Nintendo recently announced that they're releasing EarthBound on the Wii U virtual console in the U.S. and Europe. Then they debunked the theories that it hadn't been previously re-released because the music sounded too much like various pop songs. That theory never made any sense to me anyway. The pop song legal army didn't stop the game's initial launch on the SNES from happening, and besides, if every song that ripped off another song was stopped from release due to legal concerns, we'd lose about 90% of the world's pop music.
My guess has always been that EarthBound wasn't re-released before because Nintendo figured everyone who might value the game already has it in one form or another, and that everyone else in the world just wouldn't get it. I imagine that they'd feel the same way about Mother 3, EarthBound's highly ambitious, emotionally charged sequel. After the fan patch rocketed to stardom a few years back, I'd guessed Nintendo felt that ship had sailed.
It seems that Wii U Miiverse integration has Nintendo feeling confident that community involvement will make EarthBound more marketable to both past and future fans alike. I hope they feel the same way about Mother 3, which has a free translation up for grabs should Nintendo choose to use it. It wouldn't be the first time a fan translation was later used in a retail product, so don't go poo-pooing the whole notion, you poo poo lovers.
While you're at it Nintendo, there is a pretty cool fan translation of Fatal Frame 4 that would work for a mighty fine Wii U digital exclusive release.
Offer to Nintendo [Mother3 Fan Translation Site]
[*].disqus.comto your security software's whitelist.