There may be a new Call of Duty, FIFA and Assassin's Creed on store shelves every single year, but Nintendo of America's Scott Moffitt stresses that Nintendo isn't looking to pull the same trick any time soon.
Speaking to The Examiner, Moffitt addressed the issue of yearly updates, something which publishers like EA, Ubisoft and Activision have embraced with a vengeance. Nintendo of American's VP of Sales feels that keeping games alive with DLC content - as has been the case with Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. - is a much better idea:
We tend not to annualize our franchises, there's not a new Mario Kart every year. What we've tried to do with the Wii U is first, create a fully featured really enjoyable game that has something for everybody, has surprises that you'll discover as you play through levels and it gives you a good amount of quality entertainment.
For fans who love [Mario Kart], we've released extra content over time so that it keeps the game fresh and allows them to experience more than they could when they originally bought the game. That's the approach we take, rather than annualizing the franchise, we are periodically releasing new courses, levels and features that keep people playing. We see a huge surge in gameplay hours on Mario Kart when we [release new content].
There are exceptions, of course. Traditionally, we've seen lots of Pokémon games in a short space of time, proving that Nintendo is willing to speed things up if the market - and the franchise - calls for it:
We take different approaches with different franchises. If you look at the Pokémon franchise, we have released multiple core games for 3DS. We like to give Pokémon fans something every year, but something like Mario Kart or Smash Bros. there may only be one version of that franchise in the whole console cycle.
If Pokémon is approaching an almost yearly level of updates, could we see other famous franchises do the same? Moffitt says it's all down to the series and the developer, and whether or not a yearly release schedule can still deliver the kind of quality Nintendo expects:
It all depends on the franchise, the developer and what new ideas they can bring to the franchise to move the gameplay forward and keep the franchise fresh. I think we always need to innovate and we need to always bring new ideas and new thoughts, but they have to be sufficient enough to justify the next release. Small, incremental changes may not be worth a whole new release.
Do you think adopting an annual release schedule for some of its other titles would be a good move for Nintendo? Or do you believe would come at the cost of innovation and quality - something that Ubisoft's bug-filled Assassin's Creed titles have been guilty of? Sound off in the comments to let us - and the rest of the Nintendo Life readership - know what you think.