Could Nintendo Launch The Nintendo NX Successfully in July?

This article is an opinion piece written by Elia Pales and does not necessarily reflect the thoughts of the entire Nintendo Enthusiast staff.


A large number of rumors have been circulating regarding the release of the Nintendo NX. Although some rumors have a little more credibility than others, none of the supposedly “leaked” information has been confirmed. One of the bits leaked, however, piqued my interest. According to this “report,” Nintendo is planning to begin mass production of the Nintendo NX in May or June of next year, with a full release planned for July. Without a history of releasing hardware in the summer, many simply assumed this rumor to be untrue. However, this information still begs the question: Could Nintendo launch a console successfully in July?

One of the slices of information fans jumped on was a recent interview conducted with Charlie Scibetta, Nintendo’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications. In the interview, Scribetta was asked why Nintendo does not tend to release software during the summer months. Here was his response:

“You want to launch games when people are in the mood to buy. We do the bulk of our business in the holiday season, probably about 60% in October, November, and December.”

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If Nintendo sees 60% of its sales in the fall, it may seem at first glance that the holiday season would be the ideal time to launch a product. If we dig deeper, however, this may not necessarily be so true. Perhaps the reason why the holiday is so successful is because of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Nintendo’s biggest games (Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Super Smash Bros) tend to launch in the holiday, so of course it makes sense that during this period of the year sales are far higher than during the spring or summer months.

A great example of this is Mario Kart 8, which launched in May, and is the highest-selling Wii U game to date. Fire Emblem Awakening and Bravely Default, both February launches, performed very well in the States. It seems like games tend to sell based on the property and quality, rather than their launch month. If a console were to launch during non-holiday season, it is more than likely that a good price and appealing product could sell more than enough consoles.

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A great example of this is with the 3DS. The handheld struggled at the beginning of its life, clearly because of its high price-point. When the price for the handheld was dropped in August, along with the release of several key titles, sales for the 3DS rose considerably, even though August was a summer month. Another example of this could be seen with the Xbox One. After a price drop in June, rather than the holidays, the console doubled month-over-month sales in the span of a single month. What can be learned from history is that rather than the launch date, the price, launch library, and product itself is vastly more important than the time of year a product launches.

Nintendo has stated that it would share more information on the Nintendo NX next year, but did not say specify whether we would see this initial information at E3 or beforehand. With Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem seemingly being the only 2016 release for the Wii U, Nintendo could absolutely announce the NX officially at an event in February, then continue to slowly release information on the console leading up to E3 (through Nintendo Directs and small press-releases). Then, with a massive showing at E3 2016, the company could surely launch the NX in late July or early August.

Still the champion.

Not only is a console release in July feasible, but it also seems to be strategically beneficial. One of the problems with recent Nintendo launches (N3DS, 3DS, Wii, Wii U), is that the platforms start of initially very strong, but this leads to stock shortages and even a loss of interest in some cases (Wii U). If August is a bit of a tamer month to release in, then perhaps this could help alleviate the problem of shortages, as early adopters would not have to clash with holiday gift-buyers when going to purchase the console during the holiday.

Another benefit is that launching the console in July would give Nintendo several months to build up a solid catalog of games before the holiday season. With Metroid, Zelda, and Mario (presumably) in the works for the Nintendo NX, Nintendo could stagger those releases between July and the holiday season, ridding itself of any possible initial games drought.

Retro Studios

Personally, I am not entirely sure whether I would like to see the Nintendo NX launch during a summer month such as August, or during a holiday month. Either way, I fully believe that Nintendo could launch a console successfully in July. Ultimately, the price, game catalog, and product itself will be much more important than the launch month that Nintendo chooses for the NX’ launch.

Do you believe that a July launch for the Nintendo NX could be successful, or are you a holiday-season purist? Let us know in the comments section below!

Eli Pales
Eli buys virtually every Nintendo title that comes out but has expanded his collection to include amiibo. He hasn't taken them out of their boxes, though, so he might be a bit insane. When not playing video games, Eli likes writing about politics and games. He also runs a decent amount. Outside.