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Is Smash Bros 3DS's earlier release a bad idea for Nintendo? [roundtable]
 
One of the biggest pieces of news from the recent SSB Direct--and one I think warrants some discussion--is that the 3DS version of SSB is hitting stores this summer, while the Wii U version is slated to arrive at the end of the year. Which is kind of the opposite of what many people were expecting and hoping for.

This is a pretty strange move to me, for a couple reasons. For starters, there's no doubt in my mind that the 3DS's early release will hurt Wii U sales. I've already heard people ask why they should get the Wii U version if it's got the same roster and just has different modes and such. The Wii U desperately needs killer apps--each one is an oasis in a desert, and it's bizarre to me that even Nintendo's own series can't be exclusive on their home consoles anymore! The 3DS, on the other hand, is doing fine and dandy; even if Smash never arrived, it'd probably go down in history as the best-selling system ever.

In terms of my own enjoyment of the series, a SSB game's release is an event like little else. I spend months, or years, speculating on the roster, absorbing every bit of media that releases, and generally getting caught up in the hype. Knowing that the 3DS version is the one where I'll be first introduced to Smash's takes on Mega Man, Villager, Wii Fit Trainer, Little Mac etc is a weird feeling. It's like, I know I'll love it, but it'll be somewhat off-putting knowing there's a better, "cleaner" version of the game coming a few months later. Almost like I can't enjoy it to its absolute fullest.

And speaking of which, what of when the Wii U version hits? It won't have that completely fresh, I'm-so-overwhelmed-by-all-these-characters punch that SSB64, Melee, and Brawl all shared. I'll have already mastered several characters, unlocked everyone, become very familiar with the way they control and interact, etc. It'd almost be like buying an HD remake or something…very strange.

On the plus side, playing SSB by this Summer almost sounds too good to be true. And for what it's worth, both versions are shaping up to be amazing (among the best on their systems, easily). I just really wish the releases were switched a bit, even if it meant a big delay for the 3DS.

What do you think of the whole 3DS first, Wii U later thing?

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Posted: 04/09/14, 09:06:15
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@GameDadGrant
I agree that there has been a lot of anti-3DS backlash lately and that it's sort of getting thrown under the bus as one of the reasons Wii U isn't doing well, the whole "can't support two platforms" argument.

As far as the OP goes I think Nintendo is smart to go 3DS first with this, they'll be able to finish the game and get it to market and make some cash in the short-term while the Wii U version is still in development. Most, if not all, Smash Bros. fans will double dip anyway, unless they choose to wait for the console version because they are anti-handheld, and in that case it's still not costing Nintendo any sales.
Posted: 04/10/14, 15:33:21  - Edited by 
 on: 04/10/14, 15:58:35
Nintendo needs software sells to offset terrible Wii U sales. I think this was a business decision, pure and simple. Can't say I blame them, but I think it could be detrimental to the Wii U title, unless they've got some Pokemon-styled antics up their sleeve.
Posted: 04/11/14, 06:47:06
I guess my thoughts are, Nintendo can't expect their console to do well when they continue to give it weaker support or attention than their handheld. Obviously at this point I don't blame them but hopefully they don't get so complacent with their console next time.
Posted: 04/11/14, 06:55:20
@Deerock69
I could be wrong but to me it's a forgone conclusion that when the Wii U game launches they will tout exclusive content over the 3DS version, new characters, levels, items, modes, etc. They won't start to market it that way until the 3DS version has sold a few million though, or they would cut it's legs off. For now they have to tow the line that the 3DS version is the real deal or people will pass on it.

@PogueSquadron
Does the Wii U really have worse support? The 3DS certainly has way more games but it's been out for 3 years instead of 1.5. I'm not saying you're wrong, but to me it doesn't seem like the Wii U is getting any less support than any other Nintendo platform, but if someone did the math maybe that's not true.

Budget wise I'm sure they're spending more on the Wii U than the 3DS right now because the games certainly cost multiple times more money to develop, so in that way you could say the lionshare of their development is going to the console.
Posted: 04/12/14, 18:14:35  - Edited by 
 on: 04/12/14, 18:21:33
@deathly_hallows

Having extra characters would make sense but honestly I don't think that they would do it, or it would be a little dishonest for people that only own a 3DS if you say that both games will have the same amount of characters and then you turn around and reveal one or two more for the Wii U after the 3DS has sold a few million units. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't really mind and it would be a nice surprise but they shouldn't really lie to people like that.

If anything they could release another character as DLC a couple of months after release.
Posted: 04/12/14, 22:00:38
Tranquilo said:
@deathly_hallows

Having extra characters would make sense but honestly I don't think that they would do it, or it would be a little dishonest for people that only own a 3DS if you say that both games will have the same amount of characters and then you turn around and reveal one or two more for the Wii U after the 3DS has sold a few million units. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't really mind and it would be a nice surprise but they shouldn't really lie to people like that.

If anything they could release another character as DLC a couple of months after release.

They could get around that by having a set of new (3?) characters unlock in both games after you link up both of them. That way, both games would still always have the same roster, but you'd encourage 3DS SSB owners to pick up the Wii U one more.
Posted: 04/12/14, 22:09:02
@Tranquilo
Well if they don't do characters they'll do something, it won't be the same game wih the same features and nothing more, there will be value add there's no way there could not be!

@TriforceBun
That would be brilliant and evil, I love it.
Posted: 04/12/14, 22:09:35  - Edited by 
 on: 04/12/14, 22:11:01
I don't get it. The solution seems obvious.

Bring back every character that has ever appeared in Smash and make the 3DS and Wii version have entirely separate rosters. They've got thousands of hours worth of coding and testing for Squirtle, Game&Watch, MewTwo, etc just sitting on their shelf. Why waste that while also giving people a chance to whine about characters not returning? Bring back every character, and some new ones, to make like 50 characters total (30 on Wii, 20 on 3DS). Boom. Done. Now you have a compelling reason to own both while also giving fans what they want.

EDIT: Sometimes we confuse ideas of what we want as consumers instead of what we suggest Nintendo do as a business. This was a suggestion for what Nintendo might want to do as a business. As a consumer I naturally want a million characters on both editions of Smash.
Posted: 04/15/14, 22:41:04  - Edited by 
 on: 04/15/14, 22:44:37
@DapperDave

That would be pretty weird. So one version would be missing Mario, Link, etc?
Posted: 04/15/14, 23:13:30
TriforceBun said:
@DapperDave

That would be pretty weird. So one version would be missing Mario, Link, etc?

Sure. Or make the top 5 characters on both.
Posted: 04/15/14, 23:37:03
Hmm, but Nintendo has about 25 popular characters that everyone would go nuts if they didn't all appear everywhere.
Posted: 04/16/14, 01:51:07
Yeah, and I can't help but think everyone would be aggravated that the new Smash essentially had half a roster in each game (when Brawl had 39 movesets and it's likely the new game will approach 50).
Posted: 04/16/14, 02:04:41
@deathly_hallows

The 3DS at 1.5 years still had a decent stream of games coming, in september of 2012 if i recall correctly nsmb2 had just come out, paper mario was coming out(this was before we knew it sucked,) rythm theif came around that time, kingdom hearts had come out, thaterythm was around that time,

The wii u has had Mario and DK come out in the past few months.
Posted: 04/16/14, 02:30:08  - Edited by 
 on: 04/16/14, 02:30:42
I wholly disagree with the idea of splitting up the casts wholeheartedly.

I don't see why having a full 45 roster, with the last five (making 50) being special to the console it's on. Make the 3DS version handheld specific and the Wii U console specific. Bam. Then make enough other stuff unique, like levels, maybe even a unique item or two, and some cool special modes, and you've got two hits on your hands.
Posted: 04/16/14, 02:33:02
@DrFinkelstein

The split definitely makes me want to buy both.

But in this order... I feel like the Wii U version will hardly sell a quarter of what the 3DS version sells.
Posted: 04/16/14, 02:39:54
@TheOldManFromZelda

I'm not convinced that'll happen but I know I too can't go off our own Negative World poll which states that both will be bought. We're not the 'average' public.
Posted: 04/16/14, 03:10:20
@DrFinkelstein

Exactly. The 'average' public doesn't even know the Wii U exists. GROAN.
Posted: 04/16/14, 03:12:09
I don't think roster splits are a good idea, but most everything else should probably be more unique for each game.

More importantly, I think Nintendo are really going to have to advertise how different the games are from each other, as well as showcase the connection features. Most people who would be interested in the Wii U game are probably going to have the 3DS game by then, and so Nintendo need to show them what's new and different enough about it to warrant a purchase. They need to do this with TV adverts and such. Considering how hit-and-miss Nintendo's advertising can be, I'm certainly not convinced they're going to advertise these correctly.
Posted: 04/16/14, 04:38:12
I'm in the camp of "Keep the same roster in both games, but have different modes and options." I like that a lot because then I feel like buying both is a CHOICE, instead of it feeling super forced. I dunno, if one version had like Chibi Robo say then I'd "have to have it" and if the other had a playable Elebit (or whatever, just an example) then I'd kind of be ticked off that Nintendo was pulling my strings just to get me to buy both. MODES, though, that's like "It's your choice, or hey you can buy both, no problem, you're not missing out."

This reminds me of earlier when I was looking up which Universal Studios park the Harry Potter part is in (my wife wants to go) and it turns out IT WILL BE BOTH. And you need a ticket to TWO parks just to experience the whole thing. That, to me, is garbage and makes me furious. That's like holding something hostage and blackmailing people for money (though obviously much less extreme, and just in a commercial sense).
Posted: 04/16/14, 06:14:03
Personally, I don't care. I know I'll eventually buy both. So this has no effect on me.

I kinda like the idea of special characters for each version, though. Particularly if they're more obscure and platform focused. So, you know, if there were 4 or 5 handheld-oriented characters - like Vaati or Viridi or whoever else starts with V on a handheld - I could get behind it.

But I suspect other people have stronger feelings about Smash rosters than me. I don't miss Mewtwo.
Posted: 04/16/14, 06:24:30
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