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Shigeru Miyamoto's "explosive theory": sales of more than 30 million are considered popular games

Game Spinning Top 2024/07/02 16:14

Recently, Nintendo's well-known game producer Shigeru Miyamoto's previous remarks in an interview have once again sparked heated discussions among players.

Shigeru Miyamoto said that selling more than 30 million copies is probably a standard line, and if the company can release such a blockbuster game every 3 to 5 years, it will not be a big problem.

At the same time, Nintendo also encourages its employees to have the idea of "producing masterpieces", and Miyamoto Shigeru said that it would be too frustrating if the game could only break even after it was launched. Striving to produce masterpieces keeps players entertained while constantly unearthing potential new ideas – this brand aesthetic of "making creativity a big hit" is truly enviable.

So in the context of the buyout system, how much gold is Nintendo's 30 million sales on a single platform?

Game Gyro, Shigeru Miyamoto's "Explosive Theory": Sales of more than 30 million are considered popular gamesShigeru Miyamoto

What is the level of sales of 30 million?

Referring to Nintendo's 23-24 fiscal year financial report released in May this year, it can be seen that there are about 4 games with sales of more than 30 million on the NS platform, of which the 61.47 million of "Mario Kart 8" is the most terrifying. And "Super Mario Odyssey" and "Pokémon Sword/Shield" (Game Freak R&D) are not far from the 30 million mark, and judging from the current long-term sales trend of NS hardware, there must still be momentum to climb.

It can be seen that the 30 million mark is a goal that requires concentrated efforts and significant expansion even for Nintendo. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Assemble! Although Animal Crossing and Super Smash Bros. Special Edition are based on Nintendo's old IP, the success of this generation undoubtedly lies in the fact that these products have made pioneering innovations in combination with the needs of current players, and with the spread of NS hardware, this has led to an exponential increase in product sales.

At the same time, it cannot be ignored that Lao Ren has a lot of long-selling IPs and products in the 10 million and 20 million stalls, which is also the confidence of his impact on the upper limit of sales growth.

It can only be said that "30 million is a popular work", and it can indeed only be said by Nintendo. Because this is a bit of a challenge for Nintendo, but it is a solid goal that can be predicted.

But if you jump into the market context of Nintendo, then 30 million is basically a difficult standard to reach in the life cycle for most buyout games.

Game Gyro, Shigeru Miyamoto's "Explosive Theory": Sales of more than 30 million are considered popular games

Take a simple comparison with Sony, which is also a first-party.

After the first-party brand in the PS3 period was completely strengthened, Sony's game products have been selling well in recent years. For example, last year's "Marvel's Spider-Man 2" sales exceeded 11 million 6 months after its launch, and 2022's "God of War: Ragnarok" also sold 15 million last year. It can be seen that Sony's game brand has been quite stable in the tens of millions of grades, but it is a little difficult to go further.

"God of War" and "Horizon", which have been sold for many years, have stabilized at the 23 million and 24 million levels, which is basically Sony's current ceiling, and this is still a multi-platform achievement after cross-PC. As a manufacturer that also focuses on the exclusive experience of consoles, Sony is obviously far from 30 million.

Game Gyro, Shigeru Miyamoto's "Explosive Theory": Sales of more than 30 million are considered popular games

Friends who have a certain understanding of the buyout market should have a rough sales division in mind.

You must know that many manufacturers are enough to open champagne at 10W, 50W, and 100W nodes, and 3, 5 million sales are already a proper big IP, and as for tens of millions of sales, it is an unavoidable achievement. And in the multi-platform era opened by the success of Steam, the big sales of many games are actually accompanied by the dilution of "breaking bones", in terms of the gold content of revenue, the full-price exclusive game of a single platform can sell 30 million, which is definitely a miracle return.

Of course, such a crude judgment on sales doesn't make much sense except for Tuyile. Sales must be placed in the corresponding manufacturer's development cycle and category track for observation to have a certain value, but we can also feel what kind of realm Miyamoto Shigeru said about 30 million.

Especially in the Nintendo system, such a blockbuster product is completely based on the theme of "creating good games", and games that are fun enough are the core of motivating developers, so it can be said that sales have truly become a positive circular link between creation and experience. You must know that this kind of cycle is obviously much more difficult and uncertain than "following certain market trends" and "gaining insight into certain human weaknesses", but Lao Ren can run this model so steadily.

So is Nintendo's 30 million ambition and its unique model not worth reference? I don't think so, although you can't get there, your heart yearns for it, and it is still necessary to self-spur after looking up to the master.

The underlying logic of the Nintendo myth

The legend of Nintendo's decline with NS is one of the hottest industry topics in recent years. Now that we are approaching the end of the console's life, we can see some of the logic behind the "Nintendo myth" more clearly.

In addition to the creative hardware features, the art style that is suitable for all ages, and the core of the game that is easy to learn and difficult to master, I think the biggest reasons for the success of this generation of Nintendo are the following.

Game Gyro, Shigeru Miyamoto's "Explosive Theory": Sales of more than 30 million are considered popular gamesThe total global sales of the Switch have reached 141.3 million units

The first is to seek high profit margins with the right break-even.

Harvesting high income with relatively low investment and then precipitating considerable profit margins is undoubtedly the most praised place for Nintendo in recent years. Especially today, when the mainstream 3A model is becoming less and less optimistic, Nintendo's approach seems to be the right answer.

Of course, I don't think Lao Ren made his fortune by "selling low-profile machines and 4399 at high prices". Nintendo just knows better where to spend its budget, or it has enough gameplay content to burn money, rather than just spending money on graphics, performances, and publicity. A masterpiece with sales of 30 million does not necessarily have to look like 3A, which is a very thought-provoking idea.

Game Gyro, Shigeru Miyamoto's "Explosive Theory": Sales of more than 30 million are considered popular games

The core mechanics of the game can stand, and if you have a sufficiently differentiated appearance, it has the potential to be a hit. Moreover, this model of appropriate investment to ensure profit margin is also very suitable for the long-term development and trial and error of manufacturers, and it is a model that runs more and more smoothly.

The second is the high use of its IP.

As for whether to develop a certain IP and how much resources to invest in promoting IP, many manufacturers follow the rules of simple sales and inefficiency. Nintendo, on the other hand, is one of the few manufacturers that can resurrect old IPs.

This is certainly due to the fact that there are plenty of opportunities for trial and error supported by its high profit margins, but more importantly, Nintendo has a vision to focus on the future layout. In the words of Shigeru Miyamoto, "the most dangerous thing is to miss out on those things that have the potential to grow."

Some gameplay methods have not exploded in the past, which does not mean that there are no prospects in the future, just like "Assemble! Haven't Animal Crossing and Pikmin 4 both achieved far more success than expected, becoming a model for old IPs to conquer new players? Even an old game like war chess, why can't you use an innovation like "Fire Emblem: Wind Flower Snow Moon" to completely get out of the circle?

Game Gyro, Shigeru Miyamoto's "Explosive Theory": Sales of more than 30 million are considered popular gamesPikmin 4

Nintendo is obviously much more tolerant of its own IP, and it believes that if it makes some adjustments to the gameplay according to the characteristics of current players, it has the possibility of becoming a topical product in the new era. It doesn't matter how old or new the IP is, it's the constant focus on whether it's interesting enough.

Finally, there may be the impact of the observation and selection of categories.

I believe that any gameplay genre can produce a good game, but usually the games that sell well have a certain relationship with the popularity of the category. In the past, "The Legend of Zelda", which focused on maze adventures and decryption, if it hadn't kept up with or even redefined the open world in this era, I don't think its sales would have reached the level of 30 million.

Video games are a fast-growing business, and Nintendo has given a lot of ideas in this generation on how to boldly adapt new gameplay content to old IPs. It can only be said that Nintendo is a "century-old store", but people really don't rely on the brand effect to sell goods - it is also very important to judge the situation.


Of course, Nintendo, as a rare purebred console manufacturer at present, has its own uniqueness in market logic. For example, it needs to consider the installed capacity and the soft-hard ratio, but the choice of its R&D direction can still show some wind directions. 30 million sales are far away, but Nintendo's sense of employee accomplishment and "making players can't let go" when talking about 30 million sales is believed to be the spiritual strength that all game practitioners who are walking on the road of self-challenge need.

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