Smash Bros. delay part of overall strategy shift at Nintendo

Release datesAre you one of those people that believes all the good games should come out in Q4? Nintendo was, once upon a time, but just like all the other disrupting they’re doing to the industry right now, they’ve decided to turn their sights to the calendar too. No, I’m not talking Calendar DS Fun Time Touch or some other wacky new title, I’m talking release dates.

Nintendo of America’s outgoing vice president of marketing says that the company is “starting to look at the annual calendar differently” in terms of release date timing, rather than just stuffing everything in Q4. Speaking to MTV Multiplayer, Perrin Kaplan reacted to a question about Smash Bros. Brawl’s proposed release date – a Sunday, 10th February – by saying, “Why not? … Sunday is actually a really good launch day of the week for products. And I think we’re actually starting to look at the annual calendar differently.

Now that I think about it, Tuesday stinks as a release date for anything. I’m at work and when I leave at 5 I have the gym, dinner, already purchased games and sleep on my mind. High school kids have homework. Adults (meaning older than my twenty-something years) have kids and more work. I don’t want to make the 20 minute trip from my apartment to go buy a game at Target. And this may also sound crazy, but I don’t like chasing down things during the holiday season. A) they’re usually sold out and B) there’s always a line. A game like Smash Bros., riding the coattails of Galaxy, will sell in February, or March, or whenever.

We’ll just have to see if Nintendo can be as successful at disrupting the release cycle as thy have been with software development, interaction and audience, won’t we?

Either that, or Kaplan was talking out of her ass again.


  1. I think they feel they have enough big titles (Mario Galaxy and some decent third party stuff i.e. guitar hero) to keep their momentum going this holiday. Then after Christmas when most of the platforms are experiencing a slow down in releases they will be hitting with major system selling games like smash, fit, and Mario kart. I have a feeling this will be to capitalize on gamers who are still avoiding the Wii that may be looking for something to play once they get done with the holiday titles on the other platforms. This may also be to ensure that those who get the hardware for Christmas don’t feel that they don’t have anything to look forward to until the following Christmas.

  2. I think Friday is a better date .. you get it after work/school and play all weekend! Plus, Amazon or online retailers can then send it to you and you won’t have to wait till Monday.

  3. Good point, Hunter. It’s not “original IP,” but Mario Kart Wii is due out pretty soon too. That will sustain the wave even further into 2008. Plus, it has motorcycles. WIN.

  4. A May release of Mario Kart would be great for the summer. That, or Animal Crossing Wii.

  5. Isn’t it still a fact that 1st Party software is huge on Nintendo systems. Moving Smash Bros to Feb 08 will allow Wii owners to plunk down some hard earned cash for some excellent 3rd party titles that normally wouldn’t of done so well ala Beyond Good and Evil.

  6. Inline V.

    You are referring to a popular myth propagated by third parties who do not put any effort into their product. Capcom and Ubisoft both have had success selling on the platform. The key is quality, where the platform belongs to them Nintendo tends to turn out more quality software in order to give the system its momentum. I don’t personally think they need to or intend to give third parties a break by delaying their gold so they can release the next Boogie.

  7. You are on the money again Jack, what´s with raping my wallet every Christmas?? Either that or i just won´t be able to play all the games i want when they come out.
    So, when Nintendo decided to move Smash Bros to February, i felt a little sad, but in the other hand, i know i won´t be broke in February(just a little part of my income goes to gaming) and with no major releases challenging this game, Nintendo has set the path to kick every publishers ass this Spring.

  8. After a second thought, there´s No More Heroes, Mario Kart, Endless Ocean coming in spring too… i guess my wallet will be raped in a regular basis all of the Wii´s lifespan.

  9. Agree w/ Sakuragi. I’m not used to having so many great games to buy for my Nintendo console. Usually there a 5 or 6 MUST BUY titles for the whole year.

  10. Looking at the start of the launch of the Wii, we can see that Nintendo has been employing this strategy from the get go, if we look at the first party title put out each month, I see very few gaps.

    Nov (2006)- Twilight Princess/Excite Truck/Wii Sports
    Dec (2006) – ??? (my guess is that the three from Nov. carry over.)
    Jan (2007) – Warioware
    Feb (2007) – Wii play (still a hot seller)
    March (2007) – ???
    April (2007) – Super Paper Mario
    May (2007) – Mario Party 8
    June (2007) – Big Brain academy/Pokemon Battle Revolution
    July (2007) – Mario Strikers
    August (2007) – Metroid Prime 3
    September (2007) – ??? (I guess this was the surprise)
    October (2007) – BWii (and a Zelda for DS)
    November (2007) – Mario Galaxy
    December (2007) – ???

    I would say that the Wii has been filled with almost a ‘good’ game each month by 1st party software. I think Nintendo has independently been working hard to keep our wallets drained year round. And the upcoming 2008 doesn’t look much different…well, actually the ‘good’ games are replaced by ‘great’ games for 2k8.

    P.S. Jack- Have you imagined battle mode with Motorcycles on Mariokart? I am not sure I like the idea, but maybe I missed something.

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  12. The problem with releasing on a sunday, is that it wont come out on a sunday. No game I have anticipated this year (Sonic Rush Adventure, Guilty Gear, Guitar Hero III) has come out on its projected release date.

  13. Gojiguy, you might be confusing ship date with release date. Sites like Gamefaqs always list the ship dates. Release date is usually the day after the ship date.

  14. yeah, GH3 did release (not ship) on sunday. my roommate bought it sunday.

    you do have to read carefully as too many sites post ship date instead of release date.

  15. I personally believe SSBB was delayed partly to leverage Nintendo’s online machinations, but more importantly, to buy a bit of time for 3rd parties to grow a brain. Nintendo clearly thought MP3, SMG and SSBB would have to stretch across 2007 (bear in mind two of them were playable in May 2006, and all three were looking VERY polished even at that early date).

    It seems with essentially no 3rd party support combining talent, investment and marketing (the basic requirements to even imagine having a hit title) this year they were right.

    Only it’s getting worse. Nintendo has clearly observed that 3rd parties still aren’t cottoning on, and so has had to stretch the ‘BIG THREE’ across not only 2006-2007, but 2008 as well. Personally, I’m worried. I’m reaching the conclusion that todays 3rd parties will never really try on Nintendo platforms, even when their schlock or effortless ports find success. People are telling me that some devs would rather drop out of games rather than develop on Nintendo platforms. Well they can fuck off into oblivion for that kind of attitude to opportunity. You can lead a horse to water and dunk his head in, but you still can’t make him drink.

    Anyway, it seems that Nintendo very well may be the sole provider for Wii innovations and entertainment. I’m actually quite confident it’s achievable, what with what we’ve seen in the last few years (animal crossing, nintendogs, warioware, wii sports, brain training etc.).

    Still, it obviously necessitates significant releases throughout the year as opposed to the bulk Christmas schedule.

  16. yeah- nintendo is saving a big IP for after Q4 on purpose.

    i’m filing this one under ‘fanboy apologists strike again’, where it will have the company of ‘nintendo is creating a shortage purposely to get attention’

    (boy! they must really really like that media attention! you’d think the revenue left on the table over the last year would really irk them but noooooo, it’s much better not to supply enough product to meet demand!)

  17. in other words, i believe that nintendo would love to release smash bros in q4- they can’t though b/c it’s not finished and if they don’t put out AAA titles, well, we can’t really count on the 3rd parties to step up there yet.

    i also (still) believe that nintendo has spectacuarly failed to anticipate demand for the unit, and still, almost unbelievably, cannot produce enough to meet demand. other theories generally have the company of ‘fake moon landing’ to me.

  18. This is a great move by Nintendo. The Wii is selling like hotcakes … why not spread out the big releases a bit for even for more a puh?

    Deepthought, I do think that Nintendo did not make enough Wii’s at the beginning, but I don’t think you can accuse them of that now. I don’t know of many complex electronic machines that can be churned out at the rate that the Wii is selling.

  19. They ain’t that complex. Hell, Nintendo should just pay some schmucks to take all those leftover gamecubes and duct tape em together. Solve the Wii shortage right there.

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