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Nintendo 3DS Conference Wrap-Up

No High Scores

Nintendo had a big ol’ pre-TGS 3DS conference yesterday in which they dropped a whole bunch of knowledge in the hopes that you won’t consider your 3DS purchase a colossal waste of time and money. Um, yeah. Rather than write a ton of posts on all of the details, I’m going to address them one by one here.

1. Fire Emblem and Mario Tennis will both be making their 3DS debuts. Mario Tennis will have some sort of motion controls. Fire Emblem will have co-op.
2. Monster Hunter 4 will be coming to the 3DS, which is bad for the Vita, but good for Japan and utterly inconsequential for North America.
3. Kid Icarus Uprising has been delayed, and won’t make its 2011 release. Don’t worry though, as Nintendo will release videos for the 3DS’ movie channel to help keep you interested. Joy.
4. Also on the video front, Nintendo will release an update for the 3DS that will allow you to record 3D video. Expect dozens of hilarious home movies where someone gets hit in the face with a rock or live chicken because they thought it’d be cool to capture that in 3D.
5. The circle pad attachment is a real thing. It uses one AAA battery and will be released in Japan in December for 1500 Yen (about $20). It only supports certain games such as Monster Hunter 3D and Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D. It still looks silly.
6. In an attempt to get six year old girls to also waste their money on the 3DS, a new pink colored console will be released in Japan in October. I realize that’s a generalization, but my six year old girl lists pink as her favorite color, so you go with what you know.
7. Mario Kart 7 will let you play in first person mode and use the gyroscope to steer. This is yet another game that uses motion control despite the fact that the sweet spot of the 3D screen makes motion controls pretty much unusable. At times like this, I really don’t know what Nintendo wants this device to be.
8. North America and Europe 3DS owners will be able to download a free version of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords on September 28th. The game will have a single player mode as well as some new levels and the ability to whistle to call attention to your shenanigans.
9. Nintendo investors weren’t particularly impressed with the conference and Nintendo’s shares dropped as a result. Honestly, I can’t blame them as I’m not all that impressed either but most of what was unveiled isn’t exactly in my wheelhouse.

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Brandon loves games, which shouldn't be a surprise given where you're reading this. He has written for GameShark, The Escapist and G4, and made them all less relevant as a result.

7 thoughts to “Nintendo 3DS Conference Wrap-Up”

  1. This conference was all about fighting Vita for the Japan market. Handhelds rule the Japanese market and after years of DS dominance in the last year PSP is outselling the DS in hardware and software. All signs point to a huge decline in the handheld market in the West do to smartphones, but in Japan the console market is the one on decline the Wii and PS3 combined sale equal the PSP sales, so it´s highly probable that Japan will be the biggest market, if not the only viable one, for the this new handheld generation.

  2. The fact that they went with region locking on the 3DS, unlike the DS, is still the main reason why I haven’t bought one. I was really looking forward to getting one for SMT: Devil Survivor Overclocked until I was reminded that the first Devil Survivor game never got a PAL release, so I wouldn’t be likely to see a PAL version of Overclocked… That made me a very sad panda…

    If I was a Nintendo investor I wouldn’t be terribly impressed with those announcements either. Still, the Mario Tennis games have been consistently fun, so I guess that’s one positive out the above points, if it does continue the tradition.

  3. It’s time to put this turkey to sleep. The system is a dud, and at this point they’re throwing good money after bad, hoping that Mario will save their Q4 earnings.

    Iwata and the rest of Nintendo’s upper leadership needs to step down based on the 3DS’ performance and the trainwreck-in-waiting that is the Wii U. Miyamoto needs to either retire or be relegated to a consultancy so they can get some fresh blood and ideas circulating. Iwata took that paycut and that was admirable, but under his leadership the company is suffering. He’s got this stick-to-your-guns attitude that doesn’t work in a technology and culture driven medium. His refusal to admit that the mobile market has changed is laughable, and Nintendo’s inability to get in step with current trends and standards is hurting the company. The Wii was a fad product that in time will be regarded by the mainstream in the same breath as the Macarena, Furby, and Silly Bandz. They’re clearly not able to leverage their best assets at this point, and there needs to be a top-down changing of the guard. If their profitability continues to slide and shareholders become more dissatisfied, we could see that happen. It’s the best thing that _could_ happen to Nintendo.

    The “nub” is a desperation measure. It’s really aimed more at developers working on Vita titles than the consumer. It’s a way for Nintendo to say “see, our hardware is like theirs” and to encourage developers to bring Vita titles to the 3DS. But the question remains if there’s any money to be made in developing for a failing system, whether it has two nubs or one.

    As for the software announced. Big fucking deal. Mario. Wow. Who knew.I swear this company thinks they can put Mario on something and print money. It sadly works though…the fans get all excited like they didn’t know a Mario game was coming.

  4. Whoa Barnes…

    The sliding profitability should not be ignored, true enough. But you’re also calling for a fire sale on a company that has managed to stay relevant over the past 20 years, while maintaining a highly specialized focus: To make and distribute games and gaming hardware. This compared to Sony and Microsoft who can afford to let their gaming divisions operate on a loss if need be. Nintendo should not be written off. The Wii U has yet to become fully measurable, and you can’t ignore the all out overwhelming recent successes that are the GBA, DS, and Wii. You’re right, the Wii was a fad, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t created a boatload of money for Nintendo. (I don’t have any numbers, my comments are based purely on assumptions… so if I’m wrong, please let me know).

    Could they use some new leadership? Perhaps. But I personally refuse to think that their difficulties with the 3DS is indicative of some sort of collapse. I think they are just as relevant now, in the gaming community, as they’ve ever been. I also think that mobile gaming as we know it today is an absolute joke UNLESS you’re referring to Nintendo. Games on the iOS and Android are time wasters at best and have yet to produce anything substantial. (Screw Angry Birds) And Sony’s handhelds… well… good luck to them.

    Owns a DS / doesn’t own a Wii / Not a fanboy

  5. Not a fire sale- just a change of leadership. I agree with you that Nintendo has remained relevant, I don’t think that’s the issue at all. The problem is that they’re on the edge of dropping off with some of their strangely anachronistic, insular strategies and policies. They need a new direction, a new approach, and a new vision for how Nintendo fits into the marketplace _today_. They don’t need a stubborn, old fashioned hardliner that refuses to budge off ideas and attitudes that are five and ten years obsolete.

    I just read that Angry Birds has been downloaded _350 million_ times. That’s not something to dismiss, whether you like it or not. And that does tie into this issue, because it demonstrates that Nintendo’s handheld strategy and its digital distribution model are getting left in the dust.

    I think you’re dead wrong about there not being anything substantial on IOS or Android. I’ve got 30 games on my phone right now that are as robust and content-rich as anything I ever played on the DS- some more so. The major barrier there right now is control, and overcoming touchscreen limitations to improve input.

  6. “They need a new direction, a new approach, and a new vision for how Nintendo fits into the marketplace _today_. They don’t need a stubborn, old fashioned hardliner that refuses to budge off ideas and attitudes that are five and ten years obsolete.”

    Are you sure? Come on, man. Their last two consoles before the 3DS and the as yet unproven Wii U have arguably been some of the most successful and profitable in the companies’ history! They’re doing something right. I’ll agree with you that ok, maybe they do need to change up their game plan with the handhelds… but not by much. I think the only mistake they’re making right now is a attempt at directly competing with the next gen giants by making the Wii U. I don’t think the’ve got the chops at being a self sustaining next-gen console with cross platform 3rd party releases. The Wii demonstrated that they were able to exist outside of the cross-platform market, and it demonstrated it admirably. So much so, that Sony and MSFT scrambled to get into the motion control market.

    All I’m saying is that Nintendo can and will recover. They have the capital, the fan base, and (quite the contrary of what you stated) the CULTURE needed to survive. They have faith in their brand… and that should mean something. When other giants are buying up 3rd party devs like Naughty Dog… seemingly killing the idea of independent devs… Nintendo is doing what it does best: Being Nintendo.

  7. At face value, yes, the Wii and DS are among the best-selling consoles of all time and undoubtedly they were not only financially successful, but they also had tremendous cultural penetration which is arguably a better barometer of how well they’ve performed. Totally, they did something right. But we’re talking about hardware that was literally in development at what was very much another time. When the DS was in development in the early 00′s, who would have thought that 99 cent iOS games would ever happen? When the Wii was in development their thinking was that HD and online gaming weren’t important- yet those things have come to be defining attributes of this console generation.

    They desperately need visionary leadership that is more responsive to trends and less bound to tradition or old ways of doing business. I won’t budge from that. I do agree though that they have the right culture and brand to survive, no doubt. But they need that leadership to convince everybody else that Nintendo has a place in the current market. When Iwata says the kinds of things he’s said about mobile gaming, freemium models, and other current trends, it makes Nintendo look obsolete. Not to mention when they can’t keep up with the current console generation and announce a next-generation console that’s…in line with current consoles.

    The situation with the 3DS is really bad for a number of reasons, but the fact that Nintendo’s actions demonstrate that _they_ don’t have faith in the platform should cause consumers (and more importantly shareholders) to seriously question the leadership and direction of the company.

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