CD Projekt Red Sales Boosted by Witcher 3 on Switch
Video games mirror the movie industry in that companies typically earn the most revenue during launch week. While most of the industry follows this model, there are a few exceptions to the rule. The most storied example is Grand Theft Auto V by Rockstar Games, whose shelf life has lasted over six years. On Friday, CD Projekt Red announced that another storied title joined the fray thanks in part to the Nintendo Switch.
An Exponential Result
While fans will not remember 2019 for its first-party releases, the industry will remember it as a resurgence for older games. Developers continued to flood the Nintendo Switch with ports of older games, such as Baldur’s Gate, Cuphead, and Dragon Quest XI. But perhaps no game was more hyped than the port of CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3. During its annual earnings call on Friday, the Polish developer revealed just how profitable porting a linchpin game to the Switch can be.
With revenue and net income increases of 44% and 60%, respectively, CD Projekt Red had an outstanding 2019. Although The Witcher 3 sold the most units on PC and PS4, the company attributed its success to the Nintendo Switch. However, based on the chart below, less than one million units sold on Nintendo’s hybrid console. So why did CD Projekt Red tie its success to Nintendo?
The answer to this question lies in the details. While developers typically sell more units on other platforms, the portability of the Nintendo Switch increases the value proposition for players. No longer tethered to a television set, gamers are willing to pay more for games that can be played on Nintendo’s hybrid console. As a result, Nintendo rarely discounts its games.
The Witcher 3 is currently priced at $59.99 on the Switch and $14.99 on the PS4. Using those figures as an example, CD Projekt Red would need to sell four copies of its games on PS4 for every title that it sold on the Switch. While this example is unembellished, it demonstrates the power of the Nintendo’s value proposition: portability.
Although The Witcher 3 likely sold at various prices on all platforms in 2019, it does not negate the appeal of the Switch’s model. Publisher 2K Games recognized this value by announcing the upcoming releases of XCOM, Borderlands, and BioShock collections on May 29th. As more companies reap the benefits of Nintendo’s premium pricing, others will likely follow suit.
While the Switch continues to breath new life into older games, developers would be wise to continue porting their catalogs. As demonstrated by CD Projekt Red, unit sales coupled with premium pricing on the Switch can dramatically bolster a company’s earnings. But we want to know what you think. Did you buy The Witcher 3 on the Nintendo Switch? What other ports have you purchased on the Switch? Let us know in the comments below or the social media links on the right. Also, be sure to check out our other news items on Pokemon, Modern Warfare, Capcom, Blizzard and more.
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