This is the third of a five part series. Click here to read part 2!
So Nintendo fans proudly proclaimed that both Splatoon and Yoshi’s Wooly World are still in the PAL charts. This is all nice and well. But that will change soon. Which begs the question: Why does Nintendo release only a few games each year?
I get it, Nintendo has no 3rd party support. That shouldn’t matter though. They have dozens of studios, thousands of people working on games, dozens of brilliant franchises. So how come they only release ten games for Wii U each year? The answer is simple: They go the safe route.
Which is fine, if you have a solid install base that is supported by other software. Indies are nice and well on Wii U but their output is largely the same. Sure, there are brilliant games like Armillo or the upcoming FAST Racing Neo but most indie games are multiplatform and indies don’t sell consoles (yet).
The thing is, Nintendo could bolster their catalogue with some great 2nd party titles, something they did with the N64. Back then Rare released almost two games every year.
But I want to go a different route here. Let me talk about Zelda before I close this train of throught. Zelda, for all intents and purposes, was supposed to be 2015 big winter release and I am glad it got delayed. If Nintendo is smart (they probably are not) they’ll release the game in early 2016 instead, March to May would be best. Because during the fall season, everyone and their mom tries to sell their game. Fall is always cramped.
Zelda sells. Period. It does not matter if you release it in November or in May. It will sell and I argue that it will sell even more in May or June simply because nothing else is released there. So that would be the best move.
In terms of software drought that means instead of putting more money and more teams into more new games, Nintendo could space out their release schedule differently. It is true that the fall release schedule looks solid and people always buy games in the fall/winter season but they also buy games during the spring and summer season – games like Arkham Knight prove that – and I hope Legend of Kay Anniversary sells well because of it.
Let’s take the EU first party release list for 2015 for example: We had Captain Toad, Kirby, Splatoon and Yoshi up to this point. Then we get Devil’s Third in August. In the Fall we get Mario Maker, Fatal Frame (Project Zero), Mario Tennis, StarFox and Xenoblade. I suppose Fatal Frame during Halloween is a given, even if Halloween is not celebrated in most of Europe.
Now is it just me or isn’t it strange that Xenoblade AND StarFox are positioned as this years big holiday release? I know where my money will go – I double dipped on the original Xenoblade Chronicles so that answer is a given. Then there is Mario Tennis which will probably launch in October for all those that don’t care about Fatal Frame. Nobody cares for Devil’s Third anyway (I will review this game on my blog, free from internet hate as somebody who actually thinks the hate is unjustified as objectively as I can) and Mario Maker is a game everybody will buy no matter when they release it (September makes sense of course due to the 30th anniversary of Mario).
Now Nintendo could have spaced those releases better. At least we got Yoshi now and not in the fall unlike our american friends who, for whatever reason, will get it in October. Sorry ’bout that, friends, but at least you got Captain Toad a month earlier.
Now, Nintendo could have spaced that differently. For example release Fatal Frame in the Spring. Work with indies to create an “indie month” something they did try but it was only for a week. Should have been a month of different indie titles getting sales, but maybe next year. Release Xenoblade in June to tie us over the summer drought. The game is already out in Japan and was in devlopment for years, if they would have planned ahead they could have made the translation in time. Now all of a sudden you have games out all year. Coupled with the very sparse 3rd party support and the pretty solid indie support you actually have a small but solid lineup for the entire year.
This is where we go back to Zelda and my hope that they release it in the spring or summer months to tie us over the obvious summer drought of 2016. I know most people are speculating a cross gen release with NX but for all I know about the NX (which is slightly more than you do but not enough to be sure) I would NOT count on that 😉
I expect a few more small game announcements over the next few months for early 2016. If Nintendo is smart, they release a new game every five to six weeks until E3 and put out Zelda just after E3 is over to aid us over the summer. Use E3 to announce new games for the remainder of the year and early 2017, preferably some 2nd party titles. They obviously can’t compete with the output of Sony and Microsoft but at this point they don’t have to. They just have to make sure that the games they do release actually sell.
Come back next time for the fourth part of this five part series when I talk about HD remasters^^