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Poll: 4 of the 5 most wanted holiday games are Nintendo Switch exclusives

With new consoles on the way from Sony and Microsoft next year, it’s Nintendo that people are excited about this holiday season, according to a new poll.

An exclusive Digital Trends/YouGov poll surveying parents of gamers found that only 6 percent of them plan to spend less on gaming this holiday season in anticipation of next year’s consoles. When it comes to games that people want to buy this year, Nintendo Switch titles dominated the competition. No other game publisher comes close.

According to the poll, four of the top five most desired titles are Switch exclusives. This includes Mario Kart 8, Super Mario Odyssey, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Pokémon Sword/Shield. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows, is the fourth-most desired game this holiday season and the non-Nintendo outlier.

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The poll found that six of the top 10 most desired games are Switch exclusives, as well. Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening take the sixth and seventh spots.

While Nintendo games are the headliners, there’s plenty of money to go around. Households plan to spend an average of $180 on new games or in-game content this holiday. Spending on in-game content — also known as microtransactions — is noticeably stronger this year than in years past, with shoppers reporting that $2 out of every $5 spent will go toward in-game content for games they already own.

Overall, 40% of parents say they plan to spend more on gaming gifts this year than last, and 46% expect to spend the same. Only 14% expect to spend less.

Not waiting for next year’s new consoles

Only 42 percent of parents are aware of the next-gen consoles slated to arrive next year, according to the Digital Trends/YouGov poll. Awareness of the PlayStation 5 is slightly ahead of Xbox Project Scarlett, at 37 percent to 32 percent.

Of those aware of the upcoming consoles, 49 percent said the next-gen release will have no impact on their purchase intent. However, 18 percent said they’re now more likely to purchase a Nintendo Switch this year. Another 22 percent said they’d wait until next year, and 18 percent said they’d purchase an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 next year at a reduced price.

“Still a year away from release, most parents remain unaware of new Xbox and PlayStation console rollouts, and even among those who know they’re coming, about half say it has no impact on their holiday purchases of new games or consoles this year,” said Jeff Morris, senior director at YouGov. “But among the other half, they’re equally likely to wait for the new console, wait for a discounted Xbox One or PS4, or choose to buy a Nintendo Switch this year.”

Overall, Nintendo is now almost tied with the PlayStation 4. Twenty-one percent of households spending money on gaming this holiday season plan to buy a Switch, while 22 percent plan to buy a PlayStation 4. The Xbox One trails, with only 17 percent planning to buy Microsoft’s console.

Switch interest is strongest in households that have young gamers, with 40% of parents planning to buy a Switch for a gamer between 5 and 7 years old.

It’s all good news for Nintendo. The Switch, which arrived later than the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, hasn’t sold as many units in total as its competitors. It outsold the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One over the last two holiday seasons, however, and it looks like that’ll continue into 2019. At this rate, the Switch could soon overtake the Xbox One.

This information comes from an exclusive poll that sampled 1,522 parents of gamers between the ages of 5 through 18 who play video games at least 1 hour per week and plan to purchase new games or game content. The margin of error for this poll is under 3 percent.

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Matthew S. Smith
Matthew S. Smith is the former Lead Editor, Reviews at Digital Trends. He previously guided the Products Team, which dives…
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