Nintendo: Five Steps To Weather PlayStation Vita's Storm
Think Nintendo plans to just stand around while Sony steals its thunder? Don't worry, the big N has some tricks up its virtual sleeve.
With 3DS, Nintendo already faces stiff competition from smart phones, which offer a bigger variety of games at budget prices.
On top of that, the company's chief rival, Sony, will once again attempt to dominate the portable arena with PlayStation Vita, launching December 17 in Japan, February 22 in the U.S. and Europe.
Not only is Sony's machine more powerful than 3DS, but the publisher also plans to launch an aggressive marketing campaign in 2012 by making the system available a week early, providing customers pre-order a specially designed bundle.
Although this could mean bad news for Nintendo, we think the company's ready to weather Vita's storm with some key strategic moves.
Double dose of Mario
If history serves, Nintendo has never released a new Mario platform adventure and Mario Kart in the same year, but that's exactly what'll happen November 13 with Super Mario 3D Land, and less than a month later, Mario Kart 7 December 4.
This is no coincidence. Nintendo was well aware that Vita would debut around this time, and probably scheduled both these games to fall during the system's Japanese launch.
How big is this? On DS, Mario Kart DS and New Super Mario Bros. combined to sell over 46 million copies worldwide. Granted, these titles debuted in 2005 and 2006, respectively, but we'd still bet on the new entries selling like crazy throughout the holiday season and beyond, with millions of 3DS systems flying off shelves to boot.
Strong third party support
Between now and March, we'll see a sweet collection of third party titles that'll make 3DS even more appealing, like Sonic Generations (November 22), Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (February 14), Resident Evil: Revelations (February 7) and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D (presumably February 28). That will definitely keep 3DS in the public eye, despite the PlayStation Vita hype.
Special 3DS bundles
The recently announced, and European exclusive, 3DS bundles should prove successful. The first comes with a new Ice White system and copy of Super Mario 3D Land (available December 2), while the other (clearly marketed at girls), includes a Coral Pink 3DS and copy of Nintendogs + Cats (November 18).
No word on whether these bundles will make their way to the U.S., but it would seem like a smart idea on Nintendo's part.
The looming threat of Pokemon
Keep in mind that Nintendo can always call a surprise press conference and make some Earth shattering announcement before Vita's launch. We already know something called Pokemon Gray may be in the works. It would be a great idea to unleash news and media for that game (if it is in fact a game) sometime in January/February.
Monster Hunter 3G
Japanese players love Capcom's Monster Hunter franchise, perhaps to an unhealthy degree. Sony benefited from this obsession in the past because the portable titles appeared on PSP. Now Nintendo's wrestled the series away to 3DS, and the first entry, Monster Hunter 3G, drops December 10 in Japan, along with the system's slide pad peripheral. Yup, just seven days before Vita's launch.