I posted an article on my blog at randomizer9.com the other day titled “Five Reasons I Think The Nintendo 3DS Will Succeed.” I hope the 3DS does well, partially because I will be buying one this Sunday. That said, there is no such thing as a sure bet, and there are at least as many reasons the 3DS could hit the USA with a Virtual Boy-esque thud instead of a smash:
Right Now, 3D Is A Gimmick - Not everybody likes or wants 3D. Some people can’t see it, some say it hurts their eyes, and many just plain don’t care about it. My issue with 3D gaming at present is that it has yet to be used to create a new kind of gameplay experience. I’m sure that Nintendo has something up their sleeve, but at the moment 3D only serves to make games look better. While this does increase the immersion factor, as of right now, 3D is a gimmick and nothing more.
High Price for a Nintendo Handheld - $250 is high for a new portable gaming system, particularly a portable from Nintendo. Remember when everyone biatched about the PSP costing $250 back in 2005? A Wii cost that much when it debuted in 2006. For further perspective, the Nintendo DS cost $150 and even the DSi XL is currently $189. In these uncertain economic times, releasing a portable handheld game system to an audience that isn’t used to paying a high price is a risky move.
Rehashed Games - I was very excited to learn that a new Starfox game was in the works for the 3DS, but I was less excited to discover it was a game I had already played back in 1997. The only really new launch games are Steel Diver and Pilotwings, every other game is a 3D update of an existing franchise. While there are some fun games in the mix, this whole ‘what’s old is new again’ bit is starting to get old. I think the one big reason everyone is hyped up over Kid Icarus is that it’s finally something new from the Big N.
Limited Functionality - Netflix is cool and it’s nice that Nintendo remembered to include MP3 support this time around, but the other guys can do a lot more for the same price or less. I’m not just talking about the PSP either; the mobile gaming market is crowded with iOS devices and smartphones. Last but certainly not least, Sony’s NGP is also looming over the horizon.
3rd Party Support - Third party support, or the lack thereof, has been a thorn in Nintendo’s side for quite a few systems now. Nintendo swears up and down again that things will be different this time around, but considering that everyone and their dog can (and does) make games for the Wii, I’m less than enthusiastic.
I think Nintendo will have enough fans (including me) to sell out the initial 3DS shipment but the bigger question will be whether the 3DS has legs. As OG mentioned, there are a few reasons to wait, and if I didn’t have a DS Lite to trade in and take some of the edge off of the price, I would have waited too.
As I said at the beginning of this article, I hope the 3DS does well. The technology has the potential to create new gaming experiences, similar to how the DS introduced many of us to touchscreen gaming back in 2005. Nothing is guaranteed, though, and nobody really knows what’s going to happen until the 3DS finally gets here.
- Eduardo Soliz
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