Nintendo has addressed questions about annualizing franchises such as Mario Kart and Smash Bros., saying it prefers to focus on creating unique new experiences each time and, as with recent Wii U games, releasing downloadable content.
Speaking to Examiner, Nintendo of America's Scott Moffitt explained that surprising the player is a key part of its gaming experiences, which is why yearly releases aren't a part of its strategy.
"We tend not to annualise our franchises, there's not a new Mario Kart every year," he said. "What we've tried to do with the Wii U is first, create a fully-featured, really enjoyable game that has something for everybody, has surprises that you'll discover as you play through levels, and it gives you a good amount of quality entertainment."
"For fans who love (Mario Kart), we've released extra content over time so that it keeps the game fresh and allows them to experience more than they could when they originally bought the game."
He continued: "That's the approach we take, rather than annualising the franchise, we are periodically releasing new courses, levels, and features that keep people playing. We see a huge surge in gameplay hours on Mario Kart when we release (new content)."
Nintendo's strategy differs for franchises such as Pokemon, where the company is more open to annual releases.
"If you look at the Pokemon franchise, we have released multiple core games for the 3DS. We like to give fans something every year, but something like Mario Kart or Smash Bros. -- there may only be one version of that franchise in the whole console cycle."
According to Moffitt, the decision to annualise a franchise is dependent on "the franchise, the developer and what new ideas they can bring to (a) franchise to move the gameplay forward and keep (it) fresh," but that "incremental changes may not be worth a whole new release."
Nintendo has delivered new modes, courses and characters for Mario Kart 8 as downloadable content. Smash Bros. for Wii U has also been updated with new characters. Most recently, the all-star roster added Fire Emblem's Roy and Street Fighter's Ryu.
Nintendo's next console, codenamed NX, was first announced in March. Specific details on what the hardware will be have not yet been released.
If the manufacturing story is accurate, it would suggest that the corporation has a final idea on how the product will look and what components it will use. Reports have indicated Nintendo NX could begin assembly in October 2015.