If Nintendo’s next console release is anything like previous releases, I bet it’s going to hit stores on November 20th, 2011. Here’s why I think so.

1) History.

Previous consoles have almost always come out in November. Why? Black Friday and the holiday season in the United States is a huge time to get sales and a holiday season can, in fact, make or break a console.

3DS: Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Wii: Sunday, November 19th, 2006

PS3: Saturday, November 11th, 2006 in Japan and Friday, November 17th, 2006 in North America

X360: Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

Nintendo DS: Sunday, November 21st, 2004

PSP: Sunday, December 12th, 2004

With the exception of the 3DS, every one of the last six major handheld or console systems have released in winter, almost all of them in November. 100% of Nintendo’s last several systems have released on Sundays. The Wii and the DS both released the weekend before Thanksgiving. Want more evidence?

SNES: November 21st, 1990.

Game Boy Color: November 19th, 1998

Gamecube: November 18th, 2001

Sure, the NES and N64 came out at slightly different times of the year (October and September) and the SNES came out on a Wednesday, but the window of time here is pretty clear. Nintendo released the 3DS in March solely to get a jump on the NGP, if you ask me (which may or may not come out this holiday season), thus breaking the product cycle ever so slightly. Releasing a brand new console more powerful than the 360 and PS3 this holiday season would be perfect timing, moreso than in 2012 or 2013 when Sony and Microsoft are closer to a new console of their own.

On top of that, Nintendo has a track record for keeping quiet about their hardware until the very last minute, suddenly announcing a release date that’s right around the corner. It wouldn’t be like them to talk about their new console long before it was ready, announcing it at E3 2011 and releasing it in winter of 2012. This November makes the most sense.

2) A complete dearth of first-party games in the near future. 

At PAX East I learned about the development cycle, where successful companies have multiple projects running simultaneously in order to keep most of their development team employed. To my knowledge, Nintendo hasn’t been going through massive layoffs and subsequent rehirings, so obviously they’re up to something, but they aren’t talking about it. The last first party games to be released were Donkey Kong Country Returns and Kirby’s Epic Yarn and those were both this past holiday season. Not everyone can be working on Skyward Sword and 3DS Mario, so what is everyone doing? Games for the new console, that’s what! So if everyone’s employed and working on new games, why the sudden drought in the middle of spring? These games must be coming out this year, otherwise that’s a loooong drought.

3) Some companies have accidentally alluded to it already.

It didn’t jump out at me initially, but rereading some articles I realized that some 3rd party developers are almost certainly working on titles already and can’t talk about them. For instance, in one Kotaku article on Sonic Generations (http://kotaku.com/#!5793017/sonic-generationes-is-like-a-dream-sonic-game-except-its-real since WordPress’s link creator isn’t working right now), Totilo says, “A Sega rep told me there’s no Wii version because the game is fully HD. Odd. Sonic’s been a star on Wii.” Remembering that the new Nintendo console is an HD console, it makes complete sense that Sega, one of Nintendo’s biggest software partners on the Wii, would already be working on a version for it but would be bound by non-disclosure not to talk about it.

4) Sony and Microsoft have nothing planned until 2014.

Given that Sony and Microsoft are itching to make the most out of the PS3 & Move and the Xbox 360 & Kinect and have already stated that they’re shooting to make a new console in 2014, it is in Nintendo’s utmost best interest to release a powerful, surprise console sooner rather than later. They’ll come out with something innovative and revolutionary this year and then for the next 2-3 years Sony and Microsoft will scramble to mimic it while Nintendo rakes in the cash.

As far as I’m concerned, November 20th is all but set in stone as the release date for the newest Nintendo console. We’ll know for sure as of E3 in just a few short months if I’m right.