Nintendo Spent Half as Much on TV Advertising as PlayStation and Xbox This Year, But It Paid Off


A new report on video game television advertising spending has gone up on, providing some interesting numbers.

Per the report, the industry as a whole spent $319.6 million on TV ads, a nearly 15 percent decrease from the previous year. As a result, viewership numbers have also dropped, down about 27 percent in ad airings. That said, numbers still came up big for all companies involved.

One of them was Nintendo. The report indicates that the company spent $46 million on its advertising, highlighting both the Switch and some of its exclusive titles, such as Pokemon Sword and Shield. It was quite effective, despite the fact that both Sony and Microsoft spent over double that.

Sony contributed the most, around $108.5 million, in its advertising for the year, despite a decreased budget of around 45 percent year-over-year. And Microsoft didn’t let up on its Xbox advertising, spending around $100 million to show off both its systems and the hit sequel Gears 5.

All of these ads created more impressions overall. Over 4.8 billion, in fact, which is a nearly 187 percent jump over the previous year.

So why the change in spending? And, for that matter, how could Nintendo be as effective with half the budget? The report notes that “spend and impressions don’t always go hand-in-hand.”

Ed Tomasi, co-founder and manager for esports lifestyle company Subnation, believes this could tie into a change come next year. “While the community can still expect cyclical sports releases like NBA, FIFA, and Madden, this overall move towards the franchise model with additional transmedia experiences similar to the film industry will most likely result in a more drastic fluctuation of advertising spend on a year by year basis.”

A good chunk of TV spending was directed towards sports programs, with the NFL leading the way with an estimated $61.2 million—a nearly 15 percent boost from 2018. Surprisingly enough, Spongebob Squarepants was a good source for Nintendo’s ads, as it spent $7.08 million in advertising during that show alone.

So where does this lead going into 2020? Big titles will arrive during the first half of the year, like Final Fantasy VII Remake, Marvel’s Avengers and Doom Eternal. But how this will reflect in television advertising has yet to be seen… although we’re not too far off from possible surprises during the Super Bowl. You may recall that Nintendo left its mark during the event with its ad for the Nintendo Switch back in 2017. You can watch it below.