Japanese consumer electronics and video game company Nintendo discounted a record-breaking volume of games playable on its Switch platform for US shoppers on Black Friday last November, blowing well past the number of equivalent offerings with reduced pricing put up by its rivals, the Microsoft Xbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4.
Black Friday, which is the informal name for the Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the United States, is often regarded as the country’s biggest shopping day of the year. For the games industry, Black Friday is also one of the principal events on the year’s calendar for discounted games sold via digital stores on game consoles.
For both Nintendo and Microsoft, Black Friday traditionally sees a discernible surge in sales volume, with Nintendo carrying out extensive discounting as well during the period.
Black Friday in 2019 was no exception, but the number of game titles discounted by Nintendo at the end of November last year was especially hefty: 814, compared to 268 for the Xbox One and 81 for the PlayStation 4, according to research data from IHS Markit | Technology, now a part of Informa Tech.
To be sure, Nintendo in 2019 had regularly surpassed Microsoft in the volume of deals it made available for its games. However, Nintendo’s strong performance for the entire year, including during the Christmas promotions, puts it on course to surpass PlayStation during 2020.
Meanwhile, the PlayStation used a page from its 2018 playbook, opting to offer fewer discounted games but placing a greater emphasis on promoting the sale of newer AAA games, such as FIFA and Crash Tag Team Racing. Listing such games as part of a smaller promotion gives them greater visibility, as pricing for these newer titles isn’t yet ready to be as deeply discounted as for older games.
Sony’s strategy of adding more expensive titles to its holiday discount offerings was, in fact, adopted in 2019 by Nintendo and Microsoft as well, which meant that a larger number of premium titles being discounted could now be found in all three game platforms.
This change, observable in all three games platforms, signified that for an all-important sales event like Black Friday, the volume of deals offered by the three majors was not enough on its own to attract sales. In these more aggressive playoffs, equally important in winning over customers was the type of titles being offered—now expanded to include newer and more expensive games, but provided at discounted rates.
These findings, along with sales numbers and other data relating to games in November as well as for all of 2019, can be found in Games Market Monitor: Digital Console Storefront Strategy & Game Pricing Report – November 2019.
The report examines on a monthly basis variables such as pricing, discounting behavior, and other strategic elements relevant to the digital retailing of games for the Sony PlayStation 4, the Microsoft Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch, via first- party stores accessed through the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, and Nintendo Network.
The Games Market Monitor: Digital Console Storefront Strategy & Game Pricing Report – November 2019 from IHS Markit | Technology is a component of the Games Intelligence Service – Premium. The report is also offered in the Media & Advertising research service, under the Games research category. IHS Markit | Technology is now a part of Informa Tech. Contact us for more details on the report or if you wish to become a subscriber.