Why The Nintendo NX Launching In Early 2017 Is The Smart Choice

Today Nintendo finally threw another scrap to fans ravenous for information about their next console, revealing the Nintendo NX will arrive March 2017 alongside the next Legend of Zelda. As you might expect, Internet reaction has been swift, and mostly negative. Who releases a console in March? Why won’t the NX be at this year’s E3? Nintendo’s next console is already doomed a year before it even hits shelves!

Yes, Nintendo is once again marching to the beat of their own drum, and as a Nintendo fan, I’ll admit I’m disappointed I have to wait a few more months for their next big thing, but could the March release date actually be a good call? Here’s a few reasons Nintendo just might be crazy like a fox…

Nintendo’s Most Successful Hardware All Released Early In The Year

The Nintendo DS Lite (over 90 million units sold) came out in March. So did the 3DS (60 million units). The Game Boy Advance (80 million units) came out in June, and the original Game Boy (120 million units) came out in July. Yes, these are all handheld systems, but there’s no particular reason to believe a home console launching early in the year couldn’t be similarly successful. It’s not the usual way of doing things, but launching during the typical holiday time period certainly didn’t do the Gamecube or Wii U any favors.

It Gives Them More Time To Make Games

The NX will launch with a version of Zelda and maybe a couple other smaller titles or Wii U remasters, but the system’s first big burst of games probably won’t come until holiday 2017. That means Nintendo will have an entire extra year of development time they wouldn’t have had if they’d launched in 2016.

Here’s what likely would have happened if Nintendo had launched the NX in 2016 – we would have got Zelda, then would’ve had to subsist on a drip feed for most of the next year. With a 2017 launch, the super hardcores can get Zelda in March, spend the summer mastering it, then get the wave of major games only six months later. That’s less of a gap, and the second wave of games will likely be more varied and better-polished thanks to the extra development time.

Nintendo Will Be Able to Readjust If the Launch Flops

The Nintendo 3DS didn’t get off to a great start when it launched back in March of 2011. The system’s price was too high, it’s launch games were mediocre and sales flatlined. What did Nintendo do? They slashed the price, poured all their resources into developing surefire hits like Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7, and by the time the holiday season wound around the 3DS was a much more attractive product. It was as if the March launch had never happened. If the 3DS had debuted on the big stage during the holiday shopping season, Nintendo may not have been able to successfully repivot the way they did.

It Keeps The NX Out of the Holiday Fray

The holiday season is when console makers play for keeps. Trying to launch an all-new console with the competition’s fingers hovering over the “price chop” button, might not work out so well for Nintendo. We could still see a minor Xbox One or PS4 price cut in March, but Microsoft and Sony probably won’t be as ruthless when massive Black Friday sales aren’t on the line.

Nintendo Needs to Focus on Mobile in 2016

Old-school Nintendo fans won’t want to hear this, but Nintendo’s top priority in 2016 has to be making their new mobile game initiative work. Nintendo’s stock prices depend on them making a serious go of this, and it would be major black eye for the company if they withdrew from the mobile market with a whimper. Their first mobile app, Miitomo, has been fairly well-received, but their next mobile releases, based on Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem, need to be even bigger. If Nintendo can get a steady mobile cash flow locked down, they’ll have more room to experiment with the NXT.

More Speculation Isn’t a Bad Thing

Probably the most baseless argument I’ve heard against Nintendo launching the NX in 2017 is that the wait and lack of information from Nintendo will make people lose interest in the system. Have the people saying this ever met a gamer? NX rumors have been flying hot and heavy recently, and it’s only going to heat up the longer Nintendo drags this out. If the Internet loses Interest in speculating about new video game consoles, you may as well shut the whole thing down.

There you are, a few reasons why the most successful video game company of all time might possibly know what they’re doing. What do you think? Is the NX launching in 2017 a good move, or is the system, ahem, DOOOOOMED? Hash it out, below.