Posted September 4, 2020 by Andrew Cathie in Feature

Nintendo Are Exploiting FOMO With Their Limited Release of Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Limited editions and small physical runs of games aren’t exactly uncommon in this day and age. Every publisher under the sun has released some form of collectors or limited edition for a game they’ve published. Alternatively, there are also plenty of small time publishers working with smaller devs to do low quantity runs of their games, like Limited Run Games. In both of these instances, those same games can still be purchased digitally regardless of the limited nature of these other editions, while many also get a standard non-limited physical run as well. That has changed now though, with Nintendo announcing that Super Mario 3D All-Stars would only be sold for 6 months before being completely pulled from sale.

People have long spoken about the urban legend of Nintendo driving artificial scarcity of their products with deliberately small print runs of games or Amiibo. In reality the company is just largely risk averse and don’t want to end up with copies of games sitting on shelves for years and driving down the value of their products. In this instance, however, it’s abundantly clear what Nintendo are doing.

By giving you only a limited window to buy Super Mario 3D All-Stars, they know full well that this will drive people who wouldn’t have otherwise purchased it to jump on board. If this is your only chance to get it, of course you’re going to buy it now! It’s buy it now at retail cost or get ready to buy it from scalpers at over inflated prices post-March 31st. While you might have tried to wait for a sale before, how likely are you to hold out now, knowing that the game will completely disappear from sale in less than 6 months?

The real kicker here though, is in the date that Nintendo have chosen to end sales. March 31st has a very specific importance to it: It’s the final day of the financial year. This move is designed to drive as much money and as many console sales as possible specifically for this financial year and the results that will bring for their shareholders. They don’t want a long tail of sales over years, they’re looking for an immediate and significant boost to their bottom line in a year when the Switch is selling gangbusters despite limited game releases.

What’s massively worrying though, is if this move works they may decide to try it again. Next year is the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, so who’s to say they won’t do something similar with a collection of some of those classic games? What about a Kirby collection for its next anniversary or limiting the long rumoured Metroid Prime Trilogy to a limited release strategy like this? The possibilities are endless with Nintendo’s massive back catalogue and deliberately limiting availability will make all of those options more immediately successful.

I don’t think I’m ready for a world where Nintendo regularly trots out their classics for a short time in the sun, before shoving them back into the vault, but that’s where this seems to be going. Get ready for a world of limited time full game releases from a major publisher purely designed to quickly drive their bottom line up by targeting and exploiting your fear of missing out. Buy your copy of Super Mario 3D All-Stars ASAP or forever hold your peace, says Nintendo. 

Andrew Cathie

Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.