Nintendo Switch Purchaser Distribution Skews 90% Male
Nintendo Switch Stock
(Last Updated On: April 28, 2017)

Nintendo released their financial data recently over on their official Japanese website, recounting how they’ve shipped 2.7 million Nintendo Switch SKUs worldwide, and that they’ve moved a combined 3 million units of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U. Most shocking to some people was that despite the ESA consistently touting even splits between male and female gamers (by blurring the line with genres and platform interest), the financial report indicates that 90% of the members of the household interested in a Nintendo Switch skewed males.

The stat is available for viewing below.

The numbers don’t lie.

The largest demographic are males between the age of 25 and 34 years of age. The next majority is between 19 and 24, and then 35 through 44. The two smallest percentages were kids under 12 and adults over 45.

According to the statistical graph, it explains…

“From an email survey sent to consumers who linked a Nintendo Account to their Nintendo Switch system. Email recipients: about 800,000 /Response Rate: about 3.5% (as of April 17)
Question: What is the age and gender of the person in your household who had the strongest desire to purchase Nintendo Switch?”

Unlike the ESA, Nintendo didn’t try to muddle the data to prove a point. They’re trying to sell a product, and they need honest numbers so they know how to curate content out of the gate, and showcase the numbers to studios so they know how to target demographics on the Switch. This easily explains why Starbreeze was quick to port over Payday 2 to the Switch, since these are the kind of games that ultimately appeal to the specific demographics who appear in the chart above.

Those on NeoGaf were disappointed and angry at the stat given that the ESA had led them to believe that there’s an even split between core gamers in the marketplace between males and females. However, the reality is that – as linked to from KIAQuantic Foundry did an independent survey consisting of 270,000 participants and found that the data showed that females just like playing specific kinds of games, as evident in every other survey. Match-3 and casual games topped out on the charts, while RPGs were also favored amongst female gamers as well.

BioWare’s titles were also very popular among the female gamers, with Star Wars: The Old Republic and Dragon Age: Inquisition skewing higher above the average percentages in their respective categorical genres.

A lot of the typical responses were that women preferred customizing/creating their own character or playing as females in non-competitive roles. What’s interesting is that there was also a higher-than-average percentage of females who played Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. Quantic Foundry explained…

“Among Open World games, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is noticeably higher than the genre average (27% vs. 14%). And among Western RPGs, Dragon Age: Inquisition is also much higher than the group average (48% vs. 26%).”

What’s interesting about that stat is that Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate was reportedly one of the lowest selling entries in the series next to Assassin’s Creed: Rogue, according to IB Times, and other stats such as the listings on Game Revolution. Ubisoft blamed the sales on Assassin’s Creed Unity being a poor outing for the franchise, which impacted Syndicate’s sales, as reported by PlayStation Lifestyle.

In a way, this kind of shows that even though they had a larger than average amount of female consumers purchase the game compared to other open-world games, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate still sold less than one of the worst entries in the series, and lost a large portion of its male player base. What’s more is that the uptick from the female contingent was not enough to cover for the loss of the male consumer. Even two years removed from its release, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate still only has a moderate 100,000 more sales than Assassin’s Creed: Rogue, according to the Steam Spy charts, and is still one of the poorest selling mainline entries in the series.

So what does this all mean? It means that you can reach a female demographic adding female characters to certain kinds of games, and focusing more on story than out-and-out action or PvP-style competition (viz., games like Dota 2 and League of Legends have some of the lowest numbers of female players out of all the genres along with sports games, even with a lot of playable female characters).

However — even adding in playable females and focusing more on story than action in an AAA blockbuster title —  it looks like it’s still only going to reach a smaller market pool within the AAA sector compared to the standard AAA title geared toward males, or casual games geared toward females. If you temper your budget and revenue expectations for reaching a smaller market cap, you can go all-in chasing that market, but don’t expect Call of Duty numbers.

In Nintendo’s case, they seem to be explicitly saying that the 810,000 males who own the Switch in the U.S., might be a strong demographic that can be targeted by AAA studios while the iron is hot. According to their financial document, they say…

“These are the results of an internet survey that was given to consumers in the U.S. Market who had linked a Nintendo Account to their Nintendo Switch system after launch. It is clear to see that purchases are primarily made by male consumers in their 20s and early 30s. The results also show good interest among consumers in the 10 to 19 age range, which we see as a sign of our expanding demographics.”

I think Nintendo is hinting at wanting to milk that demographic since they seem to be willing to spend big money on the Switch as early adopters. Most commenters on NeoGaf and Reddit feel that the demographic slant will balance out once games like Pokemon and Animal Crossing become available.

I think more than anything, it definitely shows that males and females have very different buying habits, both as early adopters and as late adopters, along with their interest in certain genres. Studios should definitely be mindful of how they cater content to those markets if they actually want to grow brands or interest from specific market demographics. Now it’s just a matter of playing the waiting game to see which studios will take advantage of the Switch’s rapidly growing install base.


Ads (learn more about our advertising policies here)



About

Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • anon9370

    And presumably 95% of the 10% female purchasers bought it as a gift for a child. So why does Nintendo need to bend over backwards to cater to feminism again?

  • Caio Pontes

    “Those on NeoGaf were disappointed and angry”
    They always are. Also afraid. Always afraid one day they’ll stray from the hive and be eaten alive.

  • Michael

    And yet we need to pander all of our games for females… woo…..

    • Disqusted

      I think most females don’t even want to play the shitty female protagonists they come up with.

      When they say “female characters don’t sell”, it’s not because the characters are female, it’s because they tend to copy paste male characters and just switch genders, resulting in very unattractive and unappealing females.

      Or their general quality is half-assed, preachy and generic. But they blame “misogyny”, because it’s easier to do that then admit that they suck.

  • Disqusted

    By SJW logic, Nintendo is clearly bullying women away from their games and console. Very misogynistic!

    Are there any gender ratio stats for Japan? Skimmed through the PDF and didn’t see any.

    • Might pop up later. I don’t know why they’ve been so secretive about Japanese demographics. Seems like we get more info on Chinese gaming habits than South Korea and Japan.

      • Disqusted

        Maybe they don’t want to ruin the United States’ progressive wet dream by showing how South Korea and Japan have an actual near 50/50 ratio for male/female gamers without cooking the books and making up bullshit.

        Especially with how the West keeps harping on about how Japan is ultra racist and sexist. Wouldn’t be surprised if they’re the ones hiding the info. Gotta keep Westerners thinking WE’RE the progressive ones. Just forget about how we used to label femininity as a mental disorder and locked women up for it~

        I still think if they really wanted a 50/50 ratio in the West, they could just stop demonizing gaming. That’s probably the number one reason why females stay away from gaming: because FAKE NEWS spends so much time and effort painting gaming as a den of degenerates comprised of the filthiest, most useless, evil and violent dregs of society.

        Fact is, they don’t want a 50/50 ratio, they just want a scapegoat to bitch about.

        • I still think if they really wanted a 50/50 ratio in the West, they should just stop demonizing games. That’s probably the number one reason why females stay away from gaming.

          200% this. Why would a woman want to play games when everyone in the community is labeled as a rapist murderer? Or if you play games you’ll become a victim of a murdering rapist.

          • Disqusted

            Yeah. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it difficult to imagine the average Western society female admitting to friends that they’re a gamer, and trying to talk about games. I can imagine the kind of reactions they’d get. “Eww, you play games?? GROSS!! Don’t shoot and rape me!!”

            The Western mainstream has long been fostering a social environment where games are looked down upon as unacceptable. And I always remember that girl who wanted to become a game dev, but decided not to because the mainstream keeps insisting the game industry treats girls like shit. I’m sure that helps with the 50/50 ratio! She was pissed when she realized she’d been duped and it was too late for her to change careers.

            In contrast, when I watch random Japanese streams about anything, random women/girls (young and old!) and other people who look like they’ve never played games, all seem to know game titles, obscure game references, etc.. They keep surprising me with that. I wish I lived in a place where even obscure game references are general knowledge.

            Oh yeah, and this also reminds me of a sorta relevant story. One of my friends went to Evo a while back, and his sister insisted on tagging along. He told me his sister seemed to be one of very few real females at Evo (the rest all being trans), and people kept walking up to her to say that and compliment her. Kinda funny.

            Remembered one more vaguely relevant thing. When I studied at game college, they had all these female-exclusive special bonuses and offers (like every other college I wanted to apply to), but there were very little female students compared to the males. Maybe out of 150 or so students, about 15 were female?

            A bunch of both male and female students dropped out, for various reasons. After I graduated, I heard the coordinator was dating one of the female students. Don’t know if it was true, but wouldn’t be surprised.

            Anyway, bottom line is people can rant about gender ratios as much as they like, but it doesn’t change the fact that social/gender dynamics, or even just individual people’s interests, aren’t as simple as progressives want to believe. It really emphasizes how they only care about the numbers. I’m sure you already knew all that, though. Sorry if I’m rambling on again. Lacking sleep.

          • Ha no prob man. It’s better to rant and get it off your chest than to bottle it up and then explode on somebody after you hit that boiling point.

            But yeah, you’re spot on about the whole “Games are gross” stigma that games have picked up thanks to MSM and enthusiast media.

            It’s also sad because it does force a lot of women out of the space instead of bringing them in. I don’t know how much it’s affected things like Evo attendance, but you’re right that trans have become more commonplace within the FGC than actual females, which is just kind of sad as far as female participation is concerned.

          • Disqusted

            Thanks.

            I sometimes wonder how many guys become trans just because they want attention. I mean, you have people like John Flynt, for example, who LOVE attention.

            I stay away from fighting game communities because they seem filled with the type who want attention by beating others. So it kinda makes sense to me if there are lots of trans in that community.

            I’m a weirdo in that I don’t play fighting games to win, so much as because I enjoy them. I enjoy the gameplay and the feel of the combat. I like how the context of fighting game matches can create meaningful or entertaining situations. It doesn’t matter if I lost, if it was a good/fun battle. That sorta thing.

            Kinda sad that fighting games don’t catch on in general because they’re too complex for the average gamer. Tried to get so many friends into them, didn’t work. I don’t want fighting games to get simpler, either. Back when I first started playing SF2 in arcades, it took me months to get the basic fireball QCF down consistently.

            Speaking of fighters and average gamers, I always recall when I was at game college, I think I heard a guy say that SF4 gets old fast after you see all the endings. Who the hell buys a fighting game just to see the endings? May as well just look them up on YouTube.

            I’d imagine those people set the game to 1 star difficulty and then use nothing but sweeps and throws, until they’ve seen the endings and then the game gathers dust in a dark corner forever.

          • I always remember when I was at game college, I think I heard a guy say that SF4 gets old fast after you see all the endings. Who the hell buys a fighting game just to see the endings? May as well just look them up on YouTube.

            Wha?! That’s why I played through the King of Fighters games. The stories in those games (before Eolith took over) were great. But he’s right that SF4 isn’t a very deep game and I didn’t have much fun with it at all. A lot of fighting games aren’t very mechanically progressive, though. I still think about games with layered mechanics with hierarchical combos and counter-combos, like Versus or Tobal No. 1. Loved the complexity of those games.

          • Disqusted

            I really liked the story stuff in the older King of Fighters (loved all the possible team combinations, character interactions, etc), but I also really loved the gameplay. So it just seems silly to me to stop playing after you’ve seen the endings, when there’s so much gameplay.

            I don’t think the guy who complained about SF4 could play fighters at all. That’s what I mean by the average player who never really gets much out of a fighting game. Even I’m too lazy to learn complex systems in games like Guilty Gear nowadays, so I can sorta imagine how bad it must be for newbies and casuals.

            This reminds me of a story a friend told me during our high school days. One of his classmates kept boasting about how he would beat him at SF2, but when they finally played it, the classmate was shocked to see special moves – he had no idea they existed. My friend said, “he was over the moon when I did a spinning piledriver”. I always laugh when I recall that.

            I do agree that SF4 felt very bare bones. Returning characters had like, ~3 special moves, 1 super and 1 ultra? Way too little. Many recent fighters feel like they’re starting out with bare minimum and then add stuff as time goes on, just like SF2 -> SF2:CE -> SF2:Turbo, etc. I find it hard to go backwards like that, after playing much deeper fighters for so many years. You can tell a fighter is lacking in gameplay depth when they let you cancel pretty much anything into anything else.

            I bought KOF14 for cheap the other day. Most of my favorite characters are missing, but it’s probably the best recent fighting game I’ve played so far. They did a good job with the animations, feel of attacks, etc. Way, way better than Capcom. I think most of the returning characters feel like they have just enough gameplay depth to keep them interesting, but most of the newer characters feel very barebones and not interesting.

            The visual issues in KOF14 are really weird, though. They have subsurface scattering skin shaders and other material shaders in the prerenders, but not in the game itself? Is the PS4 incapable of handling 60fps with those shaders in combat? Really weird.

            I still think the older KOFs were better, though. I miss stuff like the crazy end bosses, the characters jumping onto the screen when it’s their turn, the characters cheering you on in the background and jumping in to assist, etc, etc. I can’t believe Geese and Rock don’t have a special intro in KOF14.

            By Versus you mean the crossover games? Or was there a game called Versus? I really liked Tobal No.1 and Tobal 2. Really loved the feel and the throw/throw counter system, and the dungeons. Kinda wish Squenix would bring that series back. I get an urge to replay it from time to time, although I’m too lazy to. I listen to the music sometimes, instead.

          • There was actually a game called Versus/Vs. on the PSX. An old forgotten game with ugly characters and a good mix of classic kung-fu fighting styles.

            https://youtu.be/NBEDSnGQ6Qc?t=199

          • Disqusted

            Never seen that game before. Thanks for the link. Back then I used to avoid anything THQ because of how bad their reputation was with SNES games, so maybe that’s why. Doesn’t look too bad. Virtua Fighter-ish.

            Tobal 2 never got ported to the West, right? I remember there was a fan translation patch. Man, Tobal 2 still looks good even now. I forgot it was a PS1 game.

            Tobal 1 looks great too. Watching videos now, haha.

          • I don’t remember much about Tobal No. 2, but I’ll need to check it out again. It’s been a long time.

            The thing about Versus (not really showcased in the video I linked) is that you could use a counter-counters… it was great. It made the fights look really, really dynamic but they were hard to pull off.

          • Disqusted

            Sounds good. I wish more games had counters and counter-counters. Can’t recall ever seeing many. Dead or Alive has counters (and rock-paper-scissors gameplay as Tobal), but no counter-counters, as far as I know.

            If I recall correctly, God Hand also had counter-counters, in that you could get out of enemy grabs (eg. suplex), but they could get out of your counters.

            Unlike Tobal 1, Tobal 2 uses gouraud shading instead of basic polygon shading, but it knocked the frame rate down. I think Tobal 1 is 60fps and Tobal 2 is 30fps? They also added chargeable projectile specials “which were banned in the first tournament”.

            I think the Tobal 1 soundtrack is by the Chrono Trigger composer (Yasunori Mitsuda?), 2’s music sounds totally different. They also changed the sound effects for 2. I think 1’s sound effects have more “oomph”.

            If I recall correctly, Tobal 1 only has a few dungeons, one of which had around 99 floors. Tobal 2’s quest mode is a lot more robust, with a town hub, lots of different dungeon areas, and a grand total of 200 playable enemies/characters. You can also customize character colors.

            Here’s a 10 year old video on YouTube. There’s a better quality one by someone else, but this one has combat audio:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCU5ZmUXLfc

            Kinda sad that in 10 years its only managed to get 73k views. Looks like the only Tobal video with more views is TheSwitcher’s Tobal video at 133k views.

            Another video showing the quest mode:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtU4p4wqd8s

          • Nice find.

            Gosh that brings back memories. Amazing how we just don’t get a lot of lighthearted adventure games these days. Lots of copy pastas instead.

          • Disqusted

            Tobal quest mode had a ton of mechanics, too. All those items, and being able to throw them at enemies, and have them thrown back at you, etc. Really feels like old games had much better game design.

          • I’ve been following the FGC scene for a while now, so I can confirm there really aren’t many trans players overall. Not out of a lack of trying, but because they still make up a tiny percentage of the population. Add on top of that the fact the FGC is not really for casual players, and it’s even lower.

  • Cinj

    The demographics don’t lie: 25-34 year olds are the ones most likely to have both the nostalgia and spending money necessary to run out and buy what is essentially a Zelda machine at the moment.

    This is not a slam against the console. I own one and I’m 34.

  • Mr.Towel

    What I find particularly interesting in this survey is the age range. Basically 15 to 45. If this trend continues, and Nintendo shows any brain, it’s very likely that the switch library gets more similar to the other two consoles instead of just child friendly titles. That would be a major change in their marketing and mode of operation.

  • Gozu Tennoh

    There should be no equality in entertainment, only target audiences (!!!). Noone gets what they really want otherwise.

    • Disqusted

      So much this. I keep seeing idiots trying to pander to everyone, and they just end up making tepid crap that alienates everyone.

  • Most commenters on NeoGaf and Reddit feel that the demographic slant will balance out once games like Pokemon and Animal Crossing become available.

    Even if it does change things, I doubt it will make a significant difference. Considering the male demographic takes up 90% of Switches, chances are more likely that women who have boyfriends will just play on their Switch instead of buying their own.

    A more important point should be mentioned here. Do you remember the advertisements they made? How they tried to equally represent all demographics, whether by gender or by race? Well, on the gender side of things, it was a complete failure. When will companies get the hint? Even if you market something towards women by including them in advertisements, you’re still not going to guarantee a sale from them!

    • Well, on the gender side of things, it was a complete failure. When will companies get the hint?

      They won’t.

      They’ll keep listening to the media because they won’t want to be labeled sexist/misogynist/racist/tansphobic(tm) and so they’ll keep on pretending to be “inclusive” and “diverse” to keep the SJW harpies at bay.

      But I’m glad Nintendo stopped pretending there’s a 50/50 parity between genders when it comes to first adopters. They’re basically saying “Here is who owns the console: make games for them.”

      • But I’m glad Nintendo stopped pretending there’s a 50/50 parity between genders when it comes to first adopters.

        Except for Treehouse. They’re probably more triggered than anyone else.

        • Kiryu

          Treehouse gets triggered by the slightest things,a piece of tofu would trigger them because it’s white.

          • Jack Thompson

            >Implying it wouldn’t trigger them because it’s Asian and hasn’t been turned into a hamburger for safe consumption by westerners.

        • anon9370

          Treehouse is pure fucking cancer. And now they’re essentially dictating the entire development process to be free of ‘problematic’ content and embrace intersectional issues.

    • Disqusted

      That’s a good point that people tend not to consider: women tend to use their boyfriend’s stuff.

      • And I reckon if more people brought this up, SJWs would complain about that being a bad thing. In reality, it really isn’t; I see nothing inherently wrong with couples sharing a console.

        • Disqusted

          Yeah, I was just reminded of some girls in college who took advantage of their boyfriends’ hardware. They probably wouldn’t have done as well without their boyfriends’ help, but nobody ever talks about that kind of stuff. They only pay attention to the person in front/on top, and ignore all the other people propping them up.

      • Jack Thompson

        But the thing is, if they didn’t have a boyfriend, would they have bought it themselves? Would the guy without a girlfriend have bought it for himself? We have to consider this. If the main user of the console is someone other than it’s buyer, the survey likely accounts for that, otherwise we wouldn’t have results for the younger ages. These kinds of cases wouldn’t be nearly enough to offset the 9:1 ratio we have here, so the survey can be used as predictive of who the primary users and buyers of the consoles are. Based on the results of the survey, if the console is bought in that sort of relationship it’s more likely that the guy is the primary user, and that the girl wouldn’t be interested in it if her boyfriend wasn’t.

  • ParasiteX

    Just make games fun. And if women happen to not like that.. well then they can go fuck off.. Make casual match 3 shit instead if you’re so obsessed with selling games to women.

    • Disqusted

      When I talk about making games fun, people say “but fun is subjective”. I don’t think that even matters when game devs aren’t even trying to make fun games. They should at least have that mindset!

  • Bamf

    90% male?

    No, no. You guys are wrong. Didn’t you see all the women in the Switch commercial?

    Girls love to play motion control simulating hand jobs.

    • Disqusted

      I hear girls love devices that vibrate. I wonder if the statistics ever explain why?

  • Vrenna

    This data simply shows that the average gamer is an Adult Male.
    So basically all the censorship to protect the children and all the pandering to women is proven ideological and nonsensical.

    • Jack Thompson

      >This data simply shows that the average gamer is an Adult Male.
      It shows that the average Nintendrone is an adult male.