Hear me out, okay?
Nintendo has roughly three massive cross demographical system sellers: Mario, Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros. (If we count Pokemon, then it's four, but Pokemon is handheld only, and we are talking about the Wii U, so it's a moot point).
Now, let's examine the context the Wii U will find itself in come Holiday 2013:
- It shall be coming off of a year of tepid to mediocre sales at best (since nothing announced on the horizon pre Fall would move systems in the slightest).
- The Playstation 4 and the new Xbox will be releasing, offering a true generational leap, which means Nintendo will need to get aggressive and counter fast.
- They could theoretically drop the price, but as their experience with the 3DS has demonstrated, just dropping the price does not stimulate (or sustain) sales; one needs to have the appropriate software to go with the reduced, more attractive price.
Which brings us to the games. As mentioned above, they have three cross demographical games: Mario, Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros.
- 3D Mario sells systems, but it does not sell enough systems. It sells to the core audience more than the casual audience, and said core audience will probably be more than willing to forego playing the newest Mario for a while, just so they can get their hands on the shiny new Xbox and Playstation. The other Mario that does sell to casuals and cores, New Super Mario, has already released on the Wii U and failed to generate any kind of interest or response.
- Mario Kart has a slightly better outlook, except for one problem: Nintendo already played the Mario Kart card to sell the 3DS two years (at the time of Holiday 2013) ago. Casuals who just spent $170 plus another $40 to buy the latest Mario Kart then won't be willing to go spend another $250 (presuming the new price of the Deluxe model) plus $60 just to play another Mario Kart, when they might as well just play the DS, Wii, or 3DS games. For core gamers who like Mario Kart, again, it won't be enough by itself to sway them to cough up for a Wii U when they can buy a shiny new Xbox or Playstation instead.
- This brings us to the final game on that list: Super Smash Bros. The last game will have been out for nearly six years by Holiday 2013, meaning no risk of franchise saturation there. The Wii U version will probably get top billing over the 3DS version (especially since the 3DS will take care of itself with the Pokemon release), meaning everyone who wants to play it will want to buy a Wii U. Super Smash Bros. does sell systems, and it sells systems to both, the casuals and the core gamers. Many core gamers might decide to buy a Wii U for Super Smash Bros. (plus the existing library; along with the fact that the launch kinks will have been worked out by then), because SSB is the one game that will sway them over a new Xbox or Playstation. Casuals will simply go after the game they want to play the most, and that game will be Super Smash Bros.
To lend credence to my theory is the fact that Nintendo has enlisted the help of Namco Bandai to help with Super Smash Bros. 4, which means that they have clearly fast tracked the development. You can quote me on this if you like, but Nintendo's marquee Holiday 2013 game will be SSB4.