Nintendo is going to do awesome in 2011, if only because it’s launching its new 3D hand held, the Nintendo 3DS. Almost completely unopposed by Sony or Microsoft in the portal gaming department (the Sony PSP is going to have a lot of trouble competing with the technological advantage of the N3DS), the N3DS should sell insanely well when it goes on sale in March, regardless of its final retail price. However, new hardware alone won’t provide Nintendo with a meal ticket for the next few years. Fortunately, the library for the N3DS looks incredibly impressive with games like “Kid Icarus”, “Star Fox”, “Metal Gear Solid”, “Resident Evil” and “Dead or Alive” launching simultaneously (or shortly after) the N3DS’ debut.
With all eyes on the Nintendo 3DS, it’s easy to forget that the Nintendo Wii is still a fierce contender in the ongoing war against the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Nintendo Wii performed admirably in 2010, giving gamers “Donkey Kong Country Returns”, “New Super Mario Bros. Wii”, “Metroid: The Other M” and more. In contrast, 2011 looks uncharacteristically sparse, featuring only a few titles that fit the criteria for this list.
“The Conduit 2” has the potential to be a strong draw for FPS gamers, assuming will it improves on the mistakes that kept its predecessor from achieving greatness. “Mario Sports Mix” looks like a fun compilation of mini-games, and Nintendo fans are all hoping and praying that “Legends of Zelda: Skyward Sword” actually makes its 2011 release date. The new “Zelda” title looks like an absolutely fantastic hybrid of “Ocarina of Time”-esque mechanics and “Wind Waker” cel-shaded graphics, but there’s very good reason to concerned that its release date will slip into 2012.
The problem Nintendo faces is that they’re in a position where they need to support three different platforms simultaneously: the Nintendo Wii, the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo DS (until its eventually phased out in a few years). Their resources are being stretched thin, and with their attention understandably focused on making sure the Nintendo 3DS launches without a hitch, its pretty evident that the software lineup for the Wii and Nintendo DS is going to suffer as a result. There’s always a chance that Nintendo might pull a fast one on us and announce early next year that a slew of exclusive Nintendo Wii titles will be released in late 2011, but it seems doubtful.
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