off other big releases from later in the year. Amazon’s audience in the US also loves dancing, it seems, with Just Dance 2022 on Switch being the next game in 14th, perhaps helped along by its modest price.
The key point of intrigue is that all of the other physical games in the Amazon US top 50 are Switch games, with the vast majority being first-party Nintendo games; Minecraft and Just Dance 2021 on the system are the third-party exceptions. While it’s tempting to get out the bunting and celebrate Nintendo’s dominance on one of the world’s most significant retailers, context is also important.
Results like these show that Nintendo’s approach to value in its retail games, especially the relative rarity and size of discounts either in stores or on the eShop, pays off on sites like Amazon. With a lot of game publishers there can be a temptation to ‘wait for a discount’, which invariably comes along within a few months. With Nintendo games it’s a long wait, and then the discounts will be modest enough that it’s not always worthwhile waiting. Add to that the eager Switch fanbase and the continuing desirability of physical copies for many, and you get a Switch-heavy focus.
The Sony and Microsoft segments of the market are very different – major retail games are discounted more often, especially as downloads on the PSN and Microsoft Xbox stores, and both platform holders continue to emphasize downloads through promotions and even digital-only versions of consoles. Then you consider services like Xbox Game Pass, and it’s easy to see why PlayStation and Xbox have some smaller numbers buying physical copies of exclusive games.
This list is also Amazon-only and broken down by platforms, though it’s still rather surprising that multiplatform big hitters like FIFA 2022 and all sorts of shooters / other sports games aren’t represented.
As an indicator of Nintendo’s ongoing model of maintaining value and physical editions, though, the Amazon chart is interesting.
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