What if Nintendo only made games.

This is an oft discussed idea, but I am going to bring it up again anyways. I am a huge Nintendo fan, and that was the only console company we had in my house until the original Xbox came out. The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past will always be the greatest game ever, and I can’t count the hours spent playing all the iterations of Super Smash Bros. I hate to say it, but maybe it is time to let the console go. For the past two console generations (Wii/Wii U) the main reason to get the console was for Nintendo made games. I understand the Wii had a cool gimmick and sold more consoles than there are people in the world, but at the end of the day some of the best games on the system didn’t really need the motion controls. Most of the best games on the Wii U don’t need the gamepad, and in some cases it really screws up a game that had potential, Star Fox Zero for example.

If nothing else lets look at hardware and software sales for a minute. These are from September 2015. I know that is a little bit ago, but it still hammers home the point. Software sales are actually up to 79.30 million as of December 2015.



The Wii U has only sold a 10th of its predecessor and only half the amount of the second worst seller. The top 10 selling games are first party and make up well over half the amount of total software sales.

Wii U:

  1. Mario Kart 8 — 7.24 million units
  2. New Super Mario Bros. U — 5.08 million units
  3. Nintendo Land — 5.02 million units
  4. Super Mario 3D World — 4.63 million units
  5. Super Smash Bros for Wii U — 4.61 million units
  6. Splatoon — 4.06 million units
  7. Super Mario Maker — 3.34 million units
  8. New Super Luigi U — 2.42 million units
  9. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD — 1.69 million units
  10. Mario Party 10 — 1.65 million units


So let’s get hypothetical for a moment. What if those top games were on the Xbox One and PS4 instead? Xbox One has roughly 20 million units sold and I think PS4 is in the 40 million range. So that is around 60 million possible units for those top games to be bought for instead of only 11 ish million.

Using the graph above, each Wii U averages 6 games per console sold, and at least 3 of those games are Nintendo first party games. Now let’s stay conservative and say 3 Nintendo games are bought on 30% of Xbox and Playstation consoles. That comes out to 54 million in software sold, and that is assuming that each console owner only bought 3 of these 10 top selling Nintendo games.

Mario Kart 8 ended up on more than half of the Wii U consoles. I’ll be highly conservative and say it would end up on a fourth of the other 60 million consoles. So, it would sell an estimated 15 million units. If not being conservative it could be closer to 20+ million units. I anticipate that the New Zelda game could move well over 20 million units if published on both Xbox and Playstation.

I have to think that 2-3 times more software sales would definitely make up for the lack of hardware sales. I might be wrong, but this just seems like a more sustainable business model. I know SEGA went this route and has been slowly drowning in obscurity, but I do not think this would happen to Nintendo. Mainly because Nintendo is still making good games.

Hardcore gamers have proven time and time again that we are tired of gimmicks with our games. Make a good game and innovate within the game itself not the console. Put in a good graphics card, processor, and ram and then you are good to go. Spend the money you saved on console R&D and put it into making bigger and better games.

I am also afraid that the NX will be just like the Wii U has been. It will come out before everything else, and then everything else will pass its hardware capabilities and make it obsolete.

Just my two cents. Any questions, comments, ambiguities?

Written by: Aaron Walters

Aaron grew up with a controller in his hand. He got hooked on the SNES and hasn't looked back since. Twitch

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