During Nintendo’s crucial management briefing, Saturo Iwata confirmed the release date for the next instalment in the company’s ever-popular racing franchise. That’s right, Mario Kart 8 has now been pegged for a May release, and the company hopes to build a “huge momentum” behind the Wii U exclusive so that Mario’s latest outing isn’t a flash in the pan moment.
Speaking during Nintendo’s quarterly earnings presentation, here’s what Iwata had to say regarding upcoming software:
“We will announce the specific release dates of each software title and the release of new titles in other opportunities such as Nintendo Direct, but today we would like to announce that a key title for Wii U this year, Mario Kart 8, is scheduled to be released globally in May.”
Elsewhere in the address, Iwata announced a bevy of information surrounding Nintendo’s business strategy going forward. First and foremost, the company will introduce Network ID to smartphones, allowing integration with mobile devices while also permitting users to carry over their NNID between Nintendo systems.
In order to redefine the image of the Wii U, though, Iwata confirmed that the company plans to harness the idiosyncratic GamePad to produce unique gaming experiences in the near future, hinting that new software will be unveiled at the E3 trade show in June. Furthermore, Nintendo’s virtual console will make the jump from DS to Wii U, allowing for backwards compatibility and, crucially, GamePad integration with the company’s existing software catalogue.
Given that the Wii U is currently being sold at a loss, a price cut for the ailing hardware is out of the question for Nintendo. Whether these new initiatives, and indeed Mario Mart 8, can amend the system’s longstanding problems remains to be seen. After all, the release of Super Mario 3D World didn’t exactly light up the charts back in November and, to make matters worse, the company’s stock shed 4% in the wake of today’s meeting.
Without doubt, these next six months will be a defining time for the Wii U and for Nintendo as a whole.