top of page

Why Nintendo Games Never Go On Sale: The Inside Scoop

Have you ever noticed that Nintendo games never seem to go on sale? It's kind of frustrating, right? I mean, waiting years for a game like Mario Odyssey to go down in price is a bummer. But apparently, that's just Nintendo's pricing strategy. They seem to stick to full launch rates for almost every exclusive first-party game during the current generation cycle. So, unfortunately, we might have to wait for a new console to come out before we can snag some discounted Switch games.

In this post, we will explore the reasons behind Nintendo's pricing strategy and how it affects its target market. We will also examine how Microsoft's pricing compares to Nintendo's and the impact of Nintendo's console exclusivity. Additionally, we will analyze the profit margins of Nintendo games and discuss their competitive advantage in the gaming industry. Finally, we will explore how consumer behavior influences pricing decisions.

Nintendo Games' Unique Pricing Strategy

Nintendo games are known for their exceptional quality and exclusivity, which allows them to command higher prices than other video game brands. Rather than resorting to price drops, Nintendo has a unique approach to pricing its products through bundled deals that help maintain demand and prevent overstocking. This allows the company to maintain its image of value and avoid pricing wars with competitors such as Microsoft or Sony.

Additionally, Nintendo's first-party games like Mario Kart, Zelda, and Pokemon have high replay value and DLC options that add more content without a price drop, making them appealing even at full price. Gamers recognize that buying a Nintendo game is a long-term investment in contrast to other games requiring you to buy newer versions every year (*Cough* - Call of Duty).

The Nintendo Switch game selection screen
Nintendo Switch

Understanding Nintendo's Target Market

Nintendo's pricing strategy caters primarily to its loyal fans who appreciate exclusive content enough to buy it at a premium price. This approach helps maintain a steady demand for Nintendo games while keeping the console manufacturer from being stuck with unsold inventory.

By leveraging the secondary market and promoting value and rarity for older games like Mario Kart 8 or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo is also able to protect the monetary worth of these first-party titles in a world where video games often undergo steep price drops after launch.

How Microsoft's Pricing Strategy Compares

When comparing Microsoft's pricing strategy with Nintendo's unique one for why Nintendo games never go on sale, it is evident that they both have different approaches while setting their game prices. Both companies have different target markets and goals for their pricing strategies in the competitive console market, including Sony's Playstation and the past Wii U console from Nintendo.

Unlike Nintendo, Microsoft offers frequent discounts and sales, which tend to attract budget-conscious gamers. However, this approach may not appeal to collectors or loyal fans of Nintendo game titles like Mario Kart and Zelda, who prefer exclusive content that cannot be found on other gaming platforms.

Two Xbox Series X Controllers
Xbox Controllers

The Impact of Nintendo's Console Exclusivity

Nintendo's console exclusivity plays a significant role in maintaining the high prices of their first-party games like Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon. Nintendo reduces competition by limiting the number of retailers that can sell their games. It keeps prices high for gamers who want to play exclusive titles like Breath of the Wild or Mario Kart. Additionally, Nintendo's focus on quality over quantity means they release fewer games than companies like Microsoft or Sony, contributing to their pricing strategy. These factors help explain why Nintendo games rarely see price drops or go on sale despite fans clamoring for discounts.

Examining the Profit Margins of Nintendo Games

While other gaming companies like Microsoft or Sony frequently offer discounts and sales on their video games like Xbox or PlayStation titles respectively; Nintendo has a different pricing strategy for its first-party games like Mario Party and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The company believes that its intellectual property has enough value that they don't need to drop prices. This means that even popular titles like Super Mario or The Legend of Zelda hold their value well, and gamers may eventually end up paying full price for them.

With console exclusivity as an added advantage for Nintendo Switch titles like Pokémon or Luigi's Mansion and previous consoles like Wii or Wii U, there is a limited competition which further contributes to them not seeing the need for a price drop.

Mario Odyssey mario jumping high on buildings in a real city
Mario Odyssey

Nintendo's Competitive Advantage in the Gaming Industry

With a loyal fanbase and recognizable brand name, Nintendo maintains premium pricing while offering unforgettable gaming experiences. By focusing on quality over quantity and developing unique hardware such as the Nintendo Switch console and family-friendly games like Mario Kart and Zelda, gamers are willing to pay full price for first-party games like Pokémon and Metroid.

While they have a reputation for not doing price drops or DLC expansion packs for their games due to their perceived value of the intellectual property, despite this "expensive hobby," titles like Breath of the Wild hold their value well.

The Influence of Consumer Behavior on Nintendo's Pricing

Nintendo's pricing strategy is heavily influenced by consumer behavior and demand. While striving to provide high-quality gaming experiences to users with their first-party games like Mario Kart, Zelda Breath of The Wild & more, they consider other factors such as production costs and retailer agreements.

Despite the expensive hobby that gaming can be at times, particularly when purchasing full-price video games or DLCs for Xbox or PlayStation consoles, Nintendo has managed to maintain a steady pricing structure due to its brand reputation and loyal fan base.

A screenshot of games listed in the Nintendo Online Store
Nintendo Store

Exploring the Future of Nintendo's Pricing Strategy

Nintendo's pricing strategy may need to adapt as the gaming industry evolves. While the company's unique approach has kept its first-party games like Mario and Zelda at full price, changing consumer behavior may require new tactics. Limited-time sales or bundle deals with new releases could entice gamers without sacrificing Nintendo's premium brand image.

It's a balancing act for the company, prioritizing providing high-quality experiences over discounts. But as video games become an increasingly expensive hobby, even loyal fans may appreciate occasional price drops or DLC deals.

Why Nintendo Games Never Go On Sale - It's Simple

While Nintendo's pricing strategy may seem frustrating to consumers, it is important to understand its unique approach to the market. Their focus on exclusivity and maintaining a certain level of quality has allowed them to establish a competitive advantage in the gaming industry. Dropping prices may not be worth the risk for Nintendo, as it could harm their profit margins and brand image. However, with the ever-changing landscape of consumer behavior and market trends, it will be interesting to see how Nintendo adapts its pricing strategy in the future. Plus, people will pay full price at any point in the game's life cycle because they know it will only be discounted once a new system arrives.


bottom of page