Nintendo spent around $46 million on TV advertising in the US this year

Nintendo got some great returns this year.

Image via Nintendo

This year was a massive and weird time period for the gaming industry in terms of advertising. But after looking strictly at end-of-year estimates, it appears that 2019 was another successful year for Nintendo. 

Over the last two years, Nintendo has prioritized television advertisements as a way to push its game and console sales in the U.S. This trend started in 2018 when Nintendo contended with Sony’s spending. And in 2019, the company spent around $46 million on TV ads in the U.S. alone, according to technology website VentureBeat.

That total is less than what both Microsoft and Sony spent on their ad campaigns for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 respectively throughout the year, but the Nintendo still generated around 3.07 billion TV ad impressions despite that. In comparison, TV ad measurement site iSpot.tv shows that PlayStation remained on top for another year with $108.5 million spent while Xbox more than doubled its own spending from 2019, shelling out around $100 million.

Nintendo led the charge in advertising on kid-friendly programming too, spending about $7 million airing ads on shows like Spongebob Squarepants and Disney Channel content. Meanwhile, the NFL made up nearly 20 percent of the total ad expenditure for the gaming industry, coming in at $61 million, which was a 14-percent increase from last year. 

With releases like Super Mario Maker 2 and Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Nintendo had a dominant summer for ad impressions when it pushed some of the biggest games in its lineup along with normal console ads. The fall and winter seasons were more focused on Pokémon Sword and Shield and earlier releases like Luigi’s Mansion 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake. 

Numbers for some of the Pokémon and holiday ads aren’t available yet, but it’s unlikely that they’ll dethrone Xbox’s massive Gears of War 5 campaign that put out a commercial using Evanescence’s “The Chain.” It reportedly pulled in more than one billion ad impressions on TV alone, with close to 3,000 airings on programs like SportsCenter and both MLB and NFL programming. 

Next year is still rather barren in terms of Nintendo’s release schedule, however, since we only know about one big title coming out: Animal Crossing: New Horizons in March. Something like Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training might also have a fun early ad to push impressions for parents hoping to get their kids hooked on brain puzzles, but it looks like Xbox and PlayStation will dominate the start of the new decade in terms of ads.