Yesterday was an exciting time for Super Smash Bros. fans, as they waited for the Nintendo Direct that would bestow upon them a smorgasbord of new information, footage and characters. Naturally, Sakurai did not disappoint and soon the internet became abuzz with the massive brawler as it trended all over social media.
However, not everything was happy rainbows and ponies. Literally, the first thing Sakurai addressed was the release window for both versions of the game and needless to say, fans were not amused.
But fear not, because I have swooped in with a timely little piece on how to stop worrying and learn to love the dates.
When it was first revealed that the 3DS version would be coming out in the summer while Wii U owners would have to wait until winter, people immediately began the “Wii U is officially dead” mantra that still plagues any conversation about the Wii U. Think about it. Why would the 3DS version really be an issue. The majority of players who normally buy Super Smash Bros. are part of the devoted fanbase that buys every iteration of the series.
The release of the 3DS version accomplishes several things: first, it gives the portable another stellar title that will boost sales even further. Iwata has stated several times that the 3DS drives Nintendo’s current profit margin and it has been shown that even with strong sales, the portable is not hitting its predicted sales forecast. Second, the move opens up the game to an audience that would normally never play the series. It’s also possible that if the 3DS version is successful enough, that success could generate enough interest for the Wii U version released later. Finally, the 3DS version gives fans of the franchise a much needed taste of what to expect when the console drops.
If the two versions came out together, Wii U would easily cannibalize the 3DS. The separation gives both versions an equal chance at great sales, which is a win-win for Nintendo.
When I first saw this complaint, my hand immediately lunged for my face in a magnetic attraction that was preordained by the gods themselves. When it’s stated that a game will come out Winter 2014, that usually means the game will come in 2014. Not in a magical time paradox where 2014 also means 2015 because of the word “winter” right before it.
Now, of course that date could possibly be pushed back (knock on wood!) but regardless, that doesn’t change the meaning of winter 2014.
Coming from that, there is nothing wrong with the release date of winter 2014. When were people expecting this game to come out? Was there another imaginary time in 2014 that would have been better? Winter 2014 is perfect for Wii U because it coincides with the holiday season, aka November and December months, all but guaranteeing high sales.
And why is everyone worrying about the Wii U drought now? We were already informed that Bayonetta 2 will be released in Japan this summer and Monolith Soft’s X had been announced for 2014 in February. Need I remind everyone that E3 is coming up and will be the ideal time to reveal proper release dates? There are games coming for the system to hold over Wii U owners.
This was another worry that fans had, which originally stemmed from the announcement of the 3DS version in the first place. I could understand the worry here: the Wii U isn’t selling well but the 3DS is. Wait, now there’s a 3DS version too? Now the Wii U doesn’t have a unique game and worst yet, its version comes out later.
Remember what I said about the strong Super Smash Bros. fanbase? The series always being a system seller is indisputable fact. Whether the console was selling well (Wii) or selling poorly (N64, Gamecube), the title’s release would always boost system sales and the same will be true of the Wii U version.
But, you say, how can you be so sure of that? It’s rather simple, actually. The Wii U version is where the community will be. Nintendo’s decision to make a 3DS version only caters to an audience who would never buy the game otherwise, as well as those who will buy both versions. In other words, the 3DS version will not cannibalize Wii U sales of the game.
I understand that many are worried for the upcoming entry into the Super Smash Bros. series, as well as for the overall success of the Wii U. However, simply slapping on superficial arguments that only contribute to the Wii U “Gloom and Doom” mindset are tired, overdone and lazy. Let’s instead aim to support both versions and be happy that our beloved franchise will make it before the year is up.