At the time of its November 2013 release, Super Mario 3D World was hailed by Edge as being “the Wii U’s best game to date”. Of course, Bayonetta 2 and Mario kart 8 had still to come out, but what is interesting is that despite the deluge of plaudits that the game received, it was met with very little fanfare at launch – with the critically derided PS4 platformer Knack comfortably outselling it in the UK.
Of course, and with the Wii U’s fate still to be determined back then (despite realists arguing that the PS4 and XBox One juggernauts had already put a stop to Nintendo’s party), what was interesting was how Satoru Iwata was adamant that Super Mario 3D World would help drive sales of the console, yet his company promptly bundled the game for £299. A hard sell when taken into account that the PS4 was only £50 more dearer in comparison.
Regardless of how badly the Wii U has floundered since launch, and how inept Nintendo have been in mismanaging the system, another factor that has contributed towards the slow uptake of the console is how expensive some of its high profile games still are. As an example, a “system seller” like Super Mario 3D World still sells for RRP – despite coming out nearly 2.5 years ago in November 2013.
Nintendo loyalists will be quick to argue that the reason as to why Nintendo games don’t depreciate in price is because of their inherent “quality”. But it could be argued that if the company’s games are really so good, where they have universal appeal, then why has the Wii U only sold a paltry 12.8 million units since launch?
In an age where Microsoft routinely discounts its heavy hitters (like Halo) a few months after launch so as to open up its products to new markets and get them into more homes, it seems bizarre that Nintendo would seek to throttle supply in order to maintain brand equity. However, this is something that the company has always done, where the production of insufficient units has only sought to instil an illusionary demand – regardless of their product’s inherent quality. It’s why second hand sales of their games rarely sell below RRP.
As an example, and if one were to take a look at the Wii, Nintendo could have sold twice as many units when the machine was still in demand (for the first 3 years of its existence). The Wii U is also hard to find in Japan. And the recent “black market” that’s sprung up as a consequence of Fire Emblem Fates: Special Edition (3DS) selling out in only a few hours, suggests that Nintendo have deliberately under-produced in order to maintain an inflated retail price for their physical goods.
Personally, I think that Super Mario 3D World should be a great deal cheaper – what with the game being 2.5 years old and the Wii U console being (to all intents and purposes) a dead platform, but I’m not going to argue any more as to why the game still sells for around £40. I will however state that for the £40 that the game still sells for, that it’s incredibly over-rated, and not deserving at all of the unanimous fawning that it receives from people who just can’t let go of the notion that Nintendo are past it has-beens.
Anyway, if you have a Wii U, yet haven’t yet picked up Super Mario 3D World – probably because there are more deserving games in the same price bracket – then you’ll be pleased to know that the game’s currently on discount. And irrespective of what I say, a lot of people happen to like it – as evidenced by the 93% Metacritic score.
You know… for the (discounted) price, I’d say Super Mario 3D World is just about worth it. Just.