Pokémon: Record Launch to PR Nightmare
The launch of the highly anticipated Pokémon sold a record 10M units — the highest of any Nintendo game release.
Twenty-six years after the debut of their first Pokémon game, it has evolved into an open-world 3D concept. Millennials, remember playing on the OG Game Boy?
But the game quickly became a PR nightmare as players reported bugs and performance issues in masses. Players were falling through the ground and, at other times, endlessly rising into the sky.
Players are asking for refunds which Nintendo is accepting. But all PR is good PR, right? Despite the issues and some players refunding, many still can’t put the game down.
Nintendo wants to be the very best like no one ever was
Unlike PlayStation and Xbox (smaller divisions inside Sony and Microsoft, respectively) — Nintendo is a pure play gaming company.
With 99% of its sales from video game software and hardware, Nintendo heavily relies on big game launches to drive sales.
They’ve recently taken a page out of Disney’s playbook:
- Theme parks: Super Nintendo World opened in Universal Studios Japan in 2021 — coming to Universal Studios Hollywood next year.
- Movies: We finally have a Mario movie coming. Looks great, but Chris Pratt voicing Mario? Questionable.
Nintendo is early-on in monetizing its intellectual property outside of gaming — which could take years to play out.
Investors: Class of its own
Of the three console makers, Microsoft’s stock has performed the best over the past 10 years — carried by a profitable cloud and software business.
But that hasn’t stopped Nintendo from shining this year:
- Their Japanese shares (TYO:7974) are up 11% this year, with major game launches and a strong US dollar benefiting the company.
- Nintendo also has a US over-the-counter listing under $NTDOY, but those shares trade at a steep discount — down 9% this year.
Related: The gaming industry is expected to see its first sales decline in a decade.