Nintendo's own games made up nearly half of United States retail Wii software revenue in 2009, according to new NPD data passed on to the public by analyst Michael Pachter, with the Wedbush Morgan analyst predicting a 25 percent to 75 percent split between "hardcore" and "casual" gamers among the user base.
The NPD figures were casually released by Pachter himself in a detailed post on consumer web forum NeoGAF. According to Pachter, NPD puts first-party Nintendo game revenue at $1.53 billion in 2009, 47 percent of the system's total $3.23 billion software revenue.
Nintendo games sold 27.5 million units, compared to 44.9 million units for third parties, meaning Nintendo games had an average retail price of $55.63. That's considerably more than the average retail price of $37.86 for third parties.
However, when the costly peripheral-bundled Wii Fit games are taken out of the equation, Nintendo's average retail price drops to $45.16.
Pachter threw in various bits of game-specific data as well, indicating the Wii audience prizes name brands from mass-market sources like television much more than gamers on other systems do.
For example, games like Just Dance, Cabela's Big Game Hunter, Deal or No Deal, The Biggest Loser, and Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2009 all finished higher in the year-end sales totals than Guitar Hero World Tour, a big brand among casual gamers, which finished at number 30.
Guitar Hero's competitor Rock Band 2 fared better, placing in the top 20 along with fellow third-party games EA Sports Active, Lego Star Wars, Madden 10, Tiger Woods 10, Deca Sports, and Game Party. Meanwhile, hardcore-oriented games such as Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles and Dead Space Extraction, only placed at numbers 151 and 261 for the year.
As a result of reviewing the NPD data, Pachter says he adjusted his estimate of the split between casual and hardcore gamers on the Wii from 50/50 to 75/25.
And the disparity between first-party and third-party sales isn't endemic to Nintendo systems across the board. According to Pachter, NPD data puts Nintendo as generating only 32 percent of Nintendo DS software revenue and 27 percent of software units in 2009.
Likewise, the price disparity was much smaller, with Nintendo games only $8 more than third parties on average, as opposed to nearly $18 more.