Nintendo (NASDAQOTH: NTDOY ) is a corporation in crisis. With tablets and smartphones captivating the interest of casual gamers, Nintendo’s family-orientated game systems have faded in popularity. Nintendo’s Wii U, particularly, is widely thought of as a failure: It’s fallen far in need of management’s projections, some retailers have stopped selling it, and major third-party game publishers have all but abandoned it.
Yet, the system remains relatively new (just over 16 months old), and plenty of Nintendo’s preferred franchises haven’t begun to determine a Wii U installment. While unlikely, there had remained conceivable that the system could rebound — that Nintendo could, by releasing a string of quality, exclusive games, revive interest in its struggling platform.
Forget about it.
The next iteration of Super Smash Bros. — Nintendo’s popular fighting franchise — can be coming to the 3DS, its hand-held online game console. If there has been any game that could’ve saved the struggling Wii U, Super Smash Bros. was it. Ironically, the sport could now guarantee the Wii U’s demise.
The importance of Smash Bros.
Of Nintendo’s many franchises, Super Smash Bros. sticks out as considered one of its most successful. The last entry inside the series, 2008′s Super Smash Bros. Brawl, sold over 11 million copies, making it one of many top 10 best-selling games inside the Wii’s history. Its predecessor, Super Smash Bros. Melee (released in 2001), was the head-selling game for Nintendo’s prior console, The Gamecube. The unique Super Smash Bros., now 15 years old, was the perfect-selling games for Nintendo’s N64.
In other words, Super Smash Bros. is certainly one of Nintendo’s most excellent series, and every iteration has reliably sold millions (It’s even played semi-professionally). With greater than five years because the last installment, a better entry inside the franchise couldn’t only move millions, but entice gamers buy the Wii U itself.
3DS sales will cannibalize Wii U sales
But that is not going to happen now because, for the primary time, Nintendo is planning to release the sport on multiple consoles. Prior iterations within the Super Smash Bros. franchise were confined to Nintendo’s then-current lounge console: Should you desired to play Super Smash Bros. Brawl, as an example, you had to own a Wii — the sport simply wasn’t available for another online game console.
But this Super Smash Bros. release is different. Along with launching at the Wii U, Nintendo is usually shipping the sport for its handheld console, the 3DS. The games won’t be exactly the same, however the differences may be minimal, with an identical cast available in both versions.
While some Smash Bros. fans may run out and purchase a Wii U, more are inclined to purchase the version released at the 3DS. That game will launch several months sooner than the Wii U version, retail for less, and certain have a bigger install base — very important for a multiplayer game with online matchmaking.
There’s a superb opportunity most Super Smash Bros. fans already own a 3DS, because it’s miles outsold the Wii U so far (almost 50 million consoles in comparison with just 6 million). Even supposing they do not, it’s cheaper to move get one, because the entry-level 3DS retails for only a fraction ($125) of the Wii U’s price ($299).
It’s not only the Wii U
Of course, while the 3DS version of the sport may devastate sales of the Wii U, it may support the 3DS, which, while not as disappointing because the Wii U, has still fallen far wanting expectations.
At this point in its life, the 3DS has underperformed its predecessor, Nintendo’s DS. If Nintendo’s January projections prove accurate, it’ll have sold fewer of the 3DS in 2013 than it did in 2012. That’s pretty disturbing, provided that the system is simply three years old. The DS, compared, saw sales growth well into its fourth year.
While its console competitors have branched out, shipping full-featured media boxes that play the foremost advanced games, Nintendo has kept it simple, specializing in dedicated gaming hardware geared toward a more casual audience. Before the increase of mobile games, that was unquestionably a recipe for fulfillment — today, it is less clear.
Nintendo has big plans for the long run : It’s engaged on an intensive new product it calls its QoL platform. Details are scant, but investors inside the company should hope it succeeds — with its consoles struggling, its current gaming-focused business model appears unsustainable.
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Sam Mattera has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools would possibly not all hold the identical opinions, but all of us believe that considering a various range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a 0 disclosure policy .