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Nintendo Breaks Its Silence On Limited Release Games

2020 is a huge milestone year for Mario, but Nintendo's way of celebrating the plumber's 35-year anniversary was a bit strange. While the company released a slew of new Mario content, most of it will no longer be available or sold after March 31, 2021. Nintendo never explained why it opted for a limited release strategy, until now.


In a recent interview with Polygon, Nintendo of America's President Doug Bowser explained the company's strategy for these limited release titles. Bowser highlighted the fact that since many of these titles were created in celebration of Mario's 35th anniversary, that was more than enough reason to market these games as limited time releases. And according to Bowser, it ended up working in Nintendo's favor.

"There are various ways that we're celebrating Mario's 35th," Bowser said. "And with some of these titles, we felt it was an opportunity to release them for a limited period of time. They've done very, very well. Super Mario 3D All-Stars has sold over 2.6 million units in the U.S. alone. And so clearly, consumers have been able to jump in and enjoy that."


While this strategy may have helped Nintendo sell millions of copies of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, there are still plenty of gamers out there who will never be able to own the title if they don't get it before March 31, which seems like a baffling decision from Nintendo. When confronted by the issue of consumers missing out on these new games, Bowser didn't really offer much more of an explanation.

"At this point, the decision was really made around that celebration feature and aspect," Bowser said. "I can't speak to plans beyond the end of March."

March 31 will see several Mario titles being removed from sale, old and new games alike. Nintendo will discontinue online services and take down Super Mario Maker for Wii U, stop the sale of the Mario-themed Game & Watch, and remove Super Mario Bros. 35 and Super Mario 3D All-Stars from the eShop. Nintendo has taken a similar approach with Fire Emblem by releasing the first entry in the series, Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light in celebration of the series' 30-year anniversary. However, this too will be removed from the eShop on March 31.

It's unknown whether or not Nintendo will continue employing these limited release tactics. Bowser did mention in the interview that this marketing ploy is "not a strategy we're going to be using widely." But with The Legend of Zelda is approaching its own 35th anniversary, will Nintendo stay true to its word? It's hard to say for now, but if the company releases a collection of past Zelda games, hopefully it won't leave any beloved entries out.