There was a lot of information packed into Nintendo President Satoru Iwata's speech yesterday. Beyond announcing over a hundred games in "development" for the Wii and DS, he also said they expect to sell 14 million Wii units by March 2008 and there was another little tidbit of information in there about Virtual Console sales. As Chris Kohler of Game|Life points out, the sales of VC games are actually declining. The VC has sold 3.3 million games. 1.5 million games in the first two months of the console and 1.8 in the last three, which means people aren't delving into the retro library like they were last year even as the user base of the system continues to increase dramatically.
What does this mean to Nintendo? Probably nothing. The VC is a basic digital distribution center of games that take up almost no space. Given initial sales of the titles, the cost of development for the VC's infrastructure in all probability is already paid off. There's hardly any conversion or work that goes into making these titles for the VC. It's ancient code being sold for $5 to $10 and it all goes straight into Nintendo's rainy day fund. Nintendo made their money off these games, in some cases, over two decades ago. This is just another run around the track for these games to pick up extra cash. And they're performing their task quite admirably with hardly any promotion or marketing pushing them on consumers.