Nintend’oh? – What’s wrong with the 3DS

A colossal failure, or a blip?

The 3DS was meant to be a revolution in gaming hardware. However, sales have been tricky since release, resulting in Nintendo slashing the retail price by a third, but in turn their stock has plummeted. What has gone so utterly Pete Tong for Ninty?

For a start, the long list of potential launch games reveled at E3 a couple of years ago got people very excited. Everything from Donkey Kong, Metal Gear Solid and Resi to Starfox, Zelda and Kid Icarus were promised for launch, and while you’d expect some titles to fall by the wayside, the fact that buyers were left with Pilotwings and Street Fighter IV from the triple AAA list was a huge disappointment.

Oh, but wait, what about titles since launch. Well, about that… how does a million and three different ports of below par games, pointless 3D sequels to games that don’t need it and one decent game that was released 15 years ago sound? And nothing seems to be materialising any time soon either. This wouldn’t be such a big problem had the advertised 3DS shop not been akin to going in to a coffee shop and ordering a cappuccino and instead getting a dead cat. Covered in excrement.

Stick your head in some bleach. It’s still more fun than this.

Then there’s been the highly contentious ‘single-save’ feature which was introduced by Capcom for Resident Evil: Mercinaries. At the end of it all, RE: M is a throwaway title which is about as enjoyable as licking Margaret Thatcher, but the bad press surrounding the game damaged the console. It was no fault of Nintendo’s, but it’s a problem, which is likely to rear its head again as Namco have decided to include it in their new 3DS games.

However, the most pertinent point is that the 3DS is too much like its predecessor. The DS is one of the most popular consoles ever released, only surpassed in sales by the PS2 as of writing, and is very familiar. The problem with the 3DS is that, on the surface, it looks EXACTLY like a normal DS. It even has the similar naming convention. To casual fans, it’s seen as the next in a long line of ‘mini-upgrades’; DS, DS Lite, DSi, DSiXL, 3DS, the DS is still being supported heavily and with better games.

My verdict? Nintendo got complacent. All the success they’ve had with the Wii and DS convinced them this would be an easy sell, but their tactics have back-fired, and as such it now looks like they’ll be making a loss per machine they sell. This does mean, however, that they do see it as a long-term machine, relying on software sales in the future to make the money, which is good for the consumer should the games promised see the light of day. The only way to avert a disaster is with decent content, otherwise the 3DS is a sitting duck for the Vita.

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