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I feel it's just that we're going through a bit of a Mario over-exposure period at the moment, and I may be way off on this but I think it's because of the 3DS' slow start and subsequent price cut.

Mario is a safe bet, he is the face of gaming and will sell no matter what. In the past 2 years Nintendo have launched two new systems and what they learnt from the 3DS they applied to the Wii-U. Launching 3DS at a high price without Mario caused a panic price cut and a lot of lost money. When two games with Mario in appeared simultaneously, plus the big price drop, suddenly the thing started selling like hot cakes.

From this, Nintendo were never going to launch the Wii-U without their star. It's just unfortunate that two 2D platformers starring the plumber appeared in the same year, and that we've also had Mario Tennis plus the Mario Kart & 3D Mario we had in 2011. And when the Wii-U launched out the gate below expectations, although not the centre of the showcase - more Mario was shown (3D & MK).

Basically, as other people have said, it's more Mario over-exposure than milking franchises. And I don't blame Nintendo. They want their systems to start doing well early, and Mario games are nearly always among their highest selling. I don't even think things are that bad, Pikmin is the current franchise they're promoting for Wii-U which has been absent for 8 years and won't even get close to Mario's sales. And since I believe a big focus of Nintendo Direct was Monolith's game and Wind Waker, that's good too. It's just a shame MK & 3D Mario were thrown in there too. I'm very much looking forward to them, but the complete lack of information about them suggests to me a Nintendo in panic mode, hoping that even more Mario is what the Wii-U needs.

Which is probably does, I guess. This post got a bit longer than intended and I'm kinda tired, so sorry if it doesn't make a lot of sense. It sounded right in my head :(