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Nintendo Portables (Games) The Almighty Buck Games

Nintendo Slashes Profit Forecast and 3DS Price 168

Posted by Soulskill
from the adding-depth-at-the-cost-of-depth dept.
Daetrin writes "Nintendo has announced a large loss for the first quarter of the year and lowered its annual profit forecast. In the three months prior to June 30th Nintendo lost 25.5 billion yen ($328 million) and the forecast is being reduced about 80%, from 110 billion yen ($1.4 billion) to 20 billion yen ($257 million). Nintendo is blaming poor sales of the 3DS and is responding by announcing a price cut from $250 to $170 on August 12. In order to mollify early adopters of the system Nintendo also announced that anyone who has logged into the Nintendo eShop before the price cut will receive 10 free NES games and 10 free GBA games. The GBA games won't be available until later in the year, but Nintendo claims they will be exclusive to the '3DS Ambassadors' and will not be available for purchase on the store in the future." A related op-ed at Wired suggests the new price is still too high, given the rise of cheap portable games on various app stores.
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Nintendo Slashes Profit Forecast and 3DS Price

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  • So they're saying people don't want to buy multiple expensive devices instead of a single one that does everything to lug around?

    • Compared to my PSP or my DS, I hate gaming on my phone. The controls blow, the screen is miniscule, the hardware is mediocre (new games are choppy on my 1.5 year old phone, never had that problem on the psp or ds because they're static targets), the battery life is appalling, and the signal-to-noise ratio of bad games vs good games is so low that it makes even the wii library look like a hit-factory. Finding a good game is hard, even with review sites ("Four Point Scale" issues galore). You'll go through a

  • "A related op-ed at Wired suggests the new price is still too high, given the rise of cheap portable games on various app stores."

    When phones start having good gaming buttons and analog sticks, then I'll agree that Nintendo needs to worry. The current options for action/rpg game control on phones are horrible. I have yet to find one I can stand to play for more than 5 minutes. Even ones that -should- be good games... I just can't deal with the sloppy controls.

    And there's a difference in length and quali

    • apparently, in the marketplace, you're a minority. I agree with you, touch screen is awful for playing games.

      • by Guspaz (556486)

        There are other options. The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, for example, has a pretty decent set of controls. The play of the buttons is very shallow, but since it's a playstation standard layout, it feels pretty good.

        There are also add-ons. Some apps (even ones in the marketplace or iOS app store) support bluetooth game controllers, including the iControlPad, a sort of strap-on control pad for iOS or android smartphones.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      When phones start having good gaming buttons and analog sticks, then I'll agree that Nintendo needs to worry.

      Nintendo just announced that they lost over $300million in three months. I would say that the "need to worry" part is not really in question, whether or not you agree.

      • by Aladrin (926209)

        Nintendo released the DSi and it flopped. There were no games for it!

        A year later, they release the 3DS, and guess what? NO GAMES! The launch titles sucked. 3D Sudoku? Really!?

        Even now, there are only a few decent games, most of which fail to really benefit from 3D, and don't use the extra features of the device.

        The price point is not the problem. They launched it too early, before enough games were ready to show it off. Even now, people continue to make DS games and largely ignore the 3DS.

        So yes, Ni

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          So yes, Nintendo should worry about that. But worrying about smartphones is silly.

          Have you seen the sales figures for smartphones? How about the sales figures for handheld game consoles?

        • by Hadlock (143607)

          I don't think 3D is going to catch on in the mobile market unless they can fit the technology into a pair of wayfarers. 2D "3D" games didn't really take off until someone like iD software came along and made something interesting work with it (first person shooters). Even then there were years of terrible isometric 3D shooters that were complete failures. Prior to that people were content with true 2D games. Other than the marketing whiz-bang, there's not a lot in 3D to convince consumers to shell out the e

        • I'm a long time nintendo fan and the fact that DSiware was almost universally horrible and the shop itself completely half-baked was a disgrace.
          Here comes the 3DS with the virtual console games all the DSi adopters were expecting and ~surprise~ they're all 3DS only. What good was the extra power of the DSi? Korg DS-10+ is the only title I can think of off hand that actually used it for something other than crappy camera stuff. Sorry, ninty, I'm done.

    • by headLITE (171240)

      You can buy a Fling joystick for any phone with a capacitive touch screen.

      • But games need to support it, no? The problem with third-party, optional addons is that game developers can't count on people having them unless they want to restrict immensely their market.

        • by Pulzar (81031)

          But games need to support it, no?

          No, it's just a piece of rubber that acts like your finger.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          But games need to support it, no? The problem with third-party, optional addons is that game developers can't count on people having them unless they want to restrict immensely their market.

          it's a little aluminum nub (with a protective plastic bottom to protect the screen) inside a plastic frame. The aluminum makes it work with the capacitative screen. It basically adds tactile feedback to the virtual onscreen joystick(it feels like a thumbpad, it doesn't shift, etc).

          For what it is, it makes playing games o

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      phones start having good gaming buttons and analog sticks

      And lose the tactile feedback I get from flat glass?!?!? But how will I get fingerprints and smudges all over my screen then?

  • by chrb (1083577) on Friday July 29, 2011 @08:52AM (#36920044)
    One of the prime target demographics for the Nintendo handheld consoles is children. Nintendo themselves have warned [ign.com] that children under 6 should not play 3D games, and adults should play for no more than 30 minutes at a time. Parents know that policing how long their kids play a portable video game system is not only undesirable, but nigh on impossible. The kind of parents who would spend hundreds of dollars on a toy for their kids are the same kind of parents who are going to be concerned when they hear reports that the toy may strain and damage the eyesight of their kids. It's a marketing nightmare for Nintendo.
    • 1. Turn the 3D off
      2. ???
      3. Profit!

      The 3D effect is great when it doesn't bother your eyes, and it really makes a difference in games that benefit from the added depth perception (a lot more than you'd think). You can turn the 3D off in parental controls as well. Also, I don't know too many people under the age of 6 that play anything more than Mario/Sonic, and I highly doubt they'd play nearly as often as older kids anyways. Nintendo has ALWAYS had health warnings about their games and talked about them muc

  • On the list of exclusives there's Metroid Fusion, that's a pretty decent game that would have done well on Virtual Console I should think. It's a bit odd that they won't ever make it available to non-early adopters.
    • by Daetrin (576516)
      I've been talking about this with some friends, and we all agree that it's kind of odd. However we've come up with two reasonable scenarios.

      1: Nintendo is lying and it's really just a timed exclusive.

      2: Nintendo is planning on using these games for various promotions. They'll be available as prizes for various contests, as a reward for a certain number of Nintendo Club points, etc. That wouldn't technically break their promise not to make them available for sale on the eShop, so this seems like the most
      • by Syberz (1170343)
        I doubt that they would just flat out lie, it's not really their style I think. Your number 2 scenario however does make quite a bit of sense and I wouldn't be surprised if that's what they ended up doing.
  • from time to time, I played this a little bit at the local target and just didn't find it all that compelling. Even 3D movies I have to watch normal ones first to really be able to follow the plot.

    I wonder if all this 3D stuff is coming because of consumer demand (Costco is pushing the TVs pretty hard) or the manufacturers just shooting spitballs during the recession and hoping something sticks?

    I always like new technology, but the last 3D I really like was the arcade game Time Traveler, and I'm not really

    • by Tridus (79566)

      3D movie demand was actually pretty soft as this summer went on. 3D TVs aren't selling well compared to their 2D counterparts, and even when they do people don't usually use them in 3D mode.

      And of course, the 3DS is a failure.

      This 3D thing is mostly manufacturers playing follow the leader with nobody bothering to ask "does this stuff actually work well?"

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      3D isn't consumer driven, it's studio and electronics industry driven. 3D means the studio can charge you several dollars more for your movie ticket (which is why they're converting even movies shot in 2D into 3D). 3D TV's mean consumers will have to upgrade their new whiz-bang HDTV's (which they otherwise might have sat on for years). 3D means money.

      Actual consumer demand for 3D has always been tepid at best. But the studios and electronics manufacturers have been pushing it as a new big thing, in hopes th

      • by CCarrot (1562079)

        3D TV's mean consumers will have to upgrade their new whiz-bang HDTV's (which they otherwise might have sat on for years).

        You're doing it wrong...

  • I have a feeling that the 3ds will gain a lot more support this fall/winter when all of the first party 3ds games start coming out. Half the reason I got one was because of the new kid icarus along with the new paper mario. The fact that it also can do netflix and browse the web now (couldn't until a recent update happened) should also help sales. I guess I'm glad I'll be getting a bunch of free games from their store which is nice, I just hope that it gets more popularity later this year.
    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      Opera on the Wii and the Nintendo DSi is actually pretty decent, I don't know why Nintendo switched to NetFront for the 3DS.

      Is NetFront any good, compared to Opera?

      • by slyrat (1143997)

        Opera on the Wii and the Nintendo DSi is actually pretty decent, I don't know why Nintendo switched to NetFront for the 3DS.

        Is NetFront any good, compared to Opera?

        Seems to be decent, though I can't say that I've tried Opera on the other Nintendo devices.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Friday July 29, 2011 @09:04AM (#36920172) Homepage Journal
    One of the things that is really killing Nintendo is the insanely strong yen(near record highs vs. both the dollar and euro). Unlike Microsoft, and to a lesser extent Sony, Nintendo's costs are almost entirely in yen, their revenue almost entirely in euros and dollars. Obviously Nintendo is incredibly nonplussed about the yen, and will join a growing chorus of companies asking prime minister Kan to intervene. All those yen hoarders better take note, the intervention is going to happen sooner rather than later.
  • No? So why should Nintendo be worried if they have a monopoly on a ton of popular franchises?
    • That's an excellent point. Sega is eternally grateful that Sonic kept them relevant as a console manufacturer so that they never had to stoop to porting their franchises to other platforms.

    • Nintendo is in big trouble. Apple is getting into the gaming business for real very soon, they will probably jump in with both feet around Wii U launch. iOS 5 brings with it the beginning of the end for Nintendo.
      • Oh? What does iOS 5 bring to gaming?

      • by Toonol (1057698)
        I don't think it'll be that bad. Apple gaming is a different market. They'll have their games, but their games are different and cater to different people. I don't think Apple can bring itself to make a device that's optimized for gaming, with 6-8 buttons and a couple d-pads or analog sticks. Until they do, they do not really cut into Nintendo's (or MS/Sony's) gaming segment.
    • And what is Zelda on the 3DS, a rehash. Off one of the oldest games. That will teach the likes of Halo or FF! Launch title, a re-release.

      And there is a nasty voice in my head that Zelda is only the top franchise for Nintendo because everything else sucks even worse. A case of one-eye's claim to the throne.

      Mind you, this is Nintendo, they do crap, good, crap. They screwed up with the 3DS, to expensive a console, to expensive games and the device an odd combo of features that never quite come together. The 3D

  • The 3DS is just a bad portable system. The whole 3D gimmick requires the system to remain still and in the right position. That means it's not usable on a bus. Or in the backseat of a moving car (especially if the road is at all bumpy). Or if you're just a bit fidgety and don't want to sit perfectly still for hours to play your games. Or are one of the many people who get eyestrain from it. As a result the 3D gimmick gets turned off and left off.

    Without the gimmick, this thing isn't much more powerful then

    • by Shados (741919)

      That means it's not usable on a bus. Or in the backseat of a moving car

      The 3d range is actually a little less sensitive than some people make it out to be. It works just fine on a bumpy right or in the bus. Admittedly, if you get sick in cars easily, that's not recommended, but still works fine. The eyestrain generally comes from not putting the 3D at the right level for your eyes... it always go away after you get used to it (a few hours max).

      I'm being told some games do 3D particularly poorly. I only have

      • I agree. I still use the motion controls for Zelda when aiming the bow and arrow or looking around, and I don't have any problem with retaining the 3D effects during this. I was also surprised by how much the 3D effect complimented the game. Once Star Fox and Kid Icarus come out, I think more people will start backing the 3DS.
    • by RogueyWon (735973) *

      This.

      I've had a 3DS since the UK launch day. I tried to give it a fair shake (see my journal for a few posts from a few months ago when I was trying to be positive, or at least balanced), but I've now come to the conclusion that it's a turkey. I'm seriously regretting that I gave away my old DS to a young relative when I picked up my 3DS - at least the DS had the battery to do a translatlantic flight.

      I took my 3DS on such a flight recently - on the day Zelda launched in the UK, actually, and with a copy of

      • by Guspaz (556486)

        I know it doesn't make up for it (the 3DS battery life really does suck), but here's a tip.

        The 3DS uses the same power cable as the DSi. It works with DSi to USB power cables (which can be bought from DealExtreme for next to nothing). It can be used with any USB-based cellphone battery pack.

        Personally, I've got a Tekkeon MP1550 (4xAA), which works great with my 3DS, but any portable USB power source would do. I'll admit that this was mostly convenient because I *already* carried around the MP1550 for my sma

    • Actually the 3ds is quite a bit more powerful than the DS and it has more in terms of control techiques. It's a worthy upgrade, 3d or not, but it's missing GAMES.

      • by Guspaz (556486)

        The circlepad is probably the best analog control stick that I've seen in any handheld to date. It was a bit stiff at first, but after loosening up, I find it on par in terms of usability with the analog sticks on a PS3 or 360 controller.

        • I dig it, too. I also like the Virtual Console on it. I think I'm probably in the minority here, but the 10 nes and gba games kick ASS.

  • Celebrations of Nintendo's "win" of this generation's console with the Wii was always short-sighted, I think. Similar stories with the DS and 3DS. Sure, they make money with their hardware, good for them. But most of Sony and MS's revenue comes from actual games, licensing 3rd party titles, online content, etc. And in these areas, Nintendo has fallen WAY behind. Just imagine how much money MS must make each month from Xbox Live subscriptions alone. MS and Sony make money on a sold console for YEARS after th

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      [...] no one is buying into the 3D gimmick like they bought into the Wii's motion control gimmick.

      You mean the same gimmick that allows you to play first-person games like Metroid Prime the way they were meant to be? Because playing games like Halo on the Xbox with those tiny analog sticks is like trying to play Ridge Racer with a keyboard or playing MegaMan with a mouse.

      The same gimmick that both Sony and Microsoft copied?

      • by tepples (727027)
        When you move the Wii Remote, you don't move the screen. When you move the Nintendo 3DS or the Wii U New Controller, you do move the screen.
        • by Yvan256 (722131)

          I was talking about the Wii controls, not the 3DS or Wii U.

          And yes, requiring you to move the display around is extremely dumb, especially for a glass-free 3D device which you're supposed to look at directly.

          The only upgrade I'm considering is going from a DSi to a DSi XL for the bigger screens and the longer battery life.

    • by Verunks (1000826)
      I very much agree and the Wii U will be a bigger catastrophe, I think that more than 60% of the wii sales are from casual gamers and the very fact that they are casual gamers imply that they won't need a new console in the next few years, and nintendo pretty much left the hardcore gamers in the dust(likewise we left our wii in the dust too..)
      so who is gonna buy the Wii U? very few people imho, probably just the hardcore nintendo fans
      • by Toonol (1057698)
        I have a Wii and a 360; I was toying with the idea of finally getting a PS3, but the Wii-U squashed that idea. Unlike the 3DS, and more like the original DS, the 'gimmick' with the Wii-U seems like a stroke of genius. Pulling the game off the TV and playing it on the controller if somebody else needs the TV?

        I don't see the 3DS as ever becoming a hit, although I think it'll end up selling respectably as people gradually transition to that platform. I think the Wii-U will do fine, though.
  • Even the ars tecnica article doesn't have the fulls list of games, it just lists a few from each list. Anyone know what they are?
  • Early adopter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daetrin (576516) on Friday July 29, 2011 @10:39AM (#36921266)
    As one of those early adopters, i have to say that i knew what i was getting into when i chose to wait in line to get my hands on a 3DS the first day. Anyone who does so without considering the possibility of an initially slow release schedule and possible price cuts is a fool. (Not to mention first run hardware bugs and in rare cases the possibility that the device will bomb in the market completely and be discontinued.)

    And i, like many other people, was expecting that Nintendo was going to have to cut prices before the holiday season in order to compete effectively with the unexpectedly cheap Playstation Vita.

    However i do have to admit that i wasn't expecting the price cuts to be this deep and this early. Maybe $250 was a little high, and $170 certainly doesn't seem like an unreasonable point for competing against the $250/$300 Vita, but it seems like perhaps two separate price cuts would have been in order. One down to $200 or $210 now, and then another price cut announced right before the release of the Vita.

    But before too many other early adopters start complaining about how they're getting ripped off, remember that Sony had some pretty tough times in the early months (years?) of the PS3 launch, and at the time people were lambasting them for not cutting the price of the PS3. So which do you want? A company that responds when market conditions seem to warrant it, or one that sticks to the initial price point come hell or high water? (And all the trolls going on about how this means Nintendo is clearly doomed, note that Sony did eventually recover from those early problems. Nintendo certainly isn't out of the game yet.)
  • Then I found about the terms [defectivebydesign.org], and lost all interest.

    With the kind of crap included in TOS the only way I would get one is if they paid me for it.

  • In a more sensible world, all NES games would be in the public domain at this point.

  • when you introduce a new and improved model every freaking year with little effort to back it up with software people start to loose interest, add on to the fact this thing is more or less what you already own but with a monstrous price tag and a half broken gimmick no one should really be surprised.

    • by slyrat (1143997)

      when you introduce a new and improved model every freaking year with little effort to back it up with software people start to loose interest, add on to the fact this thing is more or less what you already own but with a monstrous price tag and a half broken gimmick no one should really be surprised.

      This isn't a new model, it is a new system. That is like comparing the playstation to the playstation 2. The guts of this one are much better, along with both an analog joystick and bigger main screen (along with 3d ability) make the new games capable of a lot more. It should also be noted that the app store for this one is much better, and there are already some good things like netflix available. I agree though that the previous xl/mini/different design releases of the normal ds and even the dsi are defin

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