Nintendo has rightly received praise for upping their game in terms of marketing for the Switch. They've used good psychological devices to keep focus on games that will be available in the immediate future, most remarkably in holding practically the entire Switch under wraps until less than two months before launch. They've learned to placate possibly disappointed fans who wanted something more such as promising Metroid Prime 4 at the same time that a 3DS remake of Metroid 2 was announced and a full mainline Pokemon is coming out next year when they unveiled Pokemon Let's Go.
However, as the title says, they have made a few mistakes that, with better marketing strategy, could have alleviated some headaches they've had this year:
1. Fire Emblem Warriors should have been a held back for a 2018 release.
This one is a no-brainer. I've been saying this for some time, and it's even more obvious now that Fire Emblem: Three Houses has been pushed back. This game debuted in North America a week before Mario Odyssey and was completely lost in the shuffle. Fire Emblem Warriors was not an immediately marketable title and needed some space in order to find an audience. Hyrule Warriors could have presumably have been finished off and released a few months earlier and had an easier time standing out in the crowded 2017 marketplace with its Zelda pedigree and served to prepare the new Switch consumer base that didn't have a Wii U to accept Nintendo Warriors titles.
If Nintendo had saved it for an April or May release, they could have nurtured its marketing better. Obviously, there's little in 2018's first half that would drown it out, and it would have sold well simply by the virtue of there not being much in the way of Nintendo competition.
Which brings me to the final bit, and why it was a mistake not just for the game, but for Switch's larger marketing strategy. Nintendo has lacked original product in the first half of 2018. You drop in Fire Emblem Warriors into the lineup, and that alone adds a third 2nd-tier Nintendo published original title in the first half of the year to complement Kirby and Mario Tennis. It's still not a great lineup, but it would be respectable and allow Nintendo to continue its 2017 momentum more clearly.
2. Don't announce Yoshi and Fire Emblem: Three Houses for 2018.
Not really much to say here, and Nintendo's been very good about not overpromising its lineup and then delaying. But the delay of these two games, particularly Fire Emblem was a big disappointment for me and left a bad taste in my mouth.
3. Nintendo Labo should have been a Fall release.
No rocket science here either. Nintendo Labo is essentially a toy for little ones. Introduce it closer to the holiday season and hope that it catches fire.
4. Pokemon Let's Go should have been announced at E3.
Let's just consider for a moment where we live in a world where E3 begins with the debut trailer for a new Pokemon game and ends with a Smash blowout. Is there any doubt that the Nintendo post-E3 narrative would be totally different if they'd just held off the announcement a couple more weeks?
Yeah, I know they never announce Pokemon at E3, but Nintendo went into their Nintendo Direct with a bad hand. They were going to subtract Fire Emblem and Yoshi from the lineup and only add Mario Party. If tradition means that your system's reputation is going to take a hit, then it's time to change the tradition.
With a debuting Pokemon title, Nintendo would be in the conversation of whether they had "won E3" instead of generally being accepted as a disappointment. That's definitely a marketing mistake with a very simple fix.
5. Have Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze come with Donkey Kong Country Returns as a downloadable pack in.
This is another fairly easy one. No need to upgrade the game. It would have cost Nintendo very little and would have alleviated the complaints about a port being sold for a higher price than the original. It also would have helped sales. Just speaking for myself, it would have moved the game from a pass to a buy.
Anyone got anything else?