Let‘s Break Down the December Nintendo eShop Best Sellers

Before diving into the full rankings, it‘s helpful to understand exactly what the Nintendo eShop is. The eShop serves as the digital store for purchasing downloadable Nintendo Switch games. Gamers can browse and directly buy games to download without needing to get a physical cartridge.

Publishers make available both brand-new releases as well as older back catalog titles on the eShop. The chart rankings provide visibility into not just what‘s selling, but also hints at gameplay trends across Nintendo‘s fanbase and the gaming landscape broadly.

Now let‘s examine which games won over Switch gamers‘ dollars in December 2022!

Pokémon Remains King of Nintendo IP

Franchise sales data makes crystal clear that Pokémon still reigns supreme as Nintendo‘s top household gaming brand. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, the two versions of the 9th generation RPG released on November 18th, 2022, captured the #1 and #3 eShop sales spots for December.

As expected, the Nintendo magic formula still works incredibly well:

  • New generation of Pokémon to catch and battle
  • An all-new region to explore, the open-world Paldea
  • Exclusive version differences encouraging trading between players

Check the ridiculous launch month sales numbers across physical and digital formats:

GameLaunch Month Global Sales
Pokémon Scarlet7.01 million
Pokémon Violet7.00 million

These figures even beat Pokémon Sword and Shield‘s 6 million sales at launch in 2019.

Clearly the series continues resonating with its established RPG mechanics blending creature collection, turn-based battles, trading/sharing and adventure stories. Developer GameFreak evolves the formula just enough with each new generation to make long-time Poké-fanatics hungry for more without alienating newcomers either.

So yes, Scarlet and Violet topping the eShop charts surprises no one. We can expect these titles anchoring best sellers well into 2023 and beyond. Poké-fever forever remains incurable!

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Cruises Onward Five Years Strong

Now onto runner-up finisher Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Originally launched alongside the Switch itself back in 2017, the iconic arcade kart racer impressively hangs on as a top seller half a decade later! Let‘s examine why Mario Kart‘s winning formula maintains impressive momentum:

  • Simple to pickup gameplay with enough technique mastery potential to stay rewarding
  • Local and online multiplayer focus enouraging competition with friends
  • Regular free updates adding new characters, karts and tracks to the mix
  • A perennial family and party favorite guaranteeing continued newcomer appeal

In 2022, Nintendo built hype by dropping a paid "Booster Course Pass" subscription unlocking an additional 48 remastered tracks on top of the base game‘s 32 courses. This keeps gameplay feeling fresh for veterans while also working like a "best hits" collection for recent fans just coming aboard.

December 2022 worldwide sales eclipsed 5.4 million units lifetime-to-date. Monthly revenues for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe now average between $20-25 million. Its lifetime total should cross 50 million sometime in 2023!

So Mario Kart remains that rare evergreen gaming juggernaut that never seems to fade from popularity. Maybe Nintendo feels less urgency rushing out a brand new Mario Kart 9 when the current entry keeps chugging along at victory lane!

FIFA Scores off World Cup Momentum

EA Sports‘ football/soccer simulation FIFA 23 positioned nicely at #4 for December likely thanks in part to the real world 2022 World Cup. Many gamers were feeling the soccer fever in the build up to crowning a new country champion on the pitch in Qatar through mid-December.

The Switch may receive a legacy edition without as many next-gen bells and whistles as PlayStation or Xbox. However visible licensing delivering official team names, kits and player rosters keeps FIFA essential for footy fans.

Launch month worldwide unit sales approached 6 million, driven heavily by immense interest across Europe and Latin American countries especially. With the World Cup now over, it will be telling to track whether FIFA 23 maintains strong eShop sales momentum heading into 2023.

If interest drops off quicker than previous entries, it may suggest brand fatigue finally setting in for the nearly 3 decade old series. Potentially poor word of mouth regarding legacy edition quality could also explain reduced sales velocity. EA may need to overhaul its Switch approach to avoid getting put back on its heels in the soccer gaming battle!

Just Dance Grooves to Annual Holiday Beat

Ubisoft‘s long-running Just Dance franchise captured 7th place for December eShop charts. The dance game series has become something of a video gaming holiday tradition over the past decade plus. Families looking to burn off that holiday feast energy gravitate towards Just Dance‘s formula marrying silly living room motion routines with chart-topping songs.

Impressively, 2022‘s Just Dance offering included tunes across multiple fan bases spanning Korean boy band BTS, reggaeton singer Bad Bunny, pop megastars Harry Styles and Dua Lipa all the way to hard rockers like Limp Bizkit! Casting such a wide pop culture net helps enable even casual players quickly find a song in their musical wheelhouse to dance along with.

Total lifetime franchise sales across all console platforms recently eclipsed a jaw-dropping 144 million units moved! While not posting "Call of Duty" level heat, Just Dance‘s family friendly appeal guarantees annual holiday season success as a party ice breaker.

Among Us Stows Away as Surprise Sleeper Hit

And now a deeper cut…rather, spaceship! Among Us originally released in 2018 as a modestly popular free-to-play online/local multiplayer title on PC and mobile. At core lies an innovative gameplay structure:

  • Play as one of a spaceship crew trying to prepare for launch
  • Complete various maintenance and troubleshooting puzzle tasks like fixing wiring or starting reactors
  • Here‘s the twist: a random few players are secretly and silently…Imposters!
  • Imposters seek discretely sabotage efforts thwarting launch through sneaky subterfuge and stealth murder
  • Crew must deduce who the imposters are through wary cooperation and clever logical deduction

If it sounds like a video game adaptation of classic party board game "Clue" or "Mafia", you aren‘t far off! Except playable completely anonymously with friends.

Among Us slowly cultivated a dedicated player base over 2+ years until 2020 when hugely influential Twitch streamers and YouTubers "discovered" the game. Their viral shoutouts suddenly shot Among Us to stratospheric attention as viewers loved both playing along and watching their favorite personalities yelling, lying and backstabbing each other.

Fast forward to December 2022 where Among Us now charts at #10…an immense achievement for an indie passion project from three person development team Innersloth! By riding a once-in-lifetime viral popularity wave expertly, Among Us shows scrappy indies can absolutely still breakthrough even in AAA competitive video game release calendars.

Holiday Discounts Drive Seasonal Sale Surges

The packed winter holiday shopping schedule brings intense competition eyeing gamer dollars. We glimpse evidence that Nintendo eShop holiday promotions directly translated to chart boosts for some legacy evergreen titles. Allow me to demonstrate:

  • Mario Party Superstars offered a festive Winter Sale bundled with Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for just $83 (~30% off individually)
  • Adventure platformer Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope touted 30% off for Game Awards digital nominees
  • Multiplayer party favorite Super Mario 3D World + Browser‘s Fury sold for a stocking stuffer-friendly $41 (regular $60)

So while the heavy new release slate lit up sales tracking charts all on their own holiday inertia, crafty eShop discounting clearly enticed Switch fans to revisit some neglected back catalog gems too. This proves Nintendo remains masterful at maximizing sales opportunities leveraging đœ“ existing IP strength across their unrivaled catalog depth.

The Cloud Gaming Wild Card Threatening Marketplace Dominance

Nintendo sits firmly in the driver‘s seat boasting over 114 million Switch/Switch Lite hardware units shipped as of December 2022. Combined with self-published evergreen smash hits plus a friendly on-ramp for passionate indie studios, everything looks rosy.

However, inevitable gaming landscape evolution through cloud streaming potentially seriously challenges their closed 1st party software/hardware garden strategy…

Specifically, the emergence of cloud platforms enabling AAA new release experiences playable instantly across nearly any device. Think Netflix…except for video games. Early movers like Sony PlayStation Now, Google Stadia or Amazon Luna stream big budget games traditionally demanding expensive console power instead harnessing server-side cloud computing gruntwork.

This approach breaks the shackles tying software to discrete console product lifecycles and limitations. New Xbox or PlayStation games play on smartphones, while Nintendo exclusives remain trapped on Switch hardware only.

While the average person likely still prefers owning personal media locally, convenience and accessibility does win over mainstream audiences eventually. Music streaming overtaking traditional physical/digital purchasing represents the blueprint.

Nintendo not having their own mature cloud infrastructure integrating current eShop Switch exclusives risks losing relevance if players shift towards platform flexible cloud game streaming instead. Will Nintendo evolve fast enough strategically? Or watch cloud migrations siphon away eShop dominance finally denting that bulletproof Nintendo magic formula armor?

Let‘s Recap Key Takeaways

We just went on quite a eShop chart analysis journey spanning household name franchises, scrappy indie comebacks, holiday discount strategy and future cloud gaming forecasting! Let‘s quickly recap core takeaways:

  • Flagship Nintendo IP like Pokémon and Mario Kart shoot straight to the top carried by refined formulas and continually updated content
  • Surprise breakout momentum happens but remains incredibly rare requiring winning gameplay innovation matched with viral player amplification to breakthrough
  • Holiday eShop promotions effectively play into Nintendo‘s first party catalog strength incentivizing dormant purchases
  • Cloud gaming early momentum may force an infrastructure and service model evolution to prevent losing captive Switch eShop software/hardware profits

If nothing else, hopefully readers feel as if we were two gamer friends chatting over Slurpees at 7-Eleven dissecting the unfolding Nintendo eShop gaming climate! What games caught YOUR eye during December‘s eShop holiday sales bonanza? Let me know on Twitter – I always love friendly gaming debates and chatter!

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