Marvel vs. Capcom 3 to launch by end of March

Publisher's annual report pegs crossover fighting game debut for first quarter of 2011, changes release timing strategy.

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With the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 fight card nearly fleshed out, it's about time to set a date for the crossover brawler. While Capcom has previously listed the game as a "spring 2011" release, the publisher's annual report to investors today confirmed that Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is scheduled for the fourth quarter of its current fiscal year, which runs January 1-March 31, 2011.

For fans of Tron Bonne, March 31 can't come soon enough.

If Marvel vs. Capcom 3 makes that launch window, the fighter would continue a Capcom tradition of launching high-profile games in the post-holiday period. In recent years, Capcom has launched hits like Resident Evil 4 and 5, Street Fighter IV, and Devil May Cry 4 in the January-March quarter. However, it appears the publisher will be adding to that list at a slower clip in the future.

"Traditionally, the demand for other companies' major software peaked during the Christmas season, which corresponds to the third quarter of the Japanese fiscal year," Capcom said in its annual report. "For this reason, Capcom followed a strategy whereby we launched multiple major titles in the comparatively slow fourth [fiscal year] quarter. However, in recent years, other companies began following the same strategy, making the release of multiple titles in the fourth quarter a risky proposition."

That strategy has already begun taking effect. Earlier this year, Capcom delayed Monster Hunter Tri, Super Street Fighter IV, and Lost Planet 2 rather than put them up against an unusually crowded field of first-quarter releases.

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