I don’t want to sound like Mr. Doom and Gloom here but Nintendo received some very bad news last Friday which now puts them in a similar situation to Sony.
Nintendo’s major AAA release for this fall, The Legend of Zelda for WiiU, has been delayed into 2016. For a company that has fallen way behind in the console race and is looking at an already light release schedule, this news is devastating. Outside of Splatoon and Star Fox, there isn’t much else on the plate for the rest of 2015. The new Xenoblade title is anticipated by series fans but I’m not sure this brand has enough mass appeal like a Mario Kart or Smash game to really be a top seller for them. I’m sure Nintendo has some surprises up their sleeves, but it’s a situation where you hope that Nintendo had prior knowledge that a delay like this was likely coming, giving them time to prepare.
This news mirrors closely what Sony has recently gone through when Naughty Dog announced a big delay for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Sony’s first party schedule (that we know of) is also pretty light. Uncharted was set to be their their holiday anchor launching sometime in November like past games in the series. With a massive hole now in that plan, it’ll be interesting to see where Sony goes to plug the gap. I’m thinking we’ll get more information around E3.
While delays are always tough to swallow for fans, I can appreciate the Zelda team wanting more time to make the experience “the most complete and ultimate Zelda game.” That’s certainly good news for fans and with their typical attention to detail and quality, I have no doubt they’ll hit that mark.
Either way, this news puts Nintendo in a bind that certainly doesn’t help their already tough position. 2014 was a good rebound year for Nintendo with Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros helping to drive attention back to the WiiU. With a big hole now in their 2015 lineup, that trend isn’t likely to continue. Again, I hope I’m wrong, but we’ll have to wait and see. Should be an interesting E3 for them this year at the very least.