Nintendo 3DS Release Date Scramble: More First Party Games, Please
Mario and Co. cannot lean on Resident Evil and Metal Gear to drive 3DS sales early 2012. Fans also need Paper Mario and Luigi's Mansion 2.
After stumbling a bit, Nintendo regrouped to make 2011 a wonderful year for 3DS, transforming the system from potential bust into end of year success. In just eight months, the machine outsold the first 12 months of DS sales. That's a huge accomplishment.
Looking ahead to 2012, we can't help but scratch our heads at the lack of first party release dates. Yes, Kid Icarus: Uprising arrives March 23 in the U.S., but what about Paper Mario 3DS, Mario Tennis, Luigi's Mansion 2 and Animal Crossing? We don't have firm release dates for any of those potential hits.
Cause for concern? Absolutely. Capcom will unleash Resident Evil: Revelations January 27 in Europe and February 7 in the States, but Nintendo should be wary of gambling 3DS' early sales on an M-rated game with so many under age fans that won't be able to purchase it.
The same will likely hold true with Konami's Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater, set to debut in March. We expect an M-rating for this game as well.
Sega, meanwhile, has Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games February 14, but Nintendo cannot pin its hopes on that title driving 3DS Q1. The series, while putting up huge numbers in the past, has been inconsistent quality wise.
With this in mind, the big N can ill afford to push something like Luigi's Mansion 2 or Paper Mario into the second half of 2012, not with Sony's PlayStation Vita hitting western shores February 22. There needs to be a constant stream of software to keep the millions of new 3DS owners interested.
Unfortunately, we don't know how far along those first party games are.
Bottom line, 3DS demands all the support it can get heading into the New Year. Nintendo has a stellar lineup, but no calendar. Kid Icarus, while incredible looking, won't be enough.