Nintendo's 12 Longest and Most Painful Delays
Nintendo (OTC: NTDOY) and delays -- those words go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Over the past 18 years, Nintendo has delayed several games and a couple of game systems. Some were easy to forget while others left a lasting impression.
Now that delays are once again a big part of the Nintendo ecosystem, it's time to look back on the most prominent delays (past and present) that have tortured consumers and investors alike.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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While many big Nintendo games have experienced delays that lasted several months (or several years), Super Smash Bros. Brawl appears to have only had an official delay of just one month.
Unofficially, however, the game's release was teased pretty heavily before the game finally arrived, leaving many consumers to wait for this highly-anticipated sequel.Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
The latest Animal Crossing was announced during E3 2010. At that time Nintendo indicated that the game would be released within the following year or two.
By November 2012, the game was finally released in Japan. Nintendo postponed the game in America, however, and will not release it until June 9.Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Nintendo used Super Mario 3D Land to carry the Nintendo 3DS in the fall of 2011. The company was expected to do the same with Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon.
To be fair, Nintendo did not promise to release the game before the fall of 2012. After more than a year of waiting for it to be released, however, the delay must have been very painful for those who had the game on their holiday wish list.Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Consumers are being forced to wait 10 months to buy Pikmin 3.
Nintendo originally promised the game for Wii U's launch. The company quickly changed the release date to "launch window," which meant that it should have been released within three months of Wii U's release.
In January, Nintendo delayed Pikmin 3 until March. In March, it was delayed until June. Most recently the game was delayed until August.
The problem with these delays is that, in addition to the broken promises, Pikmin 3 is coming nearly a decade after Pikmin 2. How much more time does Nintendo need to delicately craft the game?Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Most gamers don't care (or even realize) that GoldenEye 007 was delayed -- but it was.
Nintendo had planned to release the game in the spring of 1997. In addition to the release date listing, Nintendo purchased ad space in a number of game publications -- another indicator that the game's was about to arrive.
Then, out of the blue, Nintendo delayed the game to August.
While few consumers can argue with the results, GoldenEye's delay represents one of the most questionable decisions in Nintendo's history.
Today it is not uncommon for game makers to advertise their software months or years before it is released. In 1997, ads were not published until the game was about to ship.Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
After The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time and Banjo-Kazooie were delayed, consumers were not overly surprised to hear that Yoshi's Story had also been pushed back from its planned release in 1997.
What they could not have predicted was that Yoshi's Story would turn out to be one of the most disappointing games released for Nintendo 64.
So much for quality over quantity.Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Before consoles delivered 3D graphics, Sega attempted to elevate consumers' gaming experiences with the release of two expensive add-ons: 32X and Sega CD.
Sega hoped that consumers would buy all three units, buy games for each of them, and fill its pockets with buckets of cash.
That strategy was not successful.
Despite this incredible example as to why hardware manufacturers should not ask consumers to purchase unnecessary upgrades, Nintendo wanted to release an add-on of its own: Nintendo 64DD (Disk Drive).
The 64DD was announced before the Nintendo 64 console was released in 1996. It experienced numerous delays and did not arrive in Japan until December 1999.
After flopping at retail, and after watching developers (internal and external) move their projects to other Nintendo devices, the 64DD was quickly discontinued and was not released outside of Japan.Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Twilight Princess was originally scheduled for release in the fall of 2005.
Consumers believed Nintendo this time because the company had stopped delaying new software. After playing Zelda at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo, bloggers were convinced it would ship on time.
Three months after the expo concluded, Nintendo made a surprising announcement: Twilight Princess had been delayed a full year.
While it was not uncommon for Nintendo to delay a Zelda game, the company did so under the guise of quality. During E3 2006, Nintendo announced that it had moved Twilight Princess to Wii and would only provide a limited release for GameCube owners.
In doing so, Nintendo was able to bring a very high-profile game to Wii on the day the console was released. It also meant that consumers had to wait an extra 12 months -- and potentially purchase a new console -- to buy the Zelda game they thought they were going to get in 2005.Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Game delays are bad enough, but how about an entire console?
Nintendo 64 was originally scheduled for a fall 1995 release. The console was delayed until April 1996 -- an unlikely time for the industry. Knowing that sales would be higher in the fall (and once again waving the "quality over quantity" banner), Nintendo delayed N64 until September 1996.Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
When Banjo-Kazooie was announced, Nintendo said that the game would have 15 worlds. After an eight-month delay, the game was released with only nine worlds.
Worst of all, Banjo-Kazooie's 1997 release date was replaced by Diddy Kong Racing, a previously unannounced game that turned out to be a weak Mario Kart knock-off.Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
In 1997, there were two RPGs that people could not wait to play.
One was Final Fantasy VII, which was developed by SquareSoft for Sony's (NYSE: SNE) first console, PlayStation. The other was The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time for Nintendo 64.
While Final Fantasy VII arrived on schedule in the fall of 1997 (and was released much sooner in Japan), The Ocarina of Time was nowhere to be found. Zelda was held back until November 1998, leaving Nintendo 64 owners with nothing to buy except GoldenEye and Diddy Kong Racing.Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Famed Nintendo developer Shigeru Miyamoto used to joke that Mario was "still running" in Super Mario 64 2, the mythical sequel to the hugely popular Super Mario 64.
"Running" was all Mario ever did in the sequel, which turned out to be nothing more than a single screenshot designed to tease a game that never really existed.
Nintendo hyped Super Mario 64 2 for many years but never released a full trailer for the game. Today, such a move would be very suspicious.
Consumers did not take the hint, however. They believed that a new Mario game was just around the corner.
In reality, they would have to wait until 2002 -- six years after the release of Mario 64 -- to play the next chapter in the series.Wikimedia Commons