Just before the Nintendo 3DS launched back in March, I wrote two articles about it: “Top Five Reasons the 3DS Might Fail,” which was posted on www.original-gamer.com and “Five Reasons I Think The Nintendo 3DS Will Succeed,” which was posted on my personal blog because well, we just can’t have a pro-Nintendo article on this website.
Like lots of other people, I took several uneducated guesses about how the 3DS launch was going to go. Now that just over five months have passed, I thought it would be a good time to look back and see how right (and wrong!) those guesses were. I’ll start out with my five reasons the 3DS will succeed:
"It’s not just about the 3D"
While the 3DS does have the ability to push out some nice looking graphics, you don’t really hear much about that aspect of the system. Frankly, I think it is a missed opportunity for Nintendo, and I hope that the upcoming Kid Icarus game will give them the opportunity to flex the 3DS’ muscles and show what it can do besides just show things in 3D.
"The 3D Is Nice, though"
Nintendo keeps blabbing on about the 3D over and over, with “Take a look inside” being their current marketing slogan. I don’t blame them for doing that because the 3D does work well. Most folks I’ve spoken with and showed the 3DS to do think its pretty cool, unless they just hate 3D to begin with.
"3D is the Big Thing right now"
What a difference five months makes. Back in March, 3D was the Next Big Thing, but if we go by the lack of interest in 3D at the box office and the slow rate at which 3DTVs are being sold, then yeah, it looks like the 3D craze may be over, or is in a bit of a lull right now. Curiously enough, 3DTVs, the 3DS and tickets to 3D movies all have the same problem of just being too expensive. This does not bode well for the Big N, especially considering that they keep pushing the 3D aspect of the 3DS. To be fair, though, they did call it the 3DS.
#4 – "Enough about 3D, How About Games Players Want"
Verdict: HAPPILY RIGHT
Back in March, I hypothesized that the 3DS would have more core games to play than its 2D father and indeed, we have seen two more fighting games (Dead or Alive Dimensions, Blazblue Continum Shift II) and even a third person shooter (Resident Evil the Mercenaries 3D) released for the system. This is a good start, and hopefully the action will keep on coming.
#5 – "Its Not Just About Games, though"
Verdict: SORTA RIGHT
Nintendo is not just pushing the 3DS as a game machine, but as a video entertainment device, thanks to Netflix and the Nintendo Video app. There are also a host of built-in apps that have nothing to do with games. The StreetPass function also gets quite a bit of airtime as well, with Nintendo encouraging folks to get together and get social.
Well, three out of five ain’t bad, so let’s move on to the five reasons the 3DS could (or maybe did) fail:
"Right Now, 3D Is A Gimmick"
Verdict: SADLY RIGHT
So far I have only played one game that actually made 3D part of the gameplay and that was the boss battles in Bust-a-Move Universe...so yeah While it wasn’t much, it does show some potential, but as of this writing we still don’t have a ‘killer app’ for 3D gaming on any platform.
"High Price for a Nint endo Handheld"
Verdict: DAMN RIGHT
On March 27, I wrote: “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.” Just over four months later, Nintendo dropped the 3DS price $80. They threw the dice just one too many times and crapped out.
Verdict: WRONG (BUT I'M GLAD I'M WRONG)
So yeah, Nintendo released Ocarina of Time 3D and it sold buckets, which proves that we just can’t get enough of Link. I bought a copy myself and all I can say is OH-EM-GEE…it’s like playing a new game now that I can actually SEE the graphics. More polygons, improved fidelity, and no N64 blur? I am now SOLD on the remasters. Bring on Starfox 64 3D!!
Verdict: HARD TO TELL
It is hard to tell how important Netflix, the camera and all the extra doo-dads are to potential 3DS buyers. They’re nice to have but I don’t know that they’re deal-makers or deal-breakers. I can say that we haven’t heard a peep about the NGP since E3. With 3DS sales not meeting expectations, perhaps Sony going to be holding onto their cards just a bit longer.
"Poor 3rd Party Support"
While I am glad to see that the 3DS is not becoming another bastion for shovelware like the Wii, the the rate at which any new games are dropping is cause for concern. The 3DS displays pretty much look the same way they did in March.
So there you have it, at the end, my score is six rights, three wrongs, and one “I don’t know.” I don’t think that’s too shabby myself, after all, I’m just some joker who writes, edits and does voices for a game website.
While the Nintendo 3DS has had a rough start out of the gate due to its high price, lack of compelling games, and 3D that not everyone is sold on, I don't think its a bad system, and I have enjoyed mine for the last five months. Let me know what you think in the comments.