Nintendo 3DS In Trouble Already

By  |  Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 9:58 am

Nintendo’s latest financial results admit that the Nintendo 3DS handheld isn’t selling as well as the company had hoped, while ignoring the elephant in the room.

The magic of glasses-free 3D was supposed to sell itself — or so Nintendo thought. Now, the company realizes that showing off the Nintendo 3DS at retail stores and public events isn’t enough. “There is no easy road to making people understand the attraction of glassless 3D images and making Nintendo 3DS widespread,” says the company’s report (via Kotaku).

But instead of acknowledging that smartphones and tablets have eroded demand for single-purpose portable gaming devices, Nintendo pins the blame on a lack of education. Nintendo says it needs to “thoroughly encourage people to properly adjust the 3D Depth Slider” and add more content that can be viewed passively, such as 3D video.

Really? While I’m sure a lack of content and misunderstanding of the Nintendo 3DS’s subtleties aren’t helping, I find it hard to believe that these are what’s holding back the 3DS. More likely, it’s the $250 hardware cost plus $40 prices for new games. That doesn’t compare favorably to a $229 iPod Touch and dirt-cheap games, let alone the smartphones that an increasing number of people are already carrying.

In fairness, Nintendo has previously acknowledged the threat that should seem obvious to anyone who pays attention to this industry. “I actually think that one of the biggest risks today in our industry are these inexpensive games that are candidly disposable from a consumer standpoint,” Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said in February. Nintendo Chief Executive Satoru Iwata echoed those thoughts at the Game Developers Conference in March, saying that smartphone makers and social networks “have no motivation to maintain the high value of videogame software.”

Still, it’s startling not to see a single mention of these issues in the report that Nintendo is putting forth to investors. Dissing smartphones at trade shows is easy. Figuring out how to tackle smartphones head-on is hard. Nintendo glosses over this issue at its peril.



13 Comments For This Post

  1. Jon Verge Says:

    No, it's simply the fact that the 3DS was released at an inopportune time, in contrast to when the DSi and DS were launched.
    As well as there being no games people actually want to buy (I am completely confident that once June comes out and Ocarina of Time 3DS, plus a few of the other wanted games release, there will be a bunch more 3DS sales).

  2. Jared Newman Says:

    The Nintendo DSi launched in North America in April 2009, same time frame as the 3DS, if that's what you mean.

  3. Nico Says:

    The DSi released with an established base of DS games. The 3DS is lacking any true Nintendo first party games that create a need for gamers to upgrade. In fact, the DSi offers bigger screens for the current library of DS games, so why upgrade now? The only Nintendo titles for it now are Nintendogs and Pilotwings, which some may argue are both series that you have to be interested in. Once Nintendo releases Zelda, Star Fox, Mario, Mario Kart, Smash Bros and others the systems will fly off of the shelves. Nintendo knows this, they are not stupid. Just because they didn't have the launch they'd hoped for doesn't by any means mean they will struggle and go out of business.

  4. Rob Says:

    My son wants the 3DS, if only for the cool factor. As Jon suggested, my son plans to wait for June specifically because what he wants to play on it isn’t available until then.

  5. guest Says:

    Nintendo always had the 'cool' factor. It is bewildering to me that they failed to understand that '3D' is not a cool gimmick.

  6. ldb Says:

    They also fail to take into account that a lot of people would rather stick a fork in their eye than do 3D…

  7. Nico Says:

    I said the same thing until I actually saw it. I hate all versions of 3D I've seen on TV, they give me a headache. On the other hand I've played the 3DS for over an hour without any headache.

  8. tech84 Says:

    I say go PSP/NGP!

  9. Nico Says:

    I'll probably pick up the NGP as well as the have the 3DS I bought. I love Nintendo's games, but the power of the NGP is pretty irresistible.

  10. Brandon Says:


  11. james braselton Says:

    hi there google youtube on 3ds petition and sing a petitition for youtube on 3ds or contact nintendo directly and psp npg or vita is the new name browser also has no youtube soo if there is a youtube on psp vita i will sing way are consoles with out youtube there cpu ram and storage has plenty power for youtube nintendo needs 3d youtuve for 3ds too keep sells up

  12. aaron Says:

    o hate the fact that it is region locked. it limits the games we can play. including the japan only games that they relese. they need to get rid of that dang region lock. (it would be more of a gain to nintendo if they did. people would buy more games that would be sold in just one region)

  13. james braselton Says:

    hi there you are right aaron 3ds games region locked but nintendo video service is not region locked or web browser too