There are few titles Nintendo fans are looking forward to more than the upcoming Super Smash Bros games for the 3DS and Wii U. In yesterday's Smash Bros focused Nintendo Direct, series creator Masahiro Sakurai revealed loads of new information regarding these new arena brawlers, but one of the most interesting items was that both titles wouldn't be hitting store shelves at the same time.
While the newest Smash Bros will be coming to 3DS as early as this summer, Wii U owners will have to wait until the cold cold winter to get their hands on the console version. It's not a huge surprise that the two titles aren't launching on the exact same date, but the fact that their months and months apart seems a little odd. In the back of my mind I suppose I thought the 3DS version would need more time than its Wii U sibling, as it's being crammed into a much smaller package.
It seems Nintendo may have gotten this release schedule backwards. Let's be honest and admit that the Wii U is lacking the large library of must-have titles it probably should have at this point in it's life. Mario Kart 8 will certainly help the system bring in a new audience, but if Nintendo had released the console version of Smash Bros this summer consumers would be going out of their way to purchase a Wii U. Why? Because it would be out only for the Wii U. It would be a fresh game that Wii U owners could tout as a "system seller".
The 3DS has delivered hit after hit and it's currently sitting pretty in the hearts and minds of gamers around the world. What's going to happen when the first portable Smash Bros launches on the 3DS this summer? People will buy it and they will love it. They'll immerse themselves in it like past summer titles such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Another system seller for the 3DS, a system that doesn't need a boost to begin with. Mario Kart, Zelda, New Super Mario Bros - there isn't much on the Wii U that 3DS owners can't already get access to.
This could be bad news for Nintendo's struggling home console. While Smash Bros for Wii U is sure to move some serious units regardless of release date, it's still going to seem like old hash compared to it's handheld counterpart. There will be less of a rush to buy it. Some of the folks who might have bought a Wii U for Smash Bros, will be done with the series after months and months of 3DS play.
Nintendo could certainly remedy this situation at E3 by announcing a bundle of stellar Wii U exclusives for the end of 2014, but the Big N isn't the best at quickly releasing hit after hit in the console market. Droughts on the Wii U are already a decently common occurrence when it comes to full-on retail hits. We'll just have to hope that Nintendo makes the right decisions in the coming months and gives Wii U the games and audience it deserves.
Summer or winter, 3DS or Wii U, I'll still be looking forward to both games. I'll be buying both and I'll be playing both for hours on end. The Wii U may continue to struggle after this potential staggered set back, but we can only hope it isn't too detrimental to overall system sales. Stay strong Wii U owners, the games are coming. We just have to hold on.