Nintendo 64 Donkey Kong 64 Bundle

Some bundles feature specially made hardware or include special accessories.

Bundles are a common strategy in the video game market. Video game consoles virtually always come with a controller, but bundling in the video game industry often includes both hardware and one or more pieces of software. Often, a specific model of the hardware will be made for the bundle in question, or a necessary peripheral will be included in a bundle with a game. Bundles are often cheaper as a unit than as the sum of their components, providing incentive to purchase them.

History Edit

Bundling video games with consoles goes at least as far back as the Atari-era, when consoles were bundled with games like Combat. Later, the NES and SNES frequently would be bundled with a Super Mario Bros game, the Genesis would often be bundled with a Sonic the Hedgehog game, and the Game Boy was typically bundled with Tetris in the early years of its life.

With the advent of the fifth generation, bundling became the exception rather than the rule. That said, many retailers would bundle consoles with games expected to sell them. For example, the Saturn was often bundled with Virtua Fighter 2, helping lead to the game's excellent sales. The Nintendo 64 was a more frequent target of bundling, both due to Nintendo's intentional bundling of a game with a specially colored system, and the fact that many N64's were sold by major individual games such as Mario Kart 64 and Pokemon Stadium rather than by an extensive library of hits.

Pikachu Game Boy Color

Starting in the late 90's, many systems were bundled with Pokemon games, featuring hardware themed after the title monsters such as Pikachu. This was particularly common with the Game Boy series, but also included Nintendo consoles, including the Nintendo 64 and eventually the GameCube. As recently as 2011, a Pokemon-themed Game Boy Nitro was released bundled with Pokemon Black/White.

Bundling continued with ocassional regularity during the sixth generation. Sega would sometime bundle their Dreamcast system with Sonic games, including a 10th anniversary Dreamcast bundled with Sonic Adventure. Nintendo, meanwhile, featured a variety of official bundles after the first year or so of the GameCube's life, starting with a Wind Waker themed GameCube, and eventually including various colored consoles for many of their first party games. The Game Boy Advance was officially bundled infrequently, though there were plenty of retail bundles available.

During the seventh generation, the nature of bundling was changed by the inclusion of games on hard drives. Purchasers of the Revolution would be able to play several minigames built into the system. Additionally, early higher grade models came with one of several select games, though the systems were rarely specifically designed with that game in mind like with the colored GameCube models. The Pluto had few bundles in its life, a fact possibly attributable to its early limited supply of major titles. The Game Boy Nitro, on the other hand, was bundled with literally dozens of titles over its life, from first party Mario and Pokemon games to third party Dragon Quest and Monster Hunter games.

Since its launch, the Game Boy 3DS has ocassionally been bundled with a few games, including Mario Kart 3D, New Super Mario Bros 2, and Animal Crossing: New Leaf. These games have either been bundled in the traditional retail fashion or are preloaded onto the Game Boy's SD card. Likewise, the Stream has been bundled with New Super Mario World, and the Eclipse with one of multiple first-party titles depending on the region in question.