Nintendo Game Drought Means One Thing: Get Ready For Wii 2

Nintendo Game Drought Means One Thing: Get Ready For Wii 2

You’re feeling it, we’re feeling it: there appears to be a veritable drought of first-party Nintendo titles this spring. None, to be exact.

Sure, Nintendo launched a brand new console a mere two weeks ago. But one can’t help but gape at what is most certainly the largest scarcity of titles to come – or more accurately, not come – from the company in a long while.

Curiosity compelled us to take a look at all of the cartridge-based and disk-based titles Nintendo has launched over the past 10 years to see if there isn’t some sort of pattern or precedent.


Look at all of the titles that Nintendo published since January, 2001. Click image to enlarge.


More dramatically, compare the above data to only those titles that Nintendo developed in the same time period. Click image to enlarge.

What can we take away from Nintendo’s historic release cycle?

Publishing for the DS exceeds that of the Wii both in terms of quantity and consistency. Nintendo leveraged an enormous amount of support upon the DS – support which we expect to see extended to the 3DS in the months to come. It’s no surprise, but Nintendo has been pampering all you portable gamers, because you’ve helped make them rich.

Since the launch of the Wii, Nintendo has been releasing first-party titles for the Wii and the DS in alternating waves. Whereas in the past we observed simultaneous releases across both portable and home consoles, it’s becoming the company’s habit to unveil titles for one platform at a time.

All this has happened before. The spring of 2002 was the longest Nintendo game drought on record, and has a number of characteristics in common with the season we’re entering now.

Nintendo has launched a major piece of technology (the 3DS) and is initiating the gradual retirement of a console with a large and reliable installed base.

While we entered into this data mining project with the presumption that we could recognise a pattern that presaged a new console release – the Wii 2, obviously – the last time there was a Nintendo game drought this pronounced was after the release of the Gamecube. Still, you can neatly overlay the release history of the Gamecube overtop the current release history of the Wii – they match that closely.

If anything, a drought at this point in the (terribly successful) Wii lineup might mean nothing – but smart’s money on a bunch of first-party Nintendo developers hard at work on launch titles for Wii 2.


  • Yes, because if I was going to retire my console, I would release a slew of first-party games to see it off (SMG2, DKCR, (Kirby?) in 2010, and Zelda Skyward Sword in 2011).

    The first-party developers are clearly MIA …or they would have released something for the 3DS.

  • I’d like to see what they can do to keep us interested in the Wii 2. Most gamers I know that got a Wii quickly put it aside after tiring of the games. There were a couple every now and then to make you dust it off and bring it out for a bit, but it still was used so rarely it got packed up and put away.

    I think they’ll need to bring something new or better to the table if they want to keep the hardcore gamer interested. It’s possible they don’t and are happy with the casual market but I think even they may tire of the system.

  • im ready for a new nintendo console:) especially if they can somehow work their magic and make something as mind blowing as the n64 was when first seen.
    I wanna see a kick ass new Nintendo controller too. I think nintendo have now realised that they need to strike a balance between the hardcore and casual gamers, so this should be interesting. (exciting too!)

  • Just add in more processing power for HD resolutions, give us true Dolby Digital, and ill be happy Nintendo, ya hear? Oh okay, you can tweak the performance and calibrations of your Wiimotes a bit but otherwise, come forth with HD Metroid and Zelda goodness!

    • This!

      I just want higher res and faster loading for current games, and out-of-the-box HD on newer stuff. Maybe then I can convince my mates to try some co-op Rogue Trooper or see more details in my Pikmin army.

      Maybe then we’ll see some better third party shooters and strategy games – Metroid Prime Trilogy is good, but I’m hoping Conduit 2 provides the multiplayer that Goldeneye failed at since we don’t have any real alternatives… not to mention I’d like to see a Battalion Wars that can do splitscreen as well as more racing games that do 4P split instead of just 2!

      Actually a bigged HDD wouldn’t go astray either if I recall how few good WiiWare titles can fit at any one time currently.

      • Gah! ‘bigger’, not ‘bigged’ – damned typo got through after rewriting all that since a 503 ate my first reply! >.<

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