Stick your head through the 3DS release window from now till September, and you’ll likely hear the sound crickets.
Slim pickings, to say the least.
To be fair, summer is historically a slow time for a video game industry that stacks the proverbial deck each holiday season, but the overflow of titles have recently crept into months long feared by publishers, such as June and July.
Nintendo, on the other hand, seems content to sit back and catch some rays. After all, the company just released a flagship game, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D less than two weeks ago. Surely, one of the greatest games of all time will be enough to keep fans satisfied.
On the flip side, perhaps the big N wants to kill the possibility of Sony making lots of noise with PlayStation Vita (set to debut late 2011, early 2012), the company’s new Swiss Army Knife style handheld that comes with two analogue sticks, a five-inch touch screen, rear touch pad, 3G support and tilt controls, among other desirable features.
Standing in Sony’s way of world domination? Mario, Nintendo’s, immensely popular mascot, AKA the most recognisable video game character of all time, who has not one, but two 3DS games slated to arrive before the end of the year: Mario Kart 3DS, and Super Mario 3D, both of which will likely sell in the millions.
This powerful one-two punch will probably not thwart Sony’s plan of ruling the handheld market, but it could slow Vita’s momentum, at least temporarily; Nintendo also has Kid Icarus: Uprising on the way.
Combine that with a price cut (we expect the 3DS to retail for $200 before the end of the year), and the DS successor may look significantly more attractive to consumers more interested in proven winners.
There also exists the possibility that Sony will be unable to launch PlayStation Vita worldwide before 2012, settling for a Japanese launch in November.
Regardless of what happens, Nintendo won’t go down without a fight. Thankfully, gamers will benefit the most.
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