How The Smash Bros. Release Dates Illustrate Nintendo’s Current Problems

Overall the Super Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct this week brought a lot of hype, but the big takeaway for most people was likely the heavily staggered release dates of the 3DS and Wii U versions. Once again the 3DS seems like it’s possibly cannibalizing the Wii U.

In my opinion, if Nintendo really can get the 3DS version out before September then I’d really like to have my portable Smash as soon as possible. Nintendo and Namco are probably trying like hell to get the Wii U version out this year but I guess it can’t be helped. It’s just another sign of how difficult HD console development has been for Nintendo.

For people watching the market the big fear is that people won’t see the need for the Wii U version when it finally comes out, having been playing the 3DS version for months. I guess that depends on how much unique content the Wii U version has, but back when we believed they’d be launching simultaneously I was already considering just getting the 3DS version. The Wii U really needs unique software to sell it, and almost all Nintendo’s serving up right now is sequels or enhanced versions of 3DS games.

Right now though the 3DS doesn’t have an extremely robust lineup for 2014 either. Getting Smash out in the summer is sure to bolster it, but between now and then the system has maybe five notable games coming out. That’s a stark contrast from last year’s avalanche, but at E3 Nintendo will likely continue its policy of announcing games for it that’ll be out before the end of the year. Let’s just hope they can manage the same for Wii U.

The situation with Smash is actually a bit ironic for me. I’ve wanted a handheld Smash game for a long time, but now that we’re getting one in a few months I’ve started to ask myself “Do I need the console version in this case?” Nintendo’s robust handheld software libraries have never posed a threat to its console lineup till now because this is the first time the two platforms have been able to run roughly the same kinds of games. Maybe the issue is Nintendo hasn’t been making enough games with gameplay only possible on powerful hardware. Maybe we’re reaching a point where handheld and console need to converge.

This is likely the reasoning behind Nintendo’s merging its handheld and console hardware divisions in early 2012. Two future platforms with similar architecture would be a great way for Nintendo to solve this problem.


  • Original DS games hold up surprisingly well at high resolutions.
  • Stunned at Ultimate Warrior’s passing. RIP.
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3 thoughts on “How The Smash Bros. Release Dates Illustrate Nintendo’s Current Problems

  1. Vice says:

    I had a feeling that the Wii U version was going to be delayed. Nintendo wants to make that Wii U version as polished as possible. I think Nintendo kind of already has one reason as why to buy both version or just the Wii U version: online. Sakuai already stated that is best to play the 3DS version on a high speed hub and for the Wii U a wired connection. Possibly judging how well the 3DS can handle the game online, people might favor the Wii U version for at least better online. The other factor is the customization options that was just briefly touched upon. Hopefully it would be something substantial and nothing like sharing custom stats. Whether or not that will be enough to get people to buy the Wii U or both I don’t know.

    • RedSwirl says:

      Well honestly I don’t see the Wii U version as “delayed.” I never expected it any sooner than fall 2014. The real surprise is how soon the 3DS version is coming out.

  2. It’s kind of silly that the game is coming out on the 3DS. I mean, I love the fact that I can Smash on the go, but this could have been the dire system seller that Nintendo needed if they decided to axe the 3DS version and expand the roster beyond the Brawl limit.

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