The world has waited for weeks for information pertaining to the release of Nintendo’s 3DS, and we now finally have some more information. It will launch with a ¥25,000 price point, or roughly US$300, on February 26, 2011 in Japan. (3DS is then expected to launch within the next 30 days after that in North America and Europe.) But several other bits and pieces were announced, such as the inclusion of “AR Games,” or augmented reality, along with a much-desired Virtual Console for Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles.
Obviously, we at Nintendojo are not without a voice on the matter, so our staffers sound off: What do we make of the price point? What can we expect to pay in the US for the system? Now that we know that Japan is getting the system later than the rumored November, when will we get our grubby little hands on it? Along with any other feedback we so lovingly provide, here are some responses.
First let’s start with the good. The amount of AAA software that was shown was mind-blowing. Another Resident Evil title, Mega Man Legends 3, the list goes on and on. The launch is shaping up to be the greatest launch in video game history. Nintendo is finally making the right move in releasing Game Boy and Game Boy Color games on a Virtual Console. I’ve spent tons of money on Wii’s VC alone, so I expect to be dropping some major cash on downloadable 3DS games. I also really like how Nintendo is pushing third parties more than ever. If they can release a home console with this much support, there may be no competition.
Now for the bad. I don’t care what anyone says, but I believe launching next year is a mistake. I’ve been reading many articles about how the Wii and DS lineups this year are strong, and that the 3DS would have taken away from them. Well, that’s partially true. The 3DS would take away from them, but NO the Wii and DS lineup for this year is not strong. The DS has virtually nothing, and while Wii does have Donkey Kong Country Returns and Kirby’s Epic Yarn, neither of them are system sellers. Nintendo has no huge holiday release. No Mario. No Zelda. This could be the first holiday season where Nintendo finally gets pushed from the top.
I believe Nintendo is missing a huge window of opportunity, and if PSP2 launches late next year, it could steal the spotlight from the 3DS. PSP2 is a threat, and I don’t think Nintendo is acting like it is.
Price is another area where many people are concerned. Many seem to believe that when 3DS releases here in the USA in March, it will be $299. That is not true, nor will it ever be. The 3DS will most likely be $249, which as it turns out is the same price at which PSP and PSP Go launched. Many feel that $249 is still too high, but I think it is a reasonable price. I think it is only a matter of time before we see Sony capitalize on the launch mistake, but with that said, I think I’m more pumped for the 3DS than I’ve ever been for any console, period. March can’t come soon enough.
I’m with James on the price. Exchange rates are constantly fluctuating and Nintendo has never used a straight conversion of one currency to another to determine price. DS launched at 15,000 yen in Japan and was $150 in the US, so I guess they’ll stick with that trend and go with $250 for 3DS. As for the release date, it wasn’t want I wanted but was pretty much what I expected. James does make a good point about Nintendo missing an opportunity by not releasing this holiday, but I think the major motivation for waiting until next year is third party software. It took quite a while for third party developers to find a place in the DS market (and many abandoned that place due to rampant piracy), and few developers have been able to gain traction on Wii. With 3DS, I think Nintendo is sending a clear message of a willingness to wait a little while so more publishers can have a share of the system’s momentum at launch.
And then there is the software, and while I would have liked to see more announcements of brand new titles, the handful of new titles and more up-to-date look of previously announced titles was enough to make me a happy gamer. Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3DS was a surprising albeit very welcome announcement; I am a huge fan of the Mercenaries mode in RE4 and RE5, and the promise of online co-op shows that developers aren’t wasting any time in embracing online mutliplayer on the system. Capcom’s other new title, Mega Man Legends 3, was also big news for me. As tired as I am of the Mega Man franchise, I loved Legends on N64.
New gameplay footage of previously announced games, like Metal Gear Solid 3 and Resident Evil Revelations, really helped show us that developers are truly pulling off amazing visuals with actual gameplay. On the Nintendo front, Kid Icarus, Nintendogs + cats, and Paper Mario continue to look great, but the new shots of Animal Crossing and Ocarina of Time really surprised me. Animal Crossing finally looks like it has taken a significant step forward visually, and Ocarina of Time looks like it has received a bigger graphics overhaul than I expected. It isn’t up to par with the system’s best visuals, but it is nice to see that Nintendo is putting some substantial effort into its N64 remakes.
The real news coming out of the press event was the promise that we would finally have a Nintendo system tuly designed with DLC in mind. First of all, the 2 GB SD card included with 3DS is a significant improvement over Wii and DSi’s on-board memory, and of course the fact that it is on an SD card once again allows download-aholics to easily upgrade, should the need arise. Next is the revelation that DSiWare will be transferable. This has put a lot of people’s fears to rest and is hopefully a sign that the same option will exist for WiiWare once Nintendo gets around to making a new console.
However, the biggest story was the revelation of Virtual Console for Game Boy. This is something gamers have been begging for for years, and the addition of classic games in 3D is simply the cherry on top!
The only big question left lingering are details about how 3DS’ online is going to work. Are we going to have to deal with friend codes and downloads specific to one unit, or will we finally get some sort of account-based system that maintains a single friends list across games and keeps tracks of downloads? All things considered, this is the one area where Nintendo has been left in the dust, and any stride forward at this point would be a major change for the better. Hopefully we’ll receive more information on this matter during the future press events where international release dates will be revealed.
M. Noah Ward
Turns out Reggie wasn’t lying to us when he said on Jimmy Fallon that we wouldn’t see 3DS until Spring 2011.
I like how the analysts have had mixed reactions about this release date– Jesse Divnich of EEDAR has said it’s great to allow third parties to maximize their presence at launch, while MF Global FXA Securities’ Jay Defibaugh has called it the “worst case scenario.” Nintendo’s tumbling stock prices confirmed these fears; nevertheless Nintendo still plans on selling 4 million 3DSs within roughly 30 days. What that says to me is within the next six months, plenty of 3DSs will be manufactured for sale around the world, though we’ll still see sell-outs depending on how many your part of town gets.
And the price– I agree with James; it’ll likely be US$250 in the states. This is a precarious decision for Nintendo considering how steeply its profits have dropped in the last year. Between the unfavorable yen-to-dollar conversion rate and the bad economy, how much can Nintendo milk early adopters to maximize profits? My hope is the amount of predicted sales at US$300 versus US$250 will shift the balance in consumers’ (and a US$250 price point’s) favor. I still remember how surprised I was at the original DS’s US$150 launch price, let alone PSP’s (at the time) ridiculous US$250 launch price. Then again, consumers are apparently dropping hundreds of dollars on overpriced smart phones and tablet computers, so maybe gadgeteers have expanded their range of price comfort. Personally, I’m on the fence about dropping US$250.
Aside from the console-level price, the other reason for my early adoption hesitancy is the software library. Yes, there are several games I’m interested in– particularly Resident Evil, Professor Layton and Metal Gear Solid– but Nintendo’s portion of the lineup is honestly overburdened with stale software. I would much rather have a new Zelda or Star Fox game; I don’t care how wonderful those N64 classics were. The 3D novelty wears off fast. Accompanying those 3D refreshes are small upgrade sequels to Animal Crossing and Nintendogs, neither of which interest me. There are also no new IPs from Nintendo, aside from Steel Diver, and that’s hardly a system seller.
Plus, while we saw dozens of game demos at E3 2010, and many more were announced at the September press conference, only 10 have so far been confirmed for the “Spring 2011” launch window, and only two others have been tied to 2011. The rest? Neither a season nor year for their expected release dates. Kid Icarus may be a holiday 2011 title– maybe summer 2012! Do you want to drop US$250 on a system that has you waiting for all those other titles you’re excited about? The reason for the later-than-expected launch date grows ever clearer in this respect.
Between the regurgitated classics and the third party ports, I don’t think Nintendo nor third parties were entirely ready for 3DS this soon, and potentially a holiday 2011 release was the original plan. Now there’s a scramble to get it out nearly a year earlier than that because Wii and DS are no longer maintaining staying power. That’s a fanboy conspiracy theory, to be sure, but the lack of launch software, after we were tempted with so much just a few months ago, is highly suspect. I’ll be happy to be proved wrong in the coming weeks with a flood of release date announcements that are within months of 3DS’s launch; for now, I remain concerned.
I must say I was a bit surprised to find out that 3DS won’t be coming out until February 2011 in Japan. To think that I actually thought it would come out in November in the US– I’m ashamed.
Clearly, 3D is the big buzz in technology lately, so it’s logical that a company would embrace it. Clearly, however, it’s being embraced at a price. While I will still be putting myself through the elements, waiting for days, to make sure I’m one of the first to have my hands on the system, that doesn’t mean I’m a fan of the rumored US$250 price point. I can’t help but see Nintendo going for more buyers here. Anything higher may be too high for the gadget-obsessed crowd. Then again, Nintendo knows the game, and it knows it can charge more for a system out of the gate. Whether the system will be US $250 or US $300, it will still sell out immediately.
But really, a system is defined by the games it offers, and I must confess to feeling a bit disillusioned over all of these games being updated into 3D. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ocarina of Time and Star Fox 64 just as much as any other Nintendo nerd out there, but the reason I’m not even upset about 3DS coming out next year is due to all of the original content being pushed out for Wii and DS this year already. However, just as I’ll be in line for the system, I will also have armfuls of the regurgitated content, because whether they’re retreads or not, they’re still great games.
I really dig how Nintendo has finally responded to fan demands with respect to the handheld version of the Virtual Console. While the absence of Game Boy Advance titles was slightly confusing to me, I think this is a service that will really take off, provided it receives more effort than was put into Wii’s Virtual Console.
Despite what has been said, I remain pretty optimistic when it comes to 3DS. The price is quite unexpected given Nintendo’s recent philosophy of selling cheap hardware, but this is not a completely new concept like DS or Wii; this is the evolution of a ridiculously successful console. Polls show it has gathered a lot of interest, and game developers have been all over it since it was announced. I think it can afford to be that expensive.
The current line-up is a mixed bag. While it consists mostly of remakes, ports and sequels, it already has some really big names and the console is not even close to release. Let’s remember Mario has managed to sell more copies while driving a kart than while saving Peach. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mario Kart 3DS being the console’s killer app for a while, like it was with DS and Wii.
Basically, even if it has a slow start, I can see it being a big success in the long run. In my case– give me a blue one with Paper Mario 3DS (which is not a port or remake, but a true sequel) and I’ll get it at launch.
I really don’t know about this whole shebang. As wonderful as it is that the 3DS is getting all these nice games (though they might be rehashes), and as great as those graphics look, I still remain cautious about the system. Yes, I agree that everything they announced– whether they’re features or games– excites me (and, you know, fanboys) to some degree. But I also think that we might be hyped up a little too much. Even if Nintendo’s managed to, as James said, take the right way out of its Virtual Console stasis with Game Boy/Color (possibly Advance?) games on the 3DS.
Actually, let’s talk about that for a while. The theme of the 3DS library so far seems to be a return to the retro years of, well, years gone by. Sure, both Mega Man Legends 3 and Resident Evil: The Mercenaries get me hot and bothered, but can’t we have a little more new blood in here? Kid Icarus, yes, I understand why we want to go back there, but why another remake of Ocarina of Time? Nintendo, I think, is nearly as bad as Square Enix used to be when it comes to just throwing out old games and calling them remakes. (See: the whole Game Boy Advance classic NES games debacle, with games like Super Mario Bros. rereleased in their original forms.) Hopefully a graphical update isn’t all that Ocarina of Time‘s developers can muster.
Perhaps what I’m most excited about (tentatively), yet also most cautious about, is the idea of the augmented reality games, which I don’t think many people have touched on. (Probably because we know next to nothing about them.) To me it sounds a little too e-Reader, but if this is going to be one of the main features of the 3DS, as opposed to the peripheral the e-Reader was, I guess I’ll have to trust Nintendo. Even if it does sound like one of those gimmicky paper holograms that come to life when you put them near a webcam. Just how much are these things going to augment our video games? Let’s just hope they work out well, without alienating anybody. (Or causing intense laughter in the video game media.)
I don’t know guys… Something about this launch announcement just didn’t sit right with me. After coming home from a long day at work and playing with my Wii a little bit (yeah, I know how that sounds), it hit me! Where is the disruptive killer application that exploits the 3DS’s capabilities? Those of us who are familiar with Nintendo’s M.O. realize that this company never releases a console or portable without a game as the primary driving force. The N64 could have just as well been named the M64.
Then again, I digress. Since when has this company ever displayed its full hand this early in the game? Nevertheless, I believe 3DS will represent a resounding success for the company. The release date was most likely pushed out so that this system could bridge a generation gap that Nintendo was not expecting to be as large as it has become. The Wii is starting to grey, and no amount of hair dye is going to help it compete against 2nd and 3rd generation PS3 and Xbox 360 games/peripherals. The announced price just amplifies my point… This is Nintendo’s next console.
With all of that said, I’m just as excited as the next person. I will be first in line on launch day to pick one of these puppies up.
First of all, I do not believe that 3DS will cost $300 in America; I believe it will cost $250. Still, judging from all the chatter across the internet today, $250 seems to be a bit too much for some people, and I disagree. 3DS looks to be a powerful device, displaying graphics on par with the best the PS2 had to offer. There is even talk that it is as nearly powerful as the current generation’s Wii, so $250 would seem reasonable to me. And honestly, if it’s under $300, does it really matter anyway? It’s a Nintendo handheld: you’ll buy it and like it.
The system itself looks absolutely amazing. I’m not a fan of 3D at all, but if I don’t have to wear those dorky glasses, sign me up. The launch lineup looks to be filled with kiss-ups to retro fanboys (Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64, Kid Icarus) and sequels to familiar franchises (Mario Kart, Resident Evil, Animal Crossing), which is a great business decision. As long as there is a Mario or Zelda game launched with the system, people will become less reluctant to buy it, no matter what the price of admission is.
Perhaps I am the only one who saw the list of third party supporters presented at Nintendo’s E3 2010 conference. Yes, immediately coming to 3DS are a bunch of core Nintendo titles, but so are many great titles from third parties such as Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Street Fighter, and Dead or Alive. Nintendo has really stepped up its game when it comes to third party relations, and this will help the company in the long run, especially considering the fact that Wii’s successor can’t be too far into the future.
Anyway, come March 2011, I will be waiting out in the cold for my 3DS, regardless how much it costs or what games are being launched with it.
I don’t know what Maurice is talking about. While talking about how Move and Kinect have any potential against Wii is pointless, I also don’t agree with his other point. Not every Nintendo system has launched with a so-called “killer app.” What was the killer app for GBA, or Virtual Boy? Or GameCube, for that matter? 3DS is all about 3D, and since theoretically every game is going to be in 3D, that’s assured at launch. BAM.
Speaking of which, the mere fact that MegaMan Legends 3 is on the 3DS means that it is worth buying at any price. That being said, I think that it will launch at $250 in America, at worst, since Americans are far more price-conscious than the Japanese. And let’s not kid ourselves, here: any Sony handheld that may come in the future will be even pricier, since Nintendo always sticks to the most cost-effective hardware in existence. ‘Nuff said.
Plus, let’s not forget about the 3DS’s multimedia capabilities. It may be the first media player that plays movies and such in 3D, and certainly the first that does not require glasses. Also, it will play some old DSi software and you can finally have a Virtual Handheld with Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. That’s at least two Flagship Zeldas, there. 3DS may be a little more than we’re used to paying for a handheld, but make no mistake — it’s the Real Deal.
What do you have to say? Will the system go for US $250 or US $300– and however much it does go for, are you still planning to get it? Sound off below in our comments!