Let’s not kid ourselves here, the 3DS didn’t have the greatest launch, in-fact it seem to be one of the company’s worst, if not the worst. Yes it’s starting week came off with very high sales in the U.S., selling more systems at launch than any previous Nintendo system, but the numbers soon began to drop, going into just over 200,000 in the second week, little over 100,000 the next week and eventually by the sixth week, it was under the 50,000 mark. Not exactly a failure but again not exactly what Nintendo wanted and expected. There hadn’t been much over the 50,000 mark until several weeks later, and the release of the highly anticipated Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D certainly helped systems sell but it was still not enough.
Nintendo, for the first time, was in trouble. Everything had to be re-thought, re-done, and several people at Nintendo took salary cuts to help the company. Stocks were shaken and former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi lost $300,000,000 in 24 hours, bummer or what? Nintendo was having major financial troubles and the 3DS was inevitably, selling at a loss.
Dark clouds were collecting over Nintendo’s head, investors were and still are unsure about the future of the company, owners of Wii’s and 3DS were unhappy, with the drought of games at the time (unannounced at the time), and early adopters of the glasses 3D system were worried if the system was to carry on and if they had made a worthwhile investment. The answer at the time was cloudy, the answer now, is clear.
Yes, somehow and someway, Nintendo pulled through. Some are happy, some are still on the fence and some are just annoyed about the whole situation. 5 Months after it’s Japan release the price of the system was cut by a third, a first for Nintendo and it shocked the gaming world. It started to attract attention, websites stated it was a failure, third party developers started cancelling games, and hundreds of gamers were complaining the system was made up of ports, (Ocarina Of Time, Starfox, MGS3D). Some even stated that the fate of Nintendo would echo that of Sega’s, this was some serious stuff.
The whole thing was looked on as a failure, bad and unnecessary. However, let’s look at this from another angle, a positive one.
All this attention the 3DS was getting, it wasn’t good publicity, but it was publicity none the less! Stretching along to not just game specific websites, but some news sites as well, along with the apparent ‘it gives me headaches and my eyes hurt’ stories, even The Sun started to bash the system. But it was not only giving it attention, it was selling the system ironically, the demographic of the 3DS was everyone but that’s hard to market, so seeing the system in a tabloid paper made potentially millions aware that this systems exists. So thank you for that one!
Another problem was the lack of games, and ‘good’ games at that. Nintendogs + Cats didn’t sell the system as well as it did with the DS, Super Street Fighter and Pilotwings were the stars of the launch, boding well but nothing too fancy. Other than that, there was nothing, only a mere one or two games a month to satisfy 3DS owners was not enough, although the launch of the e-Shop did help (even if it was late). Now times have changed, Nintendo are now treating us to some highly anticipated titles, though we don’t have them yet, we know they are coming and coming soon. Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, StarFox64 3D, Luigi’s Mansion 2, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Resident Evil: Revelations, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D are all soon to be released titles that are exclusive to the 3DS and high quality titles.
But what about the people that bought the system early? The more dedicated, loyal fans to Nintendo, how do they feel about spending £180-£230 on the system only to find months later that the price was dropped radically? Well Nintendo has them sorted too. Although they can’t get they’re money back, they are being offered 20 free games some of which are exclusive to the ‘ambassadors’ of the system, as they are known. 10 free NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) games and ten free GBA (Gameboy Advance) games, not bad seeing as when the Playstation Network was hacked, those affected only received two free games. Some of these games are not just simpl ports of the classics but updated versions, including multi-player as such. Not too shabby eh?
Also, the release of the massively wanted ‘Flare Red’ 3DS helped those who were waiting buy the system, not the best of launches, but as i’m calling a relaunch, I think it was pretty good. Personally, I think Nintendo should of waited a while longer until releasing the system, I think it would of benefited them greatly; longer time to advertise means a wider awareness, more time to build up launch titles, third parties would of been more relaxed into developing the system, and not two but three colours could of been available. An early 2012 or June-July release would of made more sense to me, as well as making their upcoming 1080p HD console, the Wii U more known, but i’m sure the big N had their reasons.
So here’s to the 3DS, may it be just as successful as it’s 2D son, have some of the greatest games of all time feature on it and may the owners be happy with their glasses free 3D investment.
This is not DS, this is Nintendo 3DS.