Market Overview

Nintendo Thinks You Want This

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Nintendo (NTDOY) is justifying the release of another side-scrolling, two-dimensional Mario game by claiming that it is what consumers want. But is that actually the case?

Takashi Tezuka, a veteran producer at Nintendo, told GameSpot that all of the similarities within New Super Mario Bros. U are "intentional."

"The things we feel like we've already promised the gamer is that Peach will be kidnapped by Bowser, and Mario will move from left to right," he said. "We know that's what people are expecting!"

Tezuka went on to say that this game is "what people want."

He may be right in assuming that New Super Mario Bros. U is what consumers expect. But is that actually what they want?

On GameRankings.com, the original New Super Mario Bros. game ranks 22nd with a review score average of 89.17%. If we exclude Mario no Super Picross (an obscure Japanese import with only one review) from the list, New Super Mario Bros. would rank 21st.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the first sequel in the "New" Mario series, ranks 25th with a review score average of 88.12%.

However, the most acclaimed Mario games do not fall within the predictable, side-scrolling scenario that Tezuka described. Super Mario Galaxy, which became the most critically acclaimed Mario game when it was released in 2007, provided consumers with a wholly unique experience. Its review score average of 97.49% is higher than any other game released on Nintendo Wii.

Super Mario Galaxy 2, which achieved a review score average of 97.12%, ranks second among Mario games reviewed on GameRankings.com.

But Super Mario World -- the final side-scrolling Mario game released until New Super Mario Bros. arrived -- ranks third with a review score average of 96%.

The rest of the top five is rounded out by another 3D Mario game, Super Mario 64 (95.95%), and another 2D Mario game, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (95%).

On Metacritic.com/games, the top five highest-ranked Mario games include the first Mario Galaxy (97%), its sequel (also 97%), Mario 64 (94%), Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 (94%), and Paper Mario (93%).

Meanwhile, New Super Mario Bros. achieved a Metacritic average of 89%. New Super Mario Bros. Wii scored 87%.

From a critical standpoint, it is clear that people enjoy 2D Mario games. But they tend to like the 3D offerings a little bit more.

In terms of sales, however, it would seem that consumers prefer Mario's 2D outings. The original Super Mario Galaxy sold 10 million units. Its sequel moved more than 6.7 million units. Super Mario 64, the first 3D Mario game, sold nearly 12 million units. Super Mario 64 DS (a handheld port) sold another 9.6 million units.

By comparison, New Super Mario Bros. sold more than 28 million units, while New Super Mario Bros. Wii sold more than 25 million units.

Only Mario 64 and Mario 64 DS were released at the launch of their respective devices, so it is hard to gauge how the installed user base may have impacted the sales of these games. New Super Mario Bros., for example, arrived on store shelves more than 18 months after the Nintendo DS was released. New Super Mario Bros. Wii arrived a full three years after the Wii console was released.

But even if the installed user base played a role in the success of the New Super Mario Bros. franchise, the reality is that these games are still much more profitable for Nintendo.

The only question now, however, is whether or not that success can continue when a 2D Mario game is released at a console's launch.

Follow me @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: GameSpot Mario New Super Mario Bros. U Nintendo Nintendo 3DS Super MarioNews Tech Best of Benzinga

 

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