So if you have been following the 3DS since its launch in March, you know the system has had a lot of ups and downs. The system came out strong, but then sales faltered, games have got delayed, and as of writing this article there are only five worthwhile titles, three of which are in the fighting genre. The price point at first was far too high, especially for the portable market?s primary audience of college age retro gamers and kids. People keep saying the Vita is going to kill it at launch or that smart phone?s games make the 3DS pointless. I don’t buy it and think the 3DS is going to rebound with a fantastic holiday season and early 2012. Read more to find out why I feel this way.
The price cut. Let?s be honest. $249.99 is a lot of money for a portable. The two biggest audiences for portables just won’t pay that. College kids are broke and $249.99 pays for quite a bit of food or like two textbooks. Then you have younger kid?s parents which are scared off by the $249.99 price point. Then you factor in the PS3 and 360 (console with an actual hard drive) were only $50 more, it just seemed ridiculous to pay that price for a 3DS. The drop to $169.99 is perfect; it is the sweet spot for the majority of the portable market. Kids who want it as a Christmas or birthday gift and guys my age (20 to be exact) who want to relive the Nintendo classics are now likely to get their hands on the device as the price is now much more reasonable. Also, it becomes more of an impulse buy for people who just demo it and think it is a cool device or want to upgrade from the DS Lite.
The next reason is the games are coming. So the 3DS had a pretty weak launch outside of Street Fighter 4, Nintendogs, and Pilot Wings. The launch was a bunch of shovel ware and Augmented Reality games. Though by the time Christmas rolls around, these will be just some of the must-own titles for the system. Mario Land 3DS, Mario Kart 7, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Devil Survivor Overclocked, Kid Icarus, Dead or Alive, Street Fighter 4. You get the point, that is not the entire list, but that is just a solid sample of quality games that are coming or already out for the system. Not to mention games coming out early next year such as Resident Evil: Revelations and Kingdom Hearts along with several others.
Ok this kind of goes back to the last reason, but Mario. I am not sure if you are aware of this, but the original DS did not do that well as far as sales were concerned. It was ugly compared to the PSP and it may have been priced well at 150 dollars, but the games just weren’t there, and then came Mario Kart DS to the rescue, suddenly the DS could not stay on shelves. Then the Lite came, the DS Lite and Mario Kart would put the DS in the hands of people everywhere around the world; and if it was not Mario Kart that pushed people over, it was New Super Mario Bros.
Next is Nintendo, the most recognizable brand in handheld gaming. When I think portable gaming I think Nintendo. From the Gameboy to the GBA to the DS, Nintendo has dominated the handheld market. They are like the iPod of portable video games. People are not going to forget that, when the time does come to upgrade they will be there with a backwards compatible system sitting at a sweet $169.99 with sequels to all their favorites on the DS.
3rd Party support is very strong. At E3 2010, Nintendo showed the entire list of developers working on titles for the system; this list is pretty huge including giant studios such as EA, Activision, and Square. Then you look at the support for the original DS and all those developers moving over. Nintendo will have games; they have a few now, but by this time next year don’t be surprised if the 3DS is the must own handheld.
Last but not least, CELL PHONE GAMES WILL NOT SATISFY THE CORE GAMER. End of story. I realize the Vita will also be an option, but if you?re not a fan of PS3 ports or Sony first-party titles, many hardcore gamers will lean towards the 3DS because of a lower price and what currently looks like more solid 3rd party support, along with Nintendo classics. Either way hardcore gamers want some real meat to their portable games, something not offered by phones.
So Nintendo fans and portable gamers, you have a lot to look forward to in the 3DS; calm down, the world is not ending because of this price drop and the slow start to the handheld. This is a marathon not a sprint, and I see it as just the start of another five years of Nintendo owning the core portable gaming market. (Unless Vita launches very strong and not just the hardware).