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As the Handheld World Changes, Nintendo Strikes Back

Between iOS, Android, the impending release of Vita and cursed by its predecessor's success, 3DS struggles to position itself.

Dusty and with a dead battery, the current state of most people's 3DS machines. Including mine.

No one can say Nintendo isn't taking the tepid response to the 3DS seriously. The cost of buying a brand-new 3DS will drop from $249.99 to $169.99 on August 12, slashing the retail price $80 almost five months after launch.

"At $169.99, the 3DS is now an incredible value to both gamers and consumers," said EEDAR analyst Jesse Divinich over email to me today. "I think it is safe to say we are unlikely to see another 3DS price cut anytime soon, and the fate of the 3DS hardware will now solely rest on the quality of content. Content, I believe, will shine this holiday season."

The DS launched on November 21, 2004. By the end of March, Nintendo had sold 5.27 million units worldwide. Nintendo has pushed 4.32 million 3DS units in roughly the same timeframe, but it's crucial to note that's without the benefit of the holidays.

3DS' future will be better judged after Christmas.

The biggest release so far has been a remake, while the next major release is...the same thing.

In the meantime, content is something 3DS has been sorely lacking. The no-glasses 3D trick was not enough to convince consumers en masse that 3DS was worth picking up at $249.99, with games like Pilotwings Resort and Super Street Fighter IV leading the software charge. Last month's The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D was the first substantial release from Nintendo since the hardware's late March launch.

Sluggish hardware sales have prompted publishers to start quietly pushing content back, in fact. Sega had planned to release both Crush 3D and Shinobi in September, then suddenly announced both would be pushed back several months, with Crush 3D not arriving until 2012.

Alongside the price cut, Nintendo confirmed release months for Super Mario 3D Land (November) and Mario Kart 7 (December).

"Nintendo plans to release some of its best content for the 3DS this holiday season and as long as consumers agree," said Divinich, "I foresee no reason to doubt a Nintendo turn-around this holiday season."

"As long as consumers agree" is the key issue. Nintendo can get away with charging $39.99 for its releases, thanks to brand recognition for its characters and franchises. The problem third-parties have always struggled with on Nintendo platforms in the modern age is competing with Nintendo's tent-poles.

Complicating matters is the rise of the smartphone as a reliable on-the-go gaming machine. Consumers expect to pay less for mobile entertainment now. Dollar games are plentiful on Apple's App Store, and some of them are terrific.

Epic Games made $10 million off Infinity Blade and nothing off BulletStorm. Guess which was cheaper to make?

There may be more substance to Nintendo's creations, but what's the threshold of "good enough"?

The race to the bottom was challenged by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata at this year's Game Developers Conference, where he encouraged developers to continue to assign value to their work.

“The objectives of smartphones and social network platforms are not at all like ours," he said.

At the same time Iwata was speaking, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was literally across the street announcing the iPad 2, and revealing Apple had paid developers more than $2 billion through App Store sales.

Iwata asked developers to avoid the race to the bottom common on iOS and social platforms.

"What I wanted to argue most was that video game developers need to be careful about 'preserving the value of video games' so that the video game industry, regarded as valuable by many people, can be sustainable," said Iwata, reflecting a few months later.

Combined with Facebook's games explosion, the expectations from consumers for games has changed completely.

"Consoles used to be 80% of the industry as recently as 2000," said Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello in an interview with Industry Gamers. "Consoles today are 40% of the game industry, so what do we really have? We have a new hardware platform and we’re putting out software every 90 days. Our fastest growing platform is the iPad right now and that didn’t exist 18 months ago."

Nintendo has been slow to encourage development on the eShop, mostly relying on its existing DSiWare catalog and a steady release of revamped "3D Classics." Nintendo's storefront is a better experience on 3DS, but it's hardly the App Store in breadth or ease of use. There are rarely sales on the eShop, let alone demos. Many iOS games happily play with price points to spur attention, and if you're just looking to download a bunch of apps to play with, there's an entire free section to explore.

Free doesn't exist in Iwata's wheelhouse (unless you're talking about Virtual Console games to early adopters, anyway).

I'd love to download a bunch of experimental 3D projects for a buck on my 3DS, wouldn't you?

On WiiWare, Nintendo at one point made a big deal because a small slice of games were honored with the ability to have a demo--temporarily. They eventually disappeared. That's not a way to encourage people to experiment with their dollars.

One of the more immediate questions outside of Nintendo's financial sphere is how the 3DS price drop will affect Sony's PSP successor, Vita. The industry welcomed Sony's decision to price match 3DS at $249.99 for the cheapest Vita model, and it's unclear whether Sony will be able to adjust any lower.

Sony did not return my request for comment on the 3DS price drop.

Sony found a way to price VIta at $249.99, but will they find a way to slice away at the price more?

"This price cut does put the Vita in a tough position," said Divinich. "Not to sound like a broken record, but it all comes down to the content and if the Vita can deliver a library of high quality entertainment products, it should be able to thrive at the $249 price point."

The reason Nintendo dropped to $169.99 specifically may have more to do with margins. Bloomberg Japan reports that Nintendo will be taking a loss on each 3DS sold going forward. One of Nintendo's hallmarks is its ability to turn a profit on all hardware on day one, so whatever the sales outcome of the platform, at least the company is making money. Not anymore.

"I would suspect that the 3DS is now being sold at near break-even for Nintendo," said Divinich.

Given that Nintendo's reporting a massive quarterly loss, all bets are off.

And while no one will question whether Nintendo's move today was bold, will it be enough?

Iwata traditionally speaks to investors right after a financial report. We should know more about what Nintendo's thinking soon.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
157 Comments
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Posted by thebigJ_A

I'm confused. If the 3DS sold 4 million in the same timeframe the DS sold 5 million, and that without holiday sales to boost it, why is Nintendo freaking out? That's 80% of the DS sales. A bunch more will be sold to unknowing parents in November. Maybe I don't understand the market, but that doesn't sound like a huge flop.

Edited by ptys

It's amazing how you can be king for a few years and your empire crumbles at a moments notice due to wrong choices. I think the WiiU should have hit shelves around the same time Microsoft dropped Kinect. They were content sleeping at the money tree for too long and I think they're in the sh*t if this isn't a success as this price cut is effecting their share price. They're are panicking too early, they need more content, better hardware design and a nicer price, it should still be a success.

Edited by Nautilus1515

@thebigJ_A: the 3DS only sold 710,000 units in the quarter

Edited by Marokai
@thebigJ_A said:

I'm confused. If the 3DS sold 4 million in the same timeframe the DS sold 5 million, and that without holiday sales to boost it, why is Nintendo freaking out? That's 80% of the DS sales. A bunch more will be sold to unknowing parents in November. Maybe I don't understand the market, but that doesn't sound like a huge flop.

Because articles like this and other gaming news outlets have somehow created this narrative that dedicated handheld gaming systems are on their deathbed and that the iPhone/iPad is the new king of handheld gaming.  (Also, apps have sort of ruined everyone's senses of expectation. It's piss easy to sell millions of a game that cost you a dollar or two. Also piss easy to make money off said product considering that many of them have the production value of a flash game.)
 
I mean, yes, the 3DS launch has been a disaster. It launched with significant functions not online yet. There's been pretty much no hits for the system yet. Marketing for it IMO has been pretty poor. But to launch near no holidays at a 250 dollars price point with next to no games to actually play on it, and only be 1 million off from the original DS at this point in it's lifespan? I would call that "okay, but seriously need to improve" not "NINTENDO IS GOING DOWN IN FLAMES, LONG LIVE THE IPAD." 
 
The news has the ability to create a narrative that doesn't always necessarily reflect conditions on the ground, and as far as the market is concerned, perception is reality. 
Edited by Nautilus1515

@Marokai:

it sold 710,000 units in the entire quarter. Which means it has slowed dramatically from the first couple weeks in sales. Which is not good at all for any system.

Posted by RecSpec

I find it crazy that Nintendo didn't at least wait until going through a holiday season before cutting the price.

Posted by ABritishNerd
@dbz1995 said:
If this makes Vita pricing go down, I will be a happy bunny.
Same here, thank you Nintendo (though I still won't buy your portable console).
Edited by Marokai
@Nautilus1515 said:

@Marokai:

it sold 710,000 units in the entire quarter. Which means it has slowed dramatically from the first couple weeks in sales. Which is not good at all for any system.

The comparison Patrick made in his article between the sales numbers and what I and others cited in our posts are referring to worldwide sales. The 3DS has sold 4.3 million units worldwide since it's launch. In roughly that same amount of time in its lifespan, the original DS sold 5.27 million in its lifespan. Therefore, the 3DS is one million off. 
 
I'm not saying the 3DS doesn't need to kick it in gear or anything, but A) It was expensive, B) It launched near no major buying holidays unlike the original DS, and C) Has very few games worth playing. Yet it has still sold 4.3 million worldwide, .9 mil off of the original DS' sales numbers by this point. That does not equal the death of handheld gaming as we know it, yet is being treated as if it is.
Posted by vinsanityv22

While I agree the 3DS is pretty useless as is, there's no reason for it to be gathering dust. It is, after all, still a DS. Have you played Radiant Historia, Monster Tale, Okamiden, or Dragon Quest IX yet, Patrick? No? Then you've got some gaming to do, buddy!

Posted by YukoAsho

"At $169.99, the 3DS is now an incredible value to both gamers and consumers,"

What?  See, this is the reason analysts are full of shit.  People who buy dedicated gaming devices are either doing so because they're interested in games or because it's a gift for someone who is similarly inclined.  These things aren't going to be used in the same scattershot manner that a general purpose device would be.  No one's buying a 3DS specifically for Netflix, so to divorce gamers from consumers is silly.
 
Another stupid premise is that smartphone gaming is going to overtake anything.  The fact is that, for every success story, there are more failures than in dedicated games.  Yeah, it costs less to make the games, but unless you've already got a position in gaming, your app is going to be in a race to the bottom.  Most iOS games barely break even, something people don't realize because the averages are skewed due to Angry Birds' unbelievable success.  Fact is, most people buying these devices could give two shits less about video games.  Maybe they'll buy Tetris or AB or a Breakout clone, but that's about it.
 
Keep telling yourself that this is going to replace proper handheld games.
Posted by Faint

The casual gaming scene is both helping the games industry and killing it at the same time. As a student studying games design, I know that I could potentially put out a title for iPhone or Android and out of no where turn some decent cash - but at the same time, the kind of games I like to play are high budget of decent gameplay length (20 or more hours). I fear these games may slowly disappear from the industry unless people become aware of what's going on.

Posted by maskedarcstrike

I would totally buy a 3DS If Nintendo made a 2d Metroid with 3d graphics like New Super Mario Bros.  WHY WONT THEY MAKE IT!! It makes no sense whatsoever.

Posted by vhold

People aren't tired of Zelda and Mario, Nintendo just isn't making new games with them at the right times. It's kind of like they are repeating the mistakes of the Gamecube.

Posted by Parkingtigers

Man, a lot of people are really dismissive of smartphone gaming in this thread.  Lots of points to address on that score, but I'll settle for just one; namely the suggestion that the App Store doesn't have, and won't get, games of depth and quality to rival "proper handhelds". Remember, the iPhone is only 4 years old.  The App Store is only 3 years old.  The iPad is not even 18 months old.
 
Are there proper portable games on the App Store?  Oh fuck yes.  Without even looking at the platform exclusives, just look at the stuff that came from other systems:
 
World of Goo 
Plants Vs. Zombies 
Geometry Wars
Peggle 
GTA: Chinatown Wars 
Secret of Monkey Island special editions
Sid Meier's Pirates 
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 
Final Fantasy I - III 
Back to the Future adventure games 
Tales of Monkey Island
 
That's just from the top of my head, and of course next week finally sees Final Fantasy Tactics coming to iOS too.  One of the best games on PSP, it'll be one of the best games on iPhone.  Machinarium is coming as well.  The list is much longer than this, there are masses of games from "real" systems now on the App Store.  There are masses of games that could be ported too, if publishers had the will to do it. Ultimately, the only thing as players we need to worry about is games.  The hardware is just a medium to play those games on.  Ports of great games to iOS shows that they can exist on smartphones and tablets.  Getting all sniffy about them not being real consoles is missing the point.  It's a device that plays real games, the quality and scope of which are improving all the time. 
 
It's not the hardware that's going to put Nintendo on the ropes, its the pricing.  There is now an equally capable device in people's pockets where the games don't cost $30 a pop, and which frequently go on sale.  Phoenix Wright is one of the DS's most beloved games, and that is where I first played it.  I recommended it to everyone that would listen.  Got it again on iPhone for one dollar in a sale. Handheld consoles were the one area of gaming where there was no mechanism for cheap, discounted, or sale-price games to regularly compete.  PC gamers have Steam sales.  Console gamers got platinum hits repressings, which were viable thanks to the fact that discs are cheap as hell to make unlike cartridges or UMDs.  App Store changed that.  Even Sony has a flawed yet viable digital store to be able to reduce the price of their games for those that buy them that way.   
 
Nintendo is sticking with a business model that involves trying to sell handheld games at a price that competes with home console titles. Well, good luck with that.  The world has changed, and they need to adapt to it.

Posted by SeriouslyNow

@YukoAsho said:

"At $169.99, the 3DS is now an incredible value to both gamers and consumers,"

Another stupid premise is that smartphone gaming is going to overtake anything. The fact is that, for every success story, there are more failures than in dedicated games. Yeah, it costs less to make the games, but unless you've already got a position in gaming, your app is going to be in a race to the bottom. Most iOS games barely break even, something people don't realize because the averages are skewed due to Angry Birds' unbelievable success. Fact is, most people buying these devices could give two shits less about video games. Maybe they'll buy Tetris or AB or a Breakout clone, but that's about it. Keep telling yourself that this is going to replace proper handheld games.

Obviously you haven't seen the App Store or Android Marketplace. Both are filled to the brim with games. I think you've also missed the fact that Sony's two handhelds are both 'droids and one is specifically a phone, while MS's first real phone OS in years is centered around a two pronged attack on gaming and social networking. Sony and MS are capitulating to the reality which you're blinding yourself to. Angry Birds is just the most well known gaming app but there are hundreds and thousands of reasonably successful and easily profitable examples in both phone stores.

"The fact is that, for every success story, there are more failures than in dedicated games."

That's not a fact, that's just some window dressing parading as a factoid.

Posted by Levio

The reason why smartphone games are so popular is because people already own the console. Most people playing games aren't hardcore gamers, and they aren't going to spend an extra $170 to get better controls and 3D.

Posted by Juicebox

wow... what's gonna happen to the VITA now?

Posted by geirr

Okay so in my amazing country I have the choice to use, say, the appstore and get a fun little game for 1-5usd including Final Fantasy 1-3 and other really neat portable titles.

If I want a 3DS game I'd have to pay 50-80usd.

No.

Posted by dhenniga

I got my 3DS on launch day (as I do with every Nintendo console release) and I've been burned ever since.  The main problem is that the selection of games is pitiful (and has been since I bought it).  Now, I'm getting even more burned by this price drop just five months after the launch.  I haven't even switched the 3DS on in around three months.  I'd say this is Nintendo "£$$ing it up but they did the same thing with the Wii (crappy selection of female orientated games with the odd Mario Galaxy or Metroid thrown in) and I haven't turned that on since Christmas.  For God sake Nintendo, PUT SOME GOOD GAMES OUT FOR YOUR CONSOLES, I'VE GOT NOTHING TO PLAY!!!!

Posted by TaliciaDragonsong

Consoles aren't a big part of the market anymore?
No shit, we've been with this current generation for way too long (6+ years?) and its time for new stuff.
Games are great but there's always a lack of space, RAM or cpu for devs to play around with.
 
It hurts to see ideas turn into games, which could have been an even better experience on a new console, its bleeding time!
 
Nintendo just needs to shut the fuck up and learn its place, I'm a diehard N-girl, got a freakin Zelda tattoo but I'm sick of them and their attitude.
In this age we need demo's, we need a working online multiplayer and a working shop.
I don't care for little apps or small games, I just want to be able to have the same info available for the shop as my xbox/ps3 provides me.
Get with the bloody times and release some damn games.
 
Just the thought of Nintendo releasing a 'normal' console (which could always be extended with extra stuff like some GC games did) with current or better gen graphics made people lose their shit pre-E3.
Start listening to consumers, cus we're losing the magic of gaming with all these grey and simple games on nowadays consoles, and Nintendo's swingathon and needlessly forced controls aren't helping either. 

Posted by aidros

I wonder if Jeff ever found his 3DS?

Posted by cosi83

Yup, till more 3DS's are out there, don't expect publishers signing up to develop for it. They had to make this move, with the dry launch lineup it should never have been so expensive in the first place 
 
I will buy it next year, till then I wait on the Aliens DS game

Posted by VirgenFJ

Aside from having a 3 in front of DS, many consumers still believe it's still a regular DS. I had to tell a friends mom that the screens, hardware, and the quality of game have been "upgraded."

Posted by MikkaQ

The problem with handhelds like the 3DS and Vita is that they've become so powerful, and demanding more and more expensive assets, 3D engines etc than developers are less likely to focus on that system.

If making a 40$ vita game with gorgeous graphics and full voice cast costs as much to make as a 60$ console game, but won't sell nearly as well, what's the point? That's why iOS has been so attractive, it's cheap as dirt to make games for, the turnout is quick (Riccitello says a game every 90 days, that's a wet-dream for a publisher in this day and age), and the potential market is much farther reaching than any dedicated handheld could hope for. It's also exciting because people are more likely to take risks when the stakes are low like that.

Posted by blaakmawf

Even at that price, I'm still not interested.

Posted by amomjc

Sad. It still hurts my eyes and ears to read and hear that the iPad is a dominating platform for gaming. There has yet to be a game on that platform that took me for a ride and gave me what I needed from a virtual experience. Infinity Blade was great, but it felt small and obsolete after a day or two playing with it.

People need to start understand that the Casual Gamer is now an existing title. iPad is a casual platform, and until it shines towards the hardcore, that's all it is. The Games on that market are so low budget and pointless (unless of course were talking about great titles like Bejeweled, Puzzle Agent, and Puzzle Quest 2) that I nearly stopped playing games with it and started using it as an expensive Kindle and Word Processor.

I do not feel that gaming in general has any thing going against it, if anything, this casual uproar will be able to fund companies with enough cash to allow longer development phases instead of forcing a game out every year to meet its budget. Time will tell, but I remember when people began to think the Gameboy Color would ruin the gaming world, but it only made it strong.

Posted by captroy

@boylie: I'm not convinced that the number of casual games being released really hurts us "core" gamers in the long run, any more than the variety of genres in the movie, TV or book industries hurt their industries. When you really look at it, the video game industry is still a young one compared to the others, meaning there's plenty of room to grow. More choice = more gamers = more variety in the long run, which is healthy for the industry. Plus, the rise in popularity of indie games is a positive sign.

It's also a better situation if a large publisher like EA can spread its risk over a variety of types of games. That way, one or two failures of expensive "blockbuster" games doesn't threaten its long-term business.

Of course, this doesn't mean I'll be playing Farmville anytime soon, but I'm not going to be watching a romantic comedy tonight, either. :)

Posted by MadExponent

I think this is a sign of Nintendo missing the boat on cheap iOS style games. It really is. They'll lose this fight and learn for the next one.

Posted by InertiaticESP

As a poor college student, I couldn't afford to drop $250 on a 3DS. Now that it's only $170, I can afford to get one. That $80 means a lot to me. So Nintendo may lose for now, but I win, and that means Nintendo ultimately wins, provided they give me some killer content.

Posted by damnboyadvance
@Faint said:
The casual gaming scene is both helping the games industry and killing it at the same time. As a student studying games design, I know that I could potentially put out a title for iPhone or Android and out of no where turn some decent cash - but at the same time, the kind of games I like to play are high budget of decent gameplay length (20 or more hours). I fear these games may slowly disappear from the industry unless people become aware of what's going on.
It's helping the mobile gaming industry, but killing the console gaming industry.
Posted by ThePantheon

I always find the time to read Patrick's pieces. Good work, my man.

Posted by bulldog300

C'mon nintendo, what were you thinking? Look, I'm an average gamer; I own multiple consoles and one happens to be an original DS before they started tacking on bells and whistles. HIstory dictates that the good will between you and I has long since dried up (in no small part due to the Wii). In addition to that, I not only have no interest in 3d technology at the moment, but when it was first introduced I was against it. For me it's just a gimmick to pad on the price tag of electronics and movies. 
 
You're asking me to swallow a $250 grain of salt in addition to any new $40 games that come along when all I really wanted from the get-go of the Ds was an army of affordable yet engaging games, all because you're Nintendo and gamers are supposed to love you for that. Just like gamers were supposed to love Duke Nukem just because he was Duke. I'm sorry, but memory lane doesn't allocate my entertainment budget, cost to benefit factoring does. You survived the Virtual Boy, you can survive this too.

Posted by GleasonRyan

theres a copy of a pokemon game right by that DS how could it not be getting used all the time!?

Posted by LegendaryChopChop

I think Nintendo might learn and eventually adapt to iOS style of games on future mobile devices, not individual consoles they put out. I just see the future turning this way.

Posted by Phoenix87

Nintendo is the new Sega. Its only a matter of time before they are software only.

Posted by sickVisionz

Sluggish hardware sales have prompted publishers to start quietly pushing content back, in fact.  Sega  had planned to release both  Crush 3D  and  Shinobi  in September, then suddenly announced both would be pushed back several months, with Crush 3D not arriving until 2012. 


Is there really anything to back this up?  Have the publishers actually said this?  If not, what about the handheld market means that any delay in a game is because the hardware sales are sluggish rather than say, the game needs more time to be completed? 
 
Anyways, 3DS sales don't seem that bad to me.  The sales aren't matching the top 2 best selling systems ever (not sure if DS or PS2 is number 1), but is that what it takes for sales to not be considered sluggish?  You've got to put up "best ever" numbers or you're dying?
Posted by shodan2020

@boylie said:

Ugh, I hate that the industry is going in the casual direction. I hate it even more that consumers gave them a reason to.

Hey man, I'm doing my best, but I don't have access to infinite money. Sorry to disappoint.

Posted by jNerd

I didn't realize Bulletstorm was such a lose for the company until a few days ago. I understand why they push these iOS games so hard, they're ridiculously profitable! OH EM GEE!

Posted by Demoskinos

You know with the price cut being so massive I was like Oh shit I need to go get one of these now!  Until I stopped to realize theres well...nothing to play on it.   Street fighter and  DOA yeah... but I have DOA and Street Fighter on my consoles that I can play with arcade sticks.... 
 
wheres the good games?  

Posted by Red

Good to see a price drop, but still needs games.

Edited by maxB

put a fire emblem out on it and ill buy it

Posted by Jack_Daniels

I'm not buying any gaming device without two analog sticks. Period.

Posted by thenexus

I do not think Nintendo is super in trouble here but it is a sign that people have got tired of their approach to gaming.
Making gaming more approachable is a great goal and it did work for a time but it is Casual Gaming is also Throw Away Gaming.
 
People do not want to spend a lot of money or put much effort into a Casual Game. This is why the Tablets and Mobiles and even facebook have this market and it is not going to go anywhere else any time soon.
You can buy apps for text to nothing, have your 5 minutes of fun and be done with it.
 
Nintendo have been the most vocal about those games and about it destroying gaming because for them it is. That was their marketplace and it is hurting them the most.
Sony and Microsoft have that core gaming industry and also have no provided for the casual gaming but it is not their focus.
Core gamers play their consoles not on the Nintendo platforms.
 
Nintendo ruled the handheld because of that concept but again the Mobile has that now. Jeff is 100% right when he says he does not want games to look and play as good as on his home console because he would rather see it on a big lush screen!
 
Nintendo's Wii U is a reaction to this change and for me a rushed and bad reaction that could really hurt them.
They have tried to take what they have, try and throw in the HD and created some tablet gaming controller hybrid to try and claw something back.
 
They will create innovative games 1st party and initial sales (because it is something new) will not be bad at all but it wont do very well. I am pretty sure on that front.
 
IF you want to do well in the casual gaming front for the home now you need to have a device that is NOT just for that purpose. The 360 and PS3 play media through online and DVD and PS3 does well because of Blu Ray too boot.
 
Their throw away games through their new motion controllers allows people to have that 5 minutes of fun but also sit down and watch a TV show or Movie in the afternoon, talk to their friends online and have that online aspect too.
 
Nintendo is still not clued up on that area as well.
 
I think this price drop makes the 3DS more appealing but I do not think it will work for them either.
 
 Something Nintendo are not doing enough of and something they should be doing more of is getting those hardcore games on their consoles.
I have a pretty strong feeling that some of those more hardcore games for the Wii U will be the ones that sell the best.
 
I do not think they have ever done anything super wrong to be fair. I think Nintendo's only failings have been to underestimate the online space, underestimate the media space and not have a great 3rd party game line up.
 
I love the mario games, I love the Zelda games and they are normally very well polished games BUT I am also sick of seeing new Nintendo Hardware or seasons and seeing the same games over and over just looking different, using a new controller but still the same thing.
 
Nothing wrong with that alone but It is just about all they have, and with how things are now - It just does not work any more.

Posted by Sticky_Pennies

I have to wonder what the big three are thinking in general when it comes to software prices. Clearly games under $20 sell far more readily than the $40-$60 nonsense we're dealing with today. The wild successes of iOS and Steam should be indicative enough of that. Then again, game prices have always been utter shit, no matter what the console generation.

Posted by tonewheel

I was going to go into a lengthy and highly developed exposition of my opinions on casual gaming, Nintendo, smartphones(/dumbtablets?) as a platform, and the future of the "core gamer" (that still feels like a buzzword), but then I realized that I'm on the 8th page and no one's going to read this anyways. Long story short: anyone who has looked through Nintendo's launch titles already knows why 3DS sales are so bad out of the gate. There are already established players in the handheld games market with better selection and even a certain degree of content suited for people looking for a more in-depth experience than Angry Birds. Nintendo's appeal to the core gamer was either a pretense, a bluff, or a plan enacted too slowly, and they ended up with a crappy launch because of it. They made games for no one, and no one bought them.

Posted by BasketSnake

An incredible value...with one joystick.

Posted by flanker22
@MadExponent said:

I think this is a sign of Nintendo missing the boat on cheap iOS style games. It really is. They'll lose this fight and learn for the next one.

you want shit quality games? k guy. 
Posted by Minos
@flanker22 said:
@MadExponent said:

I think this is a sign of Nintendo missing the boat on cheap iOS style games. It really is. They'll lose this fight and learn for the next one.

you want shit quality games? k guy. 
I think Nintendo wants to be in the one dollar apps market and "hardcore" gamer market, the longer they decide which market  they want to belong the more money they will lose. They are catering towards everybody at the moment, and no one is interested in what they offer because they want to appeal to EVERYONE, so they're more or less good towards producing games for everybody, instead of concentrating their assets toward producing excellent content for a specific crowd, that being phone apps or console games for hardcore players. 
Posted by Minos

I think the true problem here is............ 3DS has no games! They could drop the price down to $100 but there are no games to back that up.

Edited by MajorToms

@MadExponent said:

I think this is a sign of Nintendo missing the boat on cheap iOS style games. It really is. They'll lose this fight and learn for the next one.

I don't think that's what they're missing at all. Just look at the the state of affairs on wii and ds shops. SHOVELWARE! Fuck, I've never seen garbage piles so high. Sure the games are cheap, but it seems Nintendo is content with allowing everything to have it's go. Devs charge as much or as little as they want (much like the phone games & apps marketplace).

Clearly they can make money on it, but it might already be too late with this system. Previous digital shops by Nintendo have left a sour taste in everyone's mouth (Except Jeff's, I think he finds reading their bullocks print ups delicious). That might be part of the reason people are disinterested with 3DS: More of the same from Nintendo.

There are other handheld markets out there with far more interesting things going on. (Android, iPad, iPhone, w/e crazy thing Sony comes up with next, etc..). Nintendo has too much competition, more than they're used to, and good competition at that. Apple and Google have been going at it for a while. Nintendo can't rest on their laurels and stick to their tried and true methods anymore, because it's clearly affecting them.

Personally, I think Nintendo needs to tighten it's seemingly loose grip on quality assurance when it comes to digital games. Apple and Google marketplaces can get away without having to worry about quality of the games and apps that are for sale in their marketplace because their product is the phone/operating system and that's their top priority. Sure, they make apps, but that's not why people go to them. It's because they make great smart phones.

The 3DS doesn't offer much outside of the realm of gaming. Sure it's sort of like a web-browser / palm pilot too, but those things went out of style with the first generation of smart phones. Nintendo makes games (some amazing ones at that). However, I can't help but feel as though the $40 price for a hand-held game isn't going to sell in this day and age when people buy games for so cheap on their phones. These people need to carry their phone around to keep in contact with other people. Nintendo is a little naive to think that any of these people are going to carry their 3DS around with them too. Some people will, but most won't.

All you need to do is compare Nintendo's digital marketplaces to XBLA or PSN or Steam. The games that come out for $15 in comparison to games that come at "Full Price" (I'll say $40 and up). You're getting your money's worth with the $15 most of the time, no doubt. Microsoft, Sony, and Valve have the digital gaming markets in a way that makes sense. Cheap games, Lots of Sales, and Quality games on offer.

The other problem I see is that there doesn't seem to be much interest in developing games for the DS, Wii, or 3DS from big name companies. I think publishers see the cluster fuck that happened with DS shop and couldn't figure out a way to market their products, and have decided that it isn't worth their efforts.

TL;DR - Phone market's have home court advantage in portable gaming and offer more than just games. It's a hard sell on people who don't carry their 3DS around all the time (if they have one). Nintendo needs to tighten it's grip on the quality assurance of the 3DS digital shop if they are to make money and compete with other portable game markets. They also need to be more active with advertising programs within their shop and offer compelling sales there. Lowering the price of the 3DS has made the handheld a more compelling sale, but it's still very hard to sell a system when there are no games readily available.

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