Now that both the Nintendo NX and the long-awaited Legend of Zelda sequel are slated for 2017, Nintendo fans don't have a whole lot to look forward to for the rest of this year. Sure, the upcoming Kirby and Paper Mario titles look fun, but the big N's 2016 game lineup lacks anything that could have the system-selling impact that Super Mario Maker and Splatoon did last year.
But things don't have to be all doom and gloom for Nintendo going into the holiday season. Here's how the company can bring some excitement to its seemingly empty 2016.
A Drastic Wii U Price Cut
The Wii U is a tough sell at $299, especially considering that both the PS4 and Xbox One offer more power and larger game libraries for just $50 more. However, if Nintendo drops its console's price to $199 or less, the Wii U can go from an underpowered also-ran to one of the best budget-friendly gaming machines you can buy this holiday — especially if it comes bundled with a few great titles.
The Wii U is still a fantastic console in its own right, and exclusives such as Super Smash Bros., Splatoon and Bayonetta 2 are some of this generation's best games across any platform. A more inviting price would give more gamers a chance to experience these games, while allowing Nintendo to clear out some inventory space ahead of the NX's March 2017 release.
Doubling Down on Mobile
Miitomo, Nintendo's mobile debut, is already a huge hit, having racked up more than 10 million users thanks to its silly, addictive take on social media. But the real test of Nintendo's mobile chops will come this fall, when the company plans to release pocket-sized versions of two of its most beloved games: Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem.
Animal Crossing for mobile is Nintendo's chance to capture both hardcore and casual fans, as the game's seemingly mundane town-building gameplay can be incredibly engrossing. Nintendo says the game will interact with console versions of Animal Crossing, which could lead to an exciting future of Nintendo games that reward you for playing across multiple platforms.
Fire Emblem, on the other hand, promises to cater to fans of the hardcore tactical role-playing series. The series has lots of momentum thanks to the recently-released Fire Emblem: Fates on 3DS, and its chess-like combat is a perfect fit for touchscreen devices. If Nintendo can retain what makes these two hit franchises so special on mobile devices, it could have a whole new kind of killer app on its hands this fall.
Curating Its Best Console Games
It'd be a stretch to say there's absolutely nothing to play on Nintendo consoles this year. First-party offerings such as Paper Mario Color Splash for Wii U and Kirby: Planet Robobot look promising, as does Monster Hunter: Generations, the latest sequel in Capcom's insanely popular action-RPG series. There are also a healthy amount of indies headed to Nintendo platforms, including Axiom Verge, Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 and Terraria.
With that said, Nintendo would be wise to curate and promote these games as aggressively as possible. Maybe that takes the form of a big indie game bundle, or maybe that means Nintendo packaging a mix of old and new first-party titles for a good price.
This year surely won't go down as Nintendo's best, but it doesn't have to be a complete failure. Between dropping the Wii U's price, delivering incredible mobile games and highlighting the best of its console lineup, there are plenty of ways the big N can keep its biggest fans busy as they eagerly await the NX's 2017 arrival.