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Nintendo Chief: Consumers Don't Understand 3DS Yet 215

Posted by Soulskill
from the buy-our-stuff-or-you're-stupid dept.
gabbo529 writes "Nintendo's latest financial results reveal that initial sales for their portable 3D gaming system have been underwhelming at best. What's the reason? Nintendo chief executive Satoru Iwata says consumers have yet to fully understand the console's 3D capabilities, even when trying it out. Others think it might have something to do with the console's high price ($250) and the lack of big-name titles available (Mario and Zelda are not yet out)."
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Nintendo Chief: Consumers Don't Understand 3DS Yet

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  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Thursday April 28, 2011 @07:19AM (#35961250) Journal

    I've had a 3DS since launch-day (more detailed thoughts in my journal) and I think I could summarise my opinion of it as follows:

    - It looks and feels like a nice piece of hardware; much less like a plastic toy than previous Nintendo handhelds.

    - It's also a step up on the DS from an ergonomic point of view. The analogue stick is good - better than the PSP's - but there's only one of them. This means that a lot of the same control issues that plagued certain genres on the PSP are already re-emerging on the 3DS.

    - The 3D effect is jaw-dropping at first, but headache inducing (for me) even after relatively short play sessions and a distraction in the longer term. It's worth seeing, but not a reason to buy the machine in itself. Also, the 3D effect is massively hard to sustain if you are not in a "stable" environment. If you're trying to use it on a train or plane, you may have problems.

    - Take the 3D effect away and the graphics are... ok. Roughly speaking, the launch titles look slightly worse than current PSP titles (not helped by the lower screen resolution). However, it's unfair to compare launch titles to titles for an older system that developers know well by now.

    - The battery life is bad. Depending on 3D and sound settings, I get between 3 and 4 and a half hours from the thing. This compares to 4-6 hours from the PSP and 12+ hours from the old DS.

    - Load times are also more noticable than on the DS. None of the launch titles have loading times as bad as something like Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep or Dissidia 012 on the PSP, but they can still be irritating. Plus those PSP titles are far more ambitious than any of the 3DS launch titles.

    - The launch titles are not fantastic. I got Pilotwings Resort and Ridge Racer with my console; they're both fun for short periods, but also very shallow and they get boring really fast. I've tried a few of the other launch titles for varying periods of time. Most of them range from "mediocre" to "outright bad". Street Fighter 4 is pretty good, but is always going to feel second best to the home console versions.

    - And there's not much else in the pipeline. Yes, there's a Zelda remake coming, but I've bought that game once already and can't get too excited about buying it again. Beyond that... who knows?

    The biggest problem the 3DS has is distinguishing itself from the (now much cheaper) PSP. The 3DS has the 3D effect, which is undoubtedly clever at first, but which starts to feel like a gimmick fairly quickly. Beyond that, the PSP has a better screen, better battery life and graphics that are more or less on a par with the 3DS's (if not slightly better on the basis of current titles). It also has the advantage of having a huge number of decent games already out there. Which, as I've posted on earlier threads, does make me wonder why on earth Sony now want to retire the PSP for a (risky, expensive) successor, when now would be the perfect time for them to just push cheap PSPs and major releases and kill the 3DS stillborn. The PSP is handily outselling the 3DS week on week in Japan and is holding up remarkably well in other markets. That's no small achievement for a console that was written off as a "failure" within months of launching.

    Don't get me wrong - the 3DS is in no way bad. Turn the 3D off (as most people will after a day or two) and you are still left with a pleasant to use handheld with some nifty features. But are those features enough to justify the price for most gamers, against the backdrop of very little currently worth playing on the thing? Probably not...

    One thing's for sure - complaining that customers "don't understand" your product is not the way forward. It's the kind of talk I always associate from companies who know that they're losing. A bit like when a game developer responds to bad review scores by saying "our game isn't intended for critics".

  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Thursday April 28, 2011 @08:04AM (#35961468) Journal

    It's funny, isn't it. There do seem to be studies - and proper ones - not ones paid for by Nintendo - which basically say "yeah, the 3DS is almost certainly not going to do bad things to your eyes". As a rational person, I trust these studies.

    However, actually playing the thing in 3D is a strangely unnerving experience. You have to consciously allow your eyes to go out of focus - and then keep them like that - losing your focus again every time you look away from the screen. It may not be doing any harm, but on an instictive, gut level it feels like it is. So as an irrational person, I turned the 3D slider off after the first couple of days and, other than a quick test to see how it worked on a train, I haven't moved it since.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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