Anyone who writes about gaming makes it a point to observe industry trends, particularly sales. What people are buying and what they aren't says a lot about what brands and types of games are capturing the hearts and minds of gamers. So with August's beginning marking the final weeks of summer, we can begin to see what shaped the season. According to sales numbers the hit console of the summer was...the NES Classic!?
Yes, the nostalgia driven remake of the original Nintendo Entertainment System beat out all modern competitors in North America, even its younger brother Switch. This data comes from the NPD group, particularly analyst Mat Piscatella. He revealed the data in a series of tweets, which contained other interesting information about June's sales numbers. But the biggest news is of course how the NES Classic dominated.
US NPD HW - The NES Classic was June 2018's highest unit-selling hardware platform, while the PlayStation 4 led the market in dollar sales. This is the first time a Nintendo Entertainment System console has led in monthly unit sales since NPD tracking began in 1995.— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) August 1, 2018
Before anyone can make any doom-and-gloom predictions about the state of modern gaming, however, other figures show that recent releases did just fine. As the above tweet shows, the PS4 still obtained the highest sales in dollar amount. And when it came to software sales, the Switch made a very strong showing. It was the only platform that showed software sales growth in June, with Mario Tennis Aces being the month's top-selling game.
The June sales data can be taken as an overall positive for Nintendo fans. Despite an E3 showing that many called disappointing, the Switch is still thriving. The extra revenue from the NES Classic sales can't hurt either. It might even convince Nintendo to bring out the N64 Classic that fans have been asking for.
Unfortunately, there is always another side to the coin. When the NES Classic was first released last year, there were nowhere near enough units to meet fans' demand. Nintendo promised more, but still didn't deliver enough for the holiday rush of 2017. Finally, a year later, it seems there are plenty of NES Classics to go around. That pattern is classic Nintendo. Longtime fans even accuse the company of creating artificial demand by never producing enough stock until the item becomes sought-after just for being rare.
The fact that the NES Classic outsold even the Switch seems to feed into this pattern. By not making enough units last year, Nintendo ensured that the NES Classic would be a top-seller well into this year. And consumers eat it up, just happy to finally be able to get one. It's a troubling trend, especially with a new wave of Super Smash Bros Amiibo upon us. Get ready to stand in line for Ridley...