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Why You Rarely See Nintendo Games Go On Sale

Ask just about any gamer and they'll tell you that Nintendo games are timeless. From the retro arcade days to the here and now, characters like Mario, Zelda and Link, and hundreds of varieties of Pokémon have won over the hearts of fans and made them loyal customers to some of gaming's biggest franchises. Even though Nintendo games are timeless, they're certainly not priceless. In fact, their prices remain surprisingly stable over the years with very few sales.

Before unpacking the reasons behind this lack of sales, it's important to remember that Nintendo has always done things differently. This year, when Sony and Microsoft are focused on buying other companies, Nintendo broke its silence by sharing that it prefers to keep things consistent by continuing to target first-party games. And, despite the frustration of fans, Nintendo raising the price of one of its online memberships can be considered a power move since the company knows gamers can't resist what they're offering. Nintendo also keeps a firm hold on its intellectual property, including recently issuing over a thousand copyright strikes to a YouTuber who shared the company's otherwise unavailable game music.

There are many reasons the world doesn't see Nintendo sales. Here are a few of the main theories on why the super-successful company keeps its game prices steady.

Nintendo's Firm Pricing Strategy

According to Polygon and GameRant – among many other sources – one of the biggest reasons Nintendo games don't go on sale is the simple fact that it's not necessary for the company. Given Nintendo's unique place in the market with some of gaming's most iconic characters under its umbrella, not to mention a dedicated audience of fans who have loved the company's work for years, Nintendo games retain their value.

In addition to Nintendo's dominant place in the gaming market, the company also wants to keep its reputation as strong as its sales numbers. In other words, it's a marketing strategy for Nintendo to hold its prices to reflect the consistent quality of the games they're releasing. Polygon compared this to how Disney controls supply and demand with its controversial vault.

Finally, there is the fact that Nintendo uses unique cartridges that are actually more expensive to make than, say, PS5 discs (via PCMag). Coupled with the other reasons Nintendo games don't go on sale, this further enhances the uniqueness and exclusivity of Nintendo products, especially given that Nintendo consoles often cost much less than its Sony and Xbox cohorts. More than anything, the company knows fans will save up the big bucks for their favorite characters. For better or worse, Nintendo knows it has control over the market.