It may have had the best console launch in the UK for any Nintendo system but there are a number of concerns about the 3DS and its lasting appeal. So much so that Nintendo’s stock has dropped over four consecutive days (via Andriasang) and hasn’t been the same since they released the new handheld back in February in Japan. But not all of it can be attributed to the 3DS however as investment bank Barclays Capital reminds the doubters of the devastating earthquake which hit the country shortly after its release day with many entertainment industries suffering the same fate.
A knock on effect of the earthquake is how a number of games have been delayed so punters are left with a limited amount of titles to choose from. This lack in games is adding to Nintendo’s stock issues and the 3DS was beaten by Sony’s PSP last week in the hardware charts with its overall sales just over half of what Nintendo had predicted for March.
So is the system in trouble? I don’t think so and more to the point, from what? It’s true, the system isn’t selling quite as well as Nintendo had hoped after having a promising launch but with an earthquake to contend with, it’s not really the best time for any non-essential piece of entertainment. One thing that keeps being noted is how the 3DS isn’t selling out with plenty of stores comfortably fulfilling the customers’ demands. Nintendo have previously said that this will be the case and they’re making sure people who wish to buy one won’t have to wait too long if at all. The company has been through supply problems in the past with the Wii and although it may have spurred sales for short time, the low units became more of an annoyance than anything else so it’s unlikely Nintendo wish to replicate that.
As for the lack of launch titles, is anyone really that surprised? Out of the initial 13 (or 15 if you count the three Nintendogs + Cats separately) there is a good variation of genres with a few ‘must haves’ too and I’m not sure we could have realistically hoped for anything more. The original DS launched with around 15 games and a similar ratio between those you should buy and those that need ignoring. It’s worth pointing out though that that was six years ago and the proof of worth is so much more important now what with Smartphones muscling in on the handheld territory. April and May will no doubt be quiet for the 3DS but there is the eShop update coming late next month that brings with it a Virtual Console service consisting of GameBoy and GameBoy Colour games, some with enhanced features. I’ve previously said how buying a brand new system to play old games isn’t the smartest thing to do but it’s a neat addition and depending on what exactly these enhancements are, we could be in for a retro treat.
Worries of headaches and dizziness from the 3DS’s fancy upper-screen was brought back to our attentions by The Sun this week who alleged that thousands of weary eyed gamers were returning the 3DS after hours of uncomfortable play. Later in the week, Nintendo plus the retailers themselves said, surprise surprise, this simply isn’t true. There has been a few returns as there is with any system but I wonder how many of them are down to shops like HMV offering £200 trade-in value for e 3DS when you can pick one up from Morrisons new for £180. That’s twenty quid profit right there. I’ve personally found that if you have to constantly focus on the 3D screen because you’re not holding it steady, then yeah, my eyes felt weird but laying down or slouching in a chair with a good hold of the device is headache-free. That’s if you choose to play with 3D on at all.
Am I trying to justify to myself the purchase of my 3DS? A little bit but I do think it’s way too early to tell whether or not it’ll be a success. We’re yet to receive its unique killer app and for the industry to properly settle down after the earthquakes in Japan. If this time next year the 3DS is still under performing, Nintendo may have a problem but by then I’d like to think I’ll be too busy playing Super Mario 3D and Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D to care.