Nintendo Reveals The 10 Best-Selling Indie Games On Switch

Celeste.

Players of indie games on Switch are driven in great part by "nostalgia," Nintendo said today at a Game Developers Conference event at which it revealed the top 10 best-selling Switch indie games, a list that includes Celeste, Stardew Valley, and Shovel Knight.

"Nintendo fans really tap into those games that share inspiration, or have a sense of, nostalgia, with tried and true franchises, maybe games they grew up playing when they were younger," said Damon Baker, Nintendo's frontman for its indie efforts, at the San Francisco event on Tuesday morning.

Baker did not say how many units each game sold, or list the games in any particular order, but the top 10 best-selling indies on Switch, he said, were: SteamWorld Dig 2, Stardew Valley, Kamiko, Celeste, Fast RMX, Golf Story, Enter the Gungeon, Overcooked, NBA Playgrounds, and Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove.

Other trends that Nintendo sees among the top-selling Switch indie titles, Baker said, were multiplayer gameplay options and the novelty of being able to take a PC gaming experience on the go.

Golf Story.

All this indie success has had an effect on the company’s earnings: For the first time in Nintendo’s history, Baker said, third-party download game sales were higher (measured in units) than third-party packaged game sales. That’s somewhat apples-to-oranges since it includes games that were only released digitally, but it’s still a milestone for a company that has struggled historically with downloads versus cartridges.

"We've got kids in dorm rooms, we've got young adults, we've got dudebros," Baker said of the wide-ranging Switch audience. "These are people very familiar with consuming digital content." The convenience of having a digital library to take on the go and not have to carry around cartridges, Baker said, is causing fans to buy digitally on Switch in greater numbers.

As more and more games land on the Switch eShop, it's becoming more and more difficult to sort through the inadequately-designed digital storefront to find good games. Baker had nothing to announce about the eShop today but said that "steps are being taken over the course of this year to improve discoverability and visibility" and attempt to fix the "limitations of Nintendo eShop."

Baker also announced that in addition to the games shown on this morning's Nindies showcase video, Hyper Light Drifter, Nidhogg 2, and Crashlands will also be coming to Switch.

Of course, being an event focused on indie games means that Switch Online and Virtual Console were outside the scope of Baker's remarks, but if you ask me, if a sense of nostalgia is truly driving Switch game purchases, it would behoove Nintendo to get its actual classic game library available on the Switch as quickly as it possibly can.


Comments

    How can it be so hard to make the Switch store better?!?!
    The 3DS one and Wii U ones already surpass it. It’s nigh useless unless you read about a title you want in an article like this and then search the store.
    Just get it sorted, Ninty. You’re embarrassing yourselves!

    How can the PS4 still have a store that just entirely fails to load about one time in three?

    It seems nuts, but game companies are terrible at making responsive, informative, intuitive UIs.

      It's not just games companies. Every digital storefront I've used generally has one thing they do really nicely and the rest is a usability nightmare. I can't figure out if it's just that there a lot of bad UX designers out there or companies don't hire UX designers.

      Not really looking to defend them, but I can say that I've never had issues with the PS store failing to load on my PS4. I actually find it quite responsive. I have had issues with the browser based store locking up if I add to cart then go back too many times though (e.g. When adding monthly PS+ titles).

      I did have those loading issues with the xbone. Given that my downloads would spike to max speed then drop to trickle, I suspect there was some kind of hardware issue.

    For the first time in Nintendo’s history, Baker said, third-party download game sales were higher (measured in units) than third-party packaged game sales.

    Well of course. The Wii and DS digital offerings were barely there, no one actually bought a Wii U so there weren't any third party games to sell, and 3DS hardware and digital infrastructure was still stuck in the late 90s so was a bit of a non-starter. With the Switch they got it mostly right (still lots of room for improvement) and also the system is actually selling (unlike Wii U) and people are actually buying third party games and not just sticking to Nintendo's output (unlike everything since basically the SNES).

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