Major music labels are happy to re-release re-mastered classic albums, year after year. Video game publishers, by contrast, focus on issuing new games. But in 2009, Nintendo hasn't been doing that, as the full-year release lists now make clear.
The impending release of Wii Fit Plus in two weeks is the latest in an atypical 2009 publishing pattern for Nintendo, one of the most active publishers in the industry. On the DS and through download services, Nintendo continues to issue many new games. But on its home console this year, Nintendo has backed an unprecedented number of re-issues and compilations, a strategy that reaches its crescendo with the October 4 issuing of Wii Fit Plus.
Here is the company's slate for this year.
Nintendo-Published Wii Games In 2009 March: New Play Control: Pikmin (GameCube port) March: New Play Control: Mario Power Tennis (GameCube port) April: Excitebots: Trick Racing (new game) May: New Play Control: Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (GameCube port) May: Punch-Out!! (new game) July: Wii Sports Resort (new game) August: Metroid Prime Trilogy (compilation) October: Wii Fit Plus (software upgrade)* Fall: New Super Mario Bros. (new game)
(*Wii Fit Plus, which includes new mini-games, modified workout options and could be considered a sequel, is replacing Wii Fit, which Nintendo will no longer sel/l)
Compare that to Nintendo's Wii publishing line-up from last year:
Nintendo-Published Wii Games In 2008 Endless Ocean (new game) Super Smash Bros. Brawl (new game) Mario Kart Wii (new game) Wii Fit (new game) Mario Super Sluggers (new game) Wario Land: Shake It (new game) Wii Music (new game) Animal Crossing: City Folk (new game)
Nintendo is an unusual publisher, of course. It has two platforms to support with first-party software and has traditionally been a more active publisher than, say, Microsoft:
Microsoft-Published Xbox 360 Games In 2009 Halo Wars (new game) Ninjablade (new game) Halo 3: ODST (new game) Forza 3 (new game) Lips Number One Hits (new game)
Sony might be a more apt publisher with which to compare Nintendo. It's doing some of the re-release and compilation stuff too.
Sony-Published PlayStation 3 Games in 2009 MLB: 09: The Show (new game) Killzone 2 (new game) Infamous (new game) SingStar Queen (new game) Uncharted 2 (new game) Little Big Planet: Game of the Year edition (re-release) NBA 09: The Inside (new game) Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time (new game) EyePet (new game) Buzz! Quiz World (new game) God of War Collection (compilation)
So, ignoring how "new" you may feel the "new game"s are on this list, look over the number of games that are brand-new developments compared to those that have been kept in print, re-issued, tweaked with added features or controls — and then packaged and released on a new disc.
Music labels do this. The Beatles' albums were just re-issued in re-mastered form this month. So... do you want more of this from your game companies too?