Will Smash Bros. Brawl delay spread to U.S.?

Smash Bros. DelayedWill Super Smash Bros. Brawl be delayed in North America too?

That’s the question greeting Nintendo fans as they awake from their Nintendo press conference megaton-induced hangover this morning. Why? Because, as we learned yesterday, Japanese gamers will not be getting Brawl until Jan 24, 2008. Ouch.

On its face, if the delay migrates over the oceans and into North America, things look very bad for Nintendo. The holiday is where these kinds of companies make mad bank, and not having a game as powerful as Smash Bros. in the lineup could be compared to ritual suicide. Then again, delays are a part of life and Nintendo is notorious for delaying 1rst party IP so that when the game launches, it launches without bugs or poor gameplay (which, IMO, has unfortunately become a rarity in today’s “shovel me out, patch me up later” development mentality).

Additionally, if we examine this hypothetical and as-of-yet non-existent delay from a business perspective, it begins to make a little more sense. You have Super Mario Galaxy, which for all intents and purposes is being billed as the Second Coming of Mario titles with incredible graphics, gameplay and character (or is that Third or Fourth Coming at this point?). This game will sell basically to anyone and everyone who owns a Wii; it will create new Wii owners; and such is its power that I predict droves of Xbox 360 and PS3 owners will go into a trance and buy this title and a Wii console against their better judgment.

Putting Smash Bros. — which is very popular among the more passionate gamer community, but is still not as popular as a straight up Mario title — up against Galaxy would hurt its sales and possibly siphon away sales from Galaxy itself. People only have so much scratch to go around, right? Therefore, Nintendo could very well delay Smash Bros., tweak online play a bit or even add new content, and release it in January, thereby giving Galaxy free reign over the holiday.

It’s really just a case of simple numbers: Galaxy will sell more then Smash Bros. Why compete with yourself when you can stagger the releases and make twice the profit. Would a delay suck? It sure would. I want Brawl now and don’t want to wait, and Nintendo did make a commitment to December. Would I 100% defend a delay, should it occur? Nope, but I understand.

UPDATE: It’s now official. Smash Bros Brawl is delayed in North America until February 2008.