Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Reaction Time: Nintendo 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS will be priced at $249 in the US, and released on March 27, 2011. Am I excited? Hell yeah! Am I concerned? Yes.

I know I'm not alone on this. $249 for the 3DS is simply too expensive. The DS released at $149. If Nintendo couldn't afford to release a new handheld for less than $200, they should have designed a different new handheld. They could have released a "real 3D" version of the DS to save costs and release it at $189.99. People would still have been impressed with the real 3D tech, and let's face it, most people think the 3DS is just a glorified DS anyway (which it isn't).



  1. Aye, I definitely agree with the fact it's too expensive. Over here in the UK it's retailing for £229 and that is just far too expensive for a handheld. Especially considering a lot of people simply can't afford to pay out that much. It feels more like an investment than a purchase.

  2. Sorry but now the facts are all out there I am really losing interest in the system.

    Region locked - Just a no go for me in UK I am not waiting on the late releases
    Awful battery life - Just no what is it a Game Gear
    Too expensive - Self explanatory really.

  3. Does a system have to be at the price you want on day one to be interested in it?

    I have no problems paying 249.99 for it. It seems cheap when ipads are more and they don't do anyone one thing well and don't have 3d.

  4. Yeah and if DS games cost about 99p each then I wouldn't have a problem with paying out for the system either.

  5. For a generational leap, I think it was important that the 3DS has all it has in order to make it seem like a true successor. Unlike the DSi, which basically did what you said by just being a DS with some added download capabilities.

    The price is hard to swallow now but keep in mind this is at least a five-year system, and it was important to Nintendo to release it now as their presence in Japan has been plummeting. Would you have rather they waited until next year or beyond to launch the 3DS here? Because that's what they could have done, DS is still selling gangbusters over here.

  6. I just feel like right now Nintnedo has a limited supply of them and PSP2 won't be out for a while. They'll drop the price under 200 dollars next year. I believe the DS may still outsell the 3ds in 2011. Long term I'm glad they went with a higher end device. It was about time. And when the PSP2 comes out it's going to look downright cheap.

  7. The price hike just hits harder than usual. The economy being terrible with most people having less disposable income and entirely a luxury device might not be top of the agenda despite its likely popularity.

    The conversion price for Europe is also ridiculous but that's something we are used to. I also doubt the consumer overlap with the PSP2 when it arrives.

    The 3DS could be spectacular but I can see many many people holding off for 6months to a year on it. I bought a DS on day one and a DS Lite on day one but I will be waiting to see what the homebrew croud can do with it I can't be without my NES emulator and of course how many publishers use the region locking as not being able to import crazy japanese music games will be sad.

  8. It's a little steep but I think it's to justify that this is a hardcore console and not a kids toy. After Nintendo have dragged in this hardcore audience they'll release the leaner, cheaper alternative along with a bunch of casual titles I'd reckon.

    If I were you I'd focus my attention on the 3DS or android platforms. 3DS is going to see a lot of hardcore gamer support and things like the Ipod are really great at having a good mix of hardcore and casual titles.

    I know you could make something killer if you used UDK for an App.

  9. Yep, it's all a little crazy. It is a day one purchase for me too. Actually, I just pre-ordered it on Amazon. But, my concern is that the DS's success was due mainly in part to a casual younger audience, who adopted it early on. This crowd (or their parents) may steer away from the 3DS for the obvious reasons: high console price, high game price, low battery life, and fear of the real 3D effect on young people's eyes (parents may be overly worried about that). Today's market is very different than when the DS was launched. There are other options now, such as iTouch for less than $249.

    It's going to be interesting to see how it all plays out. I hope Nintendo is victorious. I'm just surprised that they aren't cementing that victory with an agressively low price from day one.

  10. I'm still waiting for Amazon here to release their price info, but with 49.99 Euro game prices and 219 Pounds in UK so far, I'm not sure I can afford one right away. Especially not without one launch title that would last me a long time and I also want really badly.
    Which, as much as I'm curious about it, Steel Diver isn't.

    Layton and the other Level 5 games won't come for a long time and I do not see much in the way of great singleplayer titles so far. Animal Crossing might've been a reason if greatly improved, but right now I honestly don't know what to think. I want the hardware, but spending 300 Euro or more so I can play one game that somewhat interests me is not something I can easily do in my situation.

    So I understand your concerns, although I do think that it will sell like hotcakes and those people are going to be starving for the one or other game in the next year too. Especially certain experiences they do not get from the titles that have been anounced so far. Will it go beyond the core group of buyers fast? Something I'm not sure about either right now, but games like Dementium didn't exactly target those kind of consumers either and if you did have a game ready soon after launch in that vein, I'm sure it would do rather well. Which I guess isn't something you can just crank out right now.

  11. But maybe that's a good thing, Jools, that the system is higher end.

    You and I are both DS fanatics but I know you'd agree with me 100% when I say stores shelves are littered with horrible, repulsive pieces of DS shovelware. Much of this usually targeted at kids, or adults buying games for kids, they see something bright and happy with an animal or kinds in costume on the cover and they snap it up not knowing a thing about it.
    It's not like I want kids to have few choices of appropreate games to play, but as we've seen on Nintendo platforms, especially DS and Wii, they get bombarded with crap kids games, and very little for adult players. A person looks for an FPS on DS; they see Dementium 1 and 2, Moon, Metroid, a few COD's and not much else, one could hold them all in their hands, yet they look for a pet sim or fantasy lifestyle game, they would need a forklift to lift them up. That's a serious content-balance issue that needs fixing. Maybe a higher-end system, that has more adult appeal will help cut down on the junk.

    One other thing that's truly very ironic, is that if you ask most handheld gaming fans online, which is the better portable game system, DS or PSP, DS always wins by a landslide. Yet much of the mainstream media bigwigs paint the PSP as the system of choice for "hardcore" gamers, despite it's terrible sales and even worse software sales, and the DS as "super casual" and having been abandoned long ago by the "hardcore". I'll take one look at my DS game shelf and statements like that just makes no sense to me at all.

  12. Oh and I forgot to say, congradulations on your first 3DS game Jools, I'll be looking forward to trying it!

    Are you guys in a really big racing mood right now, since both ATV and Face Kart are racers? Does this mean "Dementium: Kart Racing 3D" is next?! :D

  13. I cannot wait for the 3DS to come out. SMB on 3D - it is a dream come true.

  14. I disagree, $249.99 is a good price for what you get, not only does it let you play 3D games with console level graphics (seriously have sou seen the Resident Evil Mercenaries trailer? that is just stunning!) but it's also the first commercially available 3D camera (which Shigeru Miyamoto has stated will possibly record 3D video in the future) what's more it lets you watch Hollywood movies in 3D portably (Nintendo has said before that they're already in talks with many of the big names in hollywood to get their 3D movies onto the 3DS) which just that itself is easily worth the price. but what's even better is that there's a solid list of launch titles (lots of 1st and 3rd party support) with zelda, starfox, metal gear, street fighter, resident evil, Kingdom hearts, final fantasy, and many more all on the way in the next year!

    also how is it that people are okay with paying $400 and a 2-year contract to buy an iphone that has it's only real innovation being that it's a touchscreen on a phone (not counting the retina display since I'm talking about the first iPhone when it was extremely expensive and yet everyone bought one) but when you've got what is essentially a glasses-less 3D gaming/Video-Player/Camera all rolled into one it's too expensive?

    also I'd contend this isn't like the gamegear, while yes the battery life was similar the difference is that you can re-charge the 3DS instead of having to shell out another couple bucks for another 6 batteries (they had a re-chargeable battery for the gamegear but it literally lasted only 30 minutes (seriously) and was pretty big and bulky as well. and honestly how many times have you ever played the DS for more than a few hours at a time except when your at home connected to the wall with your charger?

    also I don't think it's been confirmed yet that it's region-locked, the downloadable titles will probably be region locked (just like how it was on the DSi) but I don't expect the actual cartridges to be region locked (the importing of games had actually made nintendo a pretty penny if memory serves seeing as even I have got a few import games in my collection.

  15. I agree the price is a bit high, but I'm not really surprised considering what you get. I have mine booked and will get it day 1 anyway. But I can understand people and developers being hesitant. At least 3DS games seem to be at £34.99 / EUR 39,95 for full cost games, which is exactly what normal DS games cost where I live... So the rumors about more expensive games weren't true.
    As for battery life, if we consider 4-5 hours for normal use with everything on, it will probably be possible to add 1-2 hours by using normal screen brightness and turn off wifi. That is what I get today with my DSi with those settings, and it's good enough. Sure, more wouldn't have hurt, but the only times I play more than a few hours is at home and sometimes on trains/busses (which have electric outlets) so for me that is okay.

    There is one thing helping with the high price issue though: At launch and a while after that people will trade in their normal DS:es for a 3DS, effectively reducing the price with about 100 EUR. It does make the price a bit more affordable, especially if you trade in a few normal DS games as well. Stores sometimes even have special deals like that when new consoles come out.

  16. You know I was thinking about a different argument concerning the price, and this post popped into my head.

    Who says they can't afford to sell it for less than $200? You heard Iwata say that the price is as it is because of the reaction to it at E3. When people say they could see something like the 3DS selling for $300 - $400, how do you as a company for profit ignore that kind of reaction? You don't, and you change your intended price.

    I'm not saying they could sell the 3DS hardware at a profit for less than $200, but I am questioning what changed between the DS and Wii to now that could have made them set out from the beginning to make hardware that couldn't be sold at less than $200, if your theory is true.

  17. That's a great point, WesFX. Perhaps Nintendo can afford to release the 3DS for $200, but are choosing not to based on the reaction, as you say. If this is the case, I think it is a bad decision IF Nintendo wants the 3DS to be as successful as the DS, which surely they do.

  18. I agree.
    But they did say they've learned that it's easier to win over a more core gamer audience from the beginning that to try to win them over after a system carries connotations like being for more casual players. So I think that's exactly who they're going after right now. From the price to announced games, it seems like there isn't much for that same audience that bought/buys Wii and DS in droves, so I think they're putting their money where their mouth is so to speak.

    Nintendo still loves money, so I see that big push coming later with a whole years worth (so maybe 8 or so games) of big and heavily promoted casual friendly titles kicked off by a price drop and/or redesign and/or new colors. But when they might start that shift is up in the air.

  19. Found your blog. Big fan of Renegade Kid's work on the DS. I hope you go into more details on how you've managed to squeeze so much out of the little machine!

    Anyways to comment on 3DS, I think given the hype, 3DS would have sold its first several shipments at $300. So $250 is a fair price and will be enough of an inducement for the next wave of purchases after the 'Day 1' people get theirs.

    Is it too expensive for the true mass market? Yes. But I view this a lot like the PS2 launch. They have this nice window where they have no competition. NGP is at least 9-12 months away, and they can afford to launch a little high.

    Don't you think it will be $199 by this time next year? I think so.

  20. If that $199 does happen with 30+ games available for the 3DS. There is no doubt in my mind that it will squash the NGP competition.

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