Nintendo's Five Most Puzzling Decisions Of 2011
While not crippling per se, Mario and Co. definitely made some bizarre moves throughout the year.
2011 has been somewhat of a roller coaster year for Nintendo, filled with plenty of highs and lows, particularly when it comes to 3DS. The handheld got off to a slow start, then rebounded following a series of smart moves, from dropping the price of the machine to $169.99 to inducting early adopters into the Ambassadors Program and giving away 20 free games.
On that note, it's time to reflect on the company's more puzzling decisions over the past 12 months.
Releasing 3DS at $249.99
In the end, it worked out. Those who purchased a 3DS before August 12 received those 20 games (ten NES, ten GBA), while latecomers picked up the system at a more affordable price.
At the same time, we still scratch our heads over Nintendo selling 3DS at $249.99 when its previous handhelds never came close to that amount. It's clear the company assumed the DS install base would buy the handheld on good faith, but they didn't bite. Good for them.
3DS region locked
3DS, on the other hand, is region locked, so you cannot play import software at all. We'll shake our fists if the big N releases another Ouendan.
No Mario at 3DS launch
Game Boy, Super Nintendo, N64, Game Boy Advance and DS all launched with a Mario themed video game. With that came much success and publicity, because let's face it, the world loves Nintendo's mascot.
With 3DS, the company nixed the plumber in favor of Steel Diver, Nintendogs + Cats and Pilotwings Resort, perhaps assuming millions upon millions would snatch up the virtual pet sequel, as they did with the DS original.
Much like the $249.99 MSRP, the public held firm and refused to buy, causing Nintendo to learn a valuable lesson: don't underestimate the power of Mario during a system launch.
Releasing Pokemon Black and White in March
By all accounts, March should have belonged to 3DS and 3DS alone. No reason to create buyer confusion by, you know, releasing the next installment in the popular Pokemon franchise on DS the same month your shiny new handheld is set to appear.
Granted, you can play Pokemon Black and White on 3DS (the system is backwards compatible with DS games), but that's not the point. Consumers didn't see that game as a must have killer app for 3DS. Like it or not, Black and White definitely stole some of the portable's thunder.
If anything, these titles should have been 3DS exclusive day one. If anything can stand in for Mario, it's Pokemon.
Only one Wii U controller per system
On the console side, Nintendo disappointed many with the announcement that only one Wii U controller could connect to one console at a time. The backlash was so great that executives quickly backpedaled on the matter, leading us to believe the machine will support at least two controllers at once, if not four.