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Launch with Care

With the latest rocky hardware launch I'm starting to wonder if anyone knows how to do a launch right.

Leon Jackson, Blogger

August 13, 2011

2 Min Read

I keep wondering why consoles have such poor launches. It is a strange continuing cycle that console makers are destined to stay stuck in. From my mind as a consumer it seems like an easy thing to get right. Just get the right price and the right software. The latest botched launch comes from Nintendo.  For a company like Nintendo the software part should be easy, but they go and repeat the DS launch with the 3DS. Then they add new mistakes to what already was rocky strategy in the past.

First they get the software wrong. If a company that has multiple IPs that sell in the millions and can move hardware can’t get software right for launch I don’t know who can. To be far there is Nintendogs + cats, but the fans of that game didn’t ever pay anywhere close to $250 to play it. The only other title in the lineup that could have moved hardware is Street Fighter IV, but it’s a port so that already cuts off its legs.  Giving room to third parties is would it really have hurt the company to delay the launch until a Mario or Pokemon game was ready? I doubt it would hurt as much as having to drop the price by $80.

Oh the price…well I’m calling it fact that if you don’t have the right software for launch you better not charge too much. $250 for a more power DS sounds good to some when you state it like that. The DS is obviously enjoyed by most of the handheld market so more of the same on a more powerful system sounds great. The problem again is that the software that made the DS so enjoyable just isn’t there.  Will the change in price make people forgive the software blunder? Maybe for some, but others will continue to make until what they want to play is there.

What’s more baffling about Nintendo getting the launch wrong is that they have been at it longer than anything. Also the fact that they got it right with the Wii, as it had software that made people want it and a price that didn’t cause them to hold back.  Now history repeats in some part. Like the DS the 3DS launched with only a few titles to nudge it and suffered a long drought. Now will Wii U move in the Wii direction of launches of stay in the DS directions? If Nintendo stays on this leading with third parties strategy they may continue to blunder unless they are provided with some killer app. The better strategy would be for Nintendo to launch with a solid 2D Mario game, a Wii Sports/ Wii Sports Resort quality motion sports game, and other solid first party titles to add to the launch lineup.


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