Saturday, 30 July 2011

Here's Why The Nintendo 3DS Hardware Sales Slump Is Not Surprising

Recent reports have shown that the Nintendo 3DS's hardware sales have been disappointing to say the least. Nintendo have been forced to slash the price down as a result, with a second price reduction rumored to surface in the next month.

The 3DS just hasn't quite hit the mark to put it bluntly.

Let's start with the basics and see why this appears to be the case.

Nintendo have always been pioneers in video gaming history. From the NES, to the SNES and the N64, mature gamers will always treasure their childhood moments with these machines.

The Nintendo 64 itself was called the '64' to signify a new age in graphical processing, the 64-bit processor. At the time it was revolutionary, particularly with the software it spawned such as the first truly 3D iterations of the ever popular Zelda and Mario franchises.

The Game Boy (and its later, improved iterations) changed the landscape when it came to portable gaming. Evolutionarily, the Nintendo DS was branched off of the Game Boy. Its reception was tremendously positive. The nomenclature 'DS' stood for 'Dual Screen', the defining aspect of this handheld, alongside having a touch screen for the bottom screen.

Lets ignore the Game Cube. Its only claim to fame is an attempt to revolutionise the shape of an oven.

Moving on to 2006, Nintendo released their next generation hardware, the Nintendo Wii. The key selling point of this piece of hardware was its revolutionary motion control. Again, Nintendo managed to change the face of gaming, bringing casual gamers into the field and subsequently raking in phenomenal profits and turnover.

Do you notice the trend?

It is through virtue of naming that we can see what Nintendo was doing.

Nintendo are defining each piece of hardware on something solid. Each console released has been tailored to push something new onto the gaming platform, and it succeeded.

The problem with the 3DS stemmed from Nintendo pushing their luck so to speak.

In my opinion, the number of iterations the DS went through was just too crazy. First we had the original DS. Then we had a nicely improved, ergonomic DS Lite, what the DS should've been in the first place. After that, we started seeing a DSi which attempted to migrate Nintendo's software library to a Steam-like store (hence the 'i'). An odd DSi XL then appeared, absolutely ludicrously designed and stunningly pointless.

Finally, came the latest DS, the '3'DS. Ha ha, nice play on 3D and DS because you see, the way they share a D in the middle lets you...oh never mind...

This is how I see things. The original DS was truly an innovation. There was something about being able to play Super Mario 64, new and improved too, on a hand held that never got old. The DS Lite was SO much better. No more cramped hands, brighter and clearer screens and smaller overall size made it a delight. So much so, that when my original DS snapped in half, I leaped in joy at the fact that I can justify buying a DS Lite (still with me today BTW).

That's all fine and dandy. But now is where the bad stuff happens...

The DSi made the biggest mistake conceivable. It got rid of the GBA slot found on the DS and DS Lite. Foolish design decision. Especially when they offered GBA games via the Nintendo Store at ridiculously inflated prices.

The DSi XL. Do I need to even say more about it? Are they selling condoms here or something? Was it designed for old people with bad eyesight? What's the deal?

The 3DS. Champion of a new technology called (drum roll please)...3D!

3D? What's that Uncle Tom? Well Timmy, its when you see things on a screen that pop out in your face! Wow Uncle Tom, sounds exciting!

There are problems with 3D. The cinemas tried it. It didn't work and is now reportedly being shelved completely. There are other issues with 3D as a technology; it causes severe headaches, migraines and other visual abnormalities under prolonged and intense use. Nintendo knew this and added a 'slider' to adjust the effect as you like.

I cant believe how foolish a product the 3DS was. It still has no original titles. The best title out there for it is a remake of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Listen Nintendo, I already payed for that game two times on two of your formats. If anything, it should be made free to all those with previous physical copies. Touching up the graphics does not warrant a third full retail purchase of the same game.

Lets assume you turn the slider down all the way all the time, for one reason or the other. What exactly do you end up paying for with the 3DS compared to the DSi? Touched up graphics which still aren't as good as a PSP? A technology that you just turned off never to be turned on again?

What were you thinking with this product Nintendo? You shot yourselves in the foot by basing an entire hardware product and its development on a defunct technology that never deserved to take its foot step into any industry in the first place.

The 3DS was one iteration too many, and the consumer just isn't going to be fleeced again by your poor product lineup management. Maybe if you weren't so focused on what hardware to release next, you'd do a better job at releasing new and original software as well as giving developers the third party support they need.

I'm glad that the poor sales for the 3DS are a reality. Maybe Nintendo will learn from this lesson and come back to innovating gaming the right way, the traditional way.

Next, I'll be reading that they made a console about 'You' not 'Wii' (sic) and they'll make a funny looking controller with a giant screen on it that can be played without a TV just in case your Mom wants to watch some soaps...

Oh my God...


  1. I think it also has to do with price and decline of people wanting to buy a hand held device just to play games.And at the same time most of the people carry around devices that can play games already like laptops,phones, tablets,...etc.

  2. I think MS should give up trying to sell their consoles in Japan. I thought they would sell many pieces just by having your item in stores and just letting it sit there till someone comes along.

  3. Yes, it’s not surprising, the flow of big-title 3DS game releases have been slowing down and it is still very impressive that 3DS carry on to pretty much rule the charts over there. Soon people will see the Wii U's prove all the doubts wrong.