Setting up Nintendo’s plans for 2012.
At the beginning of the new year, I wrote up a blog post about many of the upcoming games arriving on Nintendo platforms this year. Titled Looking Ahead: Nintendo in 2012, I went through several release schedules for all 4 major Nintendo platforms (Wii, DS, Wii U, 3DS) and made a huge list of notable games coming out to each platform. Granted, the lists for Wii and DS weren’t exactly all that long, but there were plenty of titles for the 3DS and Wii U that are worth getting excited about.
Continuing my “Nintendo in 2012” series, I’m going to go ahead and give out my predictions for 2012 on Nintendo platforms. Of course, I’m not going to predict the blatantly obvious things like “there will be new 3DS games at E3 2012” or “the Wii U will launch in white” but rather more obscure ones that may not even ever come true. But hell, it’s fun to make stupid predictions, and it’s even more fun when all of my stupid predictions come true! So here we go… my 10 predictions for Nintendo in 2012.
1. Wii U will launch after September 2012.
Let’s start with some safe bets, shall we? Nintendo has confirmed that the Wii U will launch between E3 2012 and the end of the year. I think it’s safe to say that the Wii U will launch in Q4 2012 (September-December). But what I think Nintendo is going to do is wait until November to sell their console, much like with what they did with the Wii. Launching in November will allow Nintendo to get as many Wii U units into family homes as possible, because a) they can produce enough units for the holiday season, and b) people will be looking for something to play over the holidays, especially Christmas. This will allow the Wii U to gain enough momentum to last through the holiday season into the new year, and will prevent what happened with the 3DS where the momentum of sales dropped severely after just a few weeks.
2. Wii U will launch at a price that is under $300 USD.
Nintendo has claimed that they will launch the Wii U at a very affordable price. They also don’t want to repeat what happened with the 3DS, in which the high price caused sales to plummet after just a few weeks. For Nintendo to reach that goal, I think Nintendo will have to launch the Wii U at a price that is under $300 USD. And I don’t just think $299.99. I think Nintendo is going to surprise us by launching the Wii U at a price of $279.99 USD. Sure, it’s likely that I may be wrong, but if Nintendo plans on making the Wii U affordable for everyone, that price is the way to go.
3. Wii U will launch with a major Mario title.
The 3DS failed to launch with a major must-have title. Nintendo wants to make sure that such a thing doesn’t happen again. And even though Pikmin 3 is looking to be one of Nintendo’s launch titles for the Wii U, I don’t think that its the game that will sell a ton of units. Nintendo will launch with a major Mario title with the Wii U. And not just NSMB Mii, but a direct sequel to Super Mario 64. Yup, no more linear Galaxy stuff. I think Nintendo will make a 3D Mario game in which you will be dropped in a gigantic world where you need to search in order to collect power stars. Why do I make this prediction? Because a) it wouldn’t take very long to make 15 large stages as opposed to 50 smaller ones, b) it’s a game that many fans want, which means more sales for both the game and the console, c) Nintendo still has a bunch of level templates for both Mario 64 and Sunshine, and d) it’s a game that doesn’t require online, meaning that if Nintendo’s online infrastructure is not ready on day one, then Nintendo doesn’t have to delay this game when it launches with the system. You here me Nintendo? Make this prediction come true!
4. A new Yoshi game will be announced.
Now we’re getting into obscurity. The last game in the Yoshi series was Yoshi’s Island DS, and that game launched over half a decade ago. It’s about time that we have a new Yoshi game. In fact, I’m willing to bet that, if anything, the next Yoshi game will be announced for the 3DS. It doesn’t have to be a side-scroller, but it doesn’t have to be a 3D adventure game. Just give me another Yoshi game. And hire Good-Feel to make it, maybe?
5. A new F-Zero game will be announced.
And you thought you had to wait long for Skyward Sword. The last F-Zero game was released on the GBA in 2004. It’s about time Nintendo release a new F-Zero game. And what better way than to experience the speed and excitement of the F-Zero franchise than by announcing an eye-blistering 3D F-Zero on the 3DS. Yep, even with the plethora of new titles coming for the 3DS this year, Nintendo will find a way to announce the return of a beloved franchise this year. And as for the developer who is going to make this game? How about Monster Games? They’ve got 3DS experience, AND racing experience!
6. Wii U’s online shop will be called the “Nintendo eShop”.
If Nintendo wants to make a smooth online experience between its handheld and home consoles, then they have got to merge both online shops into one. Yep, Nintendo is going to throw out the Wii Shop and the DSi shop and is going to go for the generic “Nintendo eShop” across all of its platforms. And yes, Nintendo’s little shopping bag dude will also be on the Wii U to greet you. It’s going to happen guys, I tell you.
7. The new 3DS Zelda game will be revealed.
Nintendo has already hinted that they are working on a new Zelda game (well, of course they are). I think that this is the year where that game is going to be revealed. But what type of game will it be? Will it be like the DS games with touch controls? Will it be like Ocarina of Time 3D, a more console-like experience? Nintendo has said that the next Zelda will be more like its console brothers. So what will it be? I think Nintendo is making a new Toon Link game for the 3DS that is similar to the GameCube’s Wind Waker. With the bright color scheme of Toon Link’s world, the 3D effect of such a game would look a lot more impressive than say a Zelda game with a more “realistic” approach.
8. The Wii U will have friend codes.
Nintendo isn’t going to do away with friend codes. That’s a given. But Nintendo has streamlined their friend code system on the 3DS, where every 3DS system has one specific friend code that can be used for all 3DS games that has online functionality. If you want, you can attach your own name onto your friend code, whether it be your real name or a fake one. This is a huge step up from the friend codes that were needed for each individual game for both the Wii and the DS, and I believe that the Wii U will have a similar friend code system that the 3DS does. Honestly, I don’t see Nintendo diving into anything remotely near the PSN and XBL online systems any time soon.
9. The 3DS will reach 34 million in total units by the end of the year.
It took 2 years for the Nintendo DS to reach 34 million units worldwide. The 3DS has sold over 14 million in nine months. If the momentum of the 3DS continues to go in a steady manner, there is no doubt in my mind that by the end of 2012, the 3DS will beat the 34 million units that the DS sold in its first two years. And why would the momentum slow down? As mentioned in my previous blog, the 3DS has truckloads of new titles coming to the system this year, many of which are AAA titles that all 3DS owners should be excited about, including Kingdom Hearts 3D and Paper Mario.
10. The Wii U will come with a pack-in game.
Much like the Wii got Wii Sports, I expect the Wii U to come packed in with a Wii U game. More specifically, I expect the Wii U to launch with a minigame collection packed into the box. What minigames? Probably things like Chase Mii and Battle Mii. In a way, it would feel a bit like Wii Play: a bunch of small minigames that would have never sold well if it was sold seperately. Nintendo has already got a couple of these minigames done, so why not pack them into the box? Reggie has said that “value” is more important than “price point.” What better way to add value to the Wii U than throwing in some fun minigames for free? Get what I’m saying?
So, what do you guys think? Are my predictions completely unreasonable? Did Nintendo really learn from the abysmal 3DS launch? Will Nintendo go out of business? (haha)
What do you think Nintendo will do in 2012?