By now you’ve all heard how the 3DS failed to meet Nintendo’s sales expectations during the launch month. Instead of writing an article bashing Nintendo or starting a flame war, I thought it would be fun to analyze where Nintendo veered off track.
To begin with the 3DS has only been on the market for a handful of weeks, and yet the system has yet to hit the four million mark, as revealed by Mr. Iwata during Nintendo’s conference call to investors. He said it was because of a lack of vision, people being confused with the technology, and a series of other references. They’re all logical, but truth be told…not the whole picture.
I fail to see how people are looking at the 3DS and not realizing it has the ability to increase or decrease the level of 3D being displayed with a switch on the side of the device. Has our society really become that degenerate that we need to be told to look at the device and figure out how it works? I mean the 3DS was built to be simple to use from day one.
The real reason why the 3DS hasn’t been as successful as Nintendo had hoped is because of the same reasons the PS3 wasn’t an overnight sensation. Wait a second; the PS3 was an instant selling success. It only had problems slightly later on. What were those problems though? Oh that’s right, a high price point and lack of software. Hmm, interesting isn’t it? So let’s zero in on those two areas.
The 3DS has an asking price of $250USD, and while expensive for a Nintendo portable, $250 isn’t going to break the bank. That said, the Wii itself can be easily had for around $170. Hmm. See where I’m going with this? Right now, given the software that’s currently available, yes, the 3DS is being looked at as overpriced. Is that wrong, no, it isn’t. Anyone who says otherwise isn’t looking at the current situation. What exactly are you playing on your $250 portable? Yeah, that’s what I thought, not much.
The main problem though isn’t so much the price as I said before. I’ll admit that all new hardware is expensive because the technology inside isn’t cheap. The reason we spend the additional funds is because of the software we can only play on this new bad boy. That’s the 3DS’ main problem right now. I headed over to my local game shop the other day just to see what is currently available and to be frank, there wasn’t a single game that interested me. You know that I currently don’t have time for portables outside of my iPhone, but I was taking this very serious. I wanted to see what I would purchase if I was going to buy the system today. The answer was, I wouldn’t purchase the system based off the games I saw.
Does the future look any brighter for the 3DS? Yes, it sure does. Every third party in the world has expressed interest in developing for the machine, but most of those games are still months if not years away from release. Even Nintendo isn’t going to release all new games for some time. They have an enhanced port/remake of Starfox coming, they’ve got Ocarina of Time, but the new Super Mario Bros. is over a year out. While I’d love to play Zelda again, am I really going to dish out another $250 to play a game I have completed 45 times already? New features, 3D and alternate dungeons included. The answer is likely no, but then again I am a diehard fan so who knows.
The point here is that Nintendo either got cocky or they simply overlooked the problems Sony had with the early PlayStation 3 days. I was hoping we wouldn’t ever have to relive those days again, but here we are several years later and once again a publisher has released a new piece of hardware with no software and a high price tag.
Nintendo had better be taking notes because now that we know Project Café is coming out next year, the company has a heck of a lot of work ahead of it. While the 3DS will surely catch on once more software is available, Nintendo could make their next machine a hit from day one if they just price it right and release at least one killer app on launch day. Will they get lucky with another Wii Sports, maybe, but is that a chance they’re willing to take? They need something big to attract all those interested. Pilot Wings just isn’t going to cut it.
So where do you stand in all of this? Surely you must agree that the 3DS currently has a very weak line-up of titles, but it will improve in the coming months. Do you agree that Nintendo had better learn from the 3DS’ mistakes and put more emphasis on the launch of their next console instead of simply waiting for people to get attracted to it? Whatever you have to say, let us know! We’re always looking for potential arguments ;)