how to play with a shortage of a product to sell more.
The announcement of future Nintendo news related to the 35th anniversary of ‘Super Mario Bros.’ left the fans more than satisfied: a lot of news based on the classic games of the Italian plumber, as is normal in a catalog focused on his birthday, and that took many different forms, from real toy karts to multiplayer reformulations of its most iconic titles. And also compilations, of course. The most notable was’ Super Mario 3D All-Stars’, a collection of remastered versions of three classic 3D Mario games: ‘Super Mario 64’ (Nintendo 64), ‘Super Mario Sunshine’ (Gamecube) and ‘Super Mario Galaxy. ‘(Wii).
Despite the absence of the second installment of ‘Super Mario Galaxy’, superior to its precedent and one of the undisputed kings of the Wii catalog, the compilation was received with enthusiasm, since they were essential games of the company’s mascot that to be enjoyed, you had to resort to the original bulky consoles. The game was announced for September 18 in physical and digital format for Switch, but with an extra detail that left fans baffled.
The collection will be available in a limited number of physical copies, and will be removed from the Nintendo eShop (and any remaining in stores, if any) on March 31, 2021. Just seven months to get the game, in a decision that Nintendo justifies as part of the celebration of the anniversary of ‘Super Mario Bros.’ there is no point in prolonging. However, many players have expressed dissatisfaction with the game. For starters, it is obvious that you are going to generate a subsequent resale market as soon as the title is no longer available, and with inflated prices. And we are not talking about a game with a limited, numbered or special edition: until March 31, Nintendo will not put a download limit on the eShop.
Nintendo, more Disney than ever
Nintendo has always been compared to Disney for obvious reasons. The orientation of their products to a family audience (sometimes very strictly, vetoing products for adults from their catalog) has not prevented them from becoming entertainment giants. Both mercilessly squeeze a few very juicy IPs (Marvel, Disney, Pixar, Mario, Zelda) and, in some cases, they even carry out parallel business practices.
One of them is what was known for a time as “Disney’s vault,” which we explain in depth in this article. It was a tactic carried out by Disney with the domestic editions of its films, which put on sale for a limited time and then isolate them in its metaphorical “safe”. There those films were revalued, the market’s need for them was generated, and then they were released again for a limited time.
With the advent of streaming and the dwindling importance of home formats, that tactic lost steam, but Disney has learned its lesson – and it hasn’t completely abandoned it. For example, with the disappearance of a large part of the Fox catalog, now owned by the company. Disney classics are now all available on Disney +; it is ‘Alien’, ‘Planet of the Apes’, ‘Predator’ and other historical Fox franchises that have been cornered in the vault.
Nintendo seems to want to follow this technique with ‘Super Mario 3D All-Stars’, at least the part of announcing “for a limited time” release availability. Whether it will be final or, Disney-style, will return in a couple of seasons (in the case of the House of the Mouse, the movies were fading for seven or eight years) or on a future console, remains to be seen. But the underlying strategy is clear: to give an extra value to an artificial scarcity that has nothing to do with needs From the market.
The FOMO problem
As some players have pointed out, such as the programmer Rafa Laguna, this artificial need created by Nintendo has another dangerous face: the syndrome known as FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out, Fear Of Missing Something). It is an ailment that is being talked about more and more due to how it impacts Internet users on a regular basis. It is the fear of, for example, missing events, news or updates, which leads to a need to stay connected that can easily lead to addiction.
Behind the #Nintendo movement to make a “digital limited” edition is a psychological trick widely used in marketing.
Brands play on the social anxiety that comes from staying out of a new fad or losing a product by waiting too long.
I follow👇👇👇 pic.twitter.com/QIDcyXd4sD
– Rafa Laguna (@RafaLagoon) September 3, 2020
In the case of Nintendo, it is not an addiction, but the fear of the player to miss these artificially imposed limits. Of course, there is plenty of time to buy the game in those seven months, but FOMO can lead to impulse buying just in case we later forget, and Nintendo wants to profit from that tick. And of course, Nintendo sends the message of “if you don’t buy this compilation now, you will be forced to remove the Wii from the storage room.” And that can lead more than one to open the wallet.
This is not the first time that Nintendo has carried out such a tactic. In fact, in a more moderate way, it is also present in another game of this batch of ads, ‘Super Mario Bros. 35’, although there is some justification here as it is an online battle royale that requires Nintendo support. But It is inevitable to remember the case of the NES Mini, the official Nintendo console that emulated the company’s classics, and that came to triple its original price on the internet.
In fact, the phenomenon of resales led Reggie Fils-Aimé to increase the production of the Super NES Mini so that the same thing as with its predecessor would not happen. And it worked, as speculation with her dissipated. This speculation is no stranger to virtually any piece of Nintendo hardware., since even bestsellers like Switch have at some point had a shortage of supplies, with the consequent resales at crazy prices on the internet.
Always has hovered over Nintendo the shadow of the suspicion that there was something intentional in this shortage of units in many of its releases. NES Mini stopped production without much explanation from Nintendo. And for a while there was a lot of talk about the tremendous speculation market that was generated around amiibo. A swampy ground for a giant company like Nintendo, which does not escape certain dubious strategies, but who undoubtedly should redouble its efforts in these aspects so that its prestige is not questioned.