Online Service will Make or Break Nintendo 3DS


 Awesome, if flawed, little thing there.

The Nintendo 3DS, a thing that you play video games on, came out a few days ago and was met with a seemingly modest, yet successful, launch day. Everyone will be raving about it for the next few weeks, play SSFIV3D or Pokemon White/Black on it all day, and be excited for E3’s 3DS offerings this upcoming June. It’s not all happy times in 3DSland though, when you take into account the worrisome “Black Screen of Death” issues popping up, lack of quality launch games, and infamously mediocre battery life. Those issues will eventually be forgotten or remedied. BSoD may be fixed with a simple firmware update because it’s a software issue, better games will eventually come out for the newborn system, and the battery life can be fixed with a third party battery or new SKU in the future. There is one issue that Nintendo can’t afford to ignore any longer. That one issue is their online service.
 
Despite the name of the system, 3D isn’t going to determine how big a success the 3DS will be, it will be how they approach online gaming with the new handheld. As you all may know, Nintendo isn’t exactly known for embracing the world for online gaming. Due to their paranoia of sticking to their “family-friendly” image, online gaming is a road that they have treaded on with much caution. Much to their detriment, this extremely cautious approach has made their online features very barebones and inconvenient on the Wii and DS. With the 3DS, they have fixed some of these issues by adding a friends list, lessening the annoyance of friend codes by sticking them onto one system, and the introduction of the Street Pass system which may or may not be a success here in the grand ol’ USA.  

 The Mii Maker gave me squinty eyes...

Despite recent strides, Nintendo still can’t get the internet right. Friends list are barebones and unfriendly to organization. You still can’t send messages or game invites in 2011 for some ridiculous reason. And you can’t access you friend’s Mii for the Mii Plaza which feels like a missed opportunity. It makes you wonder if Nintendo even bothered to take notes from their competitor’s superior services in XBL and PSN. For a company that boasts about bringing social gaming to the next level, you would think online would be more of a priority for them. I understand StreetPass is their main focus, but it seems to be more of a Japan centric feature due to the dense population, and the popularity of the DS.
 

 I see you turning out to be $399 with all your bells and whistles.

I get that the big draw of Nintendo’s handhelds aren’t the online play, or fancy features, but the consistently strong line-up of games it brings to the table. Problem is, Sony is going all out with the NGP (god that name sucks), and I am absolutely certain their online service at launch will be superior to the 3DS’ current offering. If they want the 3DS to stay number one in the portable market, they need to update the shit out of the 3DS to even hope to compete with whatever Sony has planned for the NGP. 
 
The eShop is also something Nintendo must get right if the 3DS will have any chance in the increasingly competitive portable market. The emergence of apps in the past few years led by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android is something I believe Nintendo should take seriously. Despite the apathy towards garage developers, these devs could immensely help the 3DS become a more flexible device. Nintendo’s already on a good start with Netflix support, why not expand on that? A Pokemon app that allows you to trade and battle with friends on future 3DS Pokemon games would be a stellar feature. Add some social interactivity and a a tournament mode and you got yourself a beefy app. This could be the closest we get to a Pokemon MMO. Or maybe an app that allows you use Twitter on your 3DS except it’s convenient and doesn’t suck like the Xbox 360’s Twitter support. Hell, an app that expands on the AR card concept would breathe more life into it. Nintendo having an app store that interacts with their games would be a huge draw for people, and would improve the 3DS experience immensely. 
 
Game pricing is also very important and something Nintendo cannot screw up if they want to remain top dog. The iOS and Android platforms have had some success with mobile games by having their games priced at a reasonable dollar or a few. Nintendo’s chance at holding an influential portable market is there’s for the taking.  For example, pricing Metroid Fusion for the GBA on the Virtual Console (Handheld?) at $20 will surely bring about some laughter by gamers following some disappointment at your inability to price reasonably. Pricing it at $1-$5, will create some good will and a lot of sales along with respectability for your store.
 
Excellent port to an excellent game.
The biggest issue that needs to be addressed is the friends system. It’s a good start by Nintendo, but sending messages and game invites would do wonders and cement the online foundation. Organizing your friends list by who is online and who isn’t would also help and give user’s less headaches after adding their 100 friend. Expanding a person’s profile to include a mini-bio and other info would help out in Nintendo’s quest to improve social gaming. Let user’s try StreetPass with their friends and exchange Street Fighter figurines or our Miis.

If Nintendo implements even 50% of these suggestions onto the 3DS then I believe it will be the ultimate gaming device, and I will love it long time. The 3DS has an amazing amount of potential and I would hate for it to be squandered just because Nintendo is afraid of the internet. I’m currently playing SSFIV3D and I have to contact my cousin through the phone in order to get him to play online with me. If Nintendo adds a simple invite feature in the coming months, then the 3Ds may be in good hands. 
11 Comments
11 Comments
Posted by Ace829

 Awesome, if flawed, little thing there.

The Nintendo 3DS, a thing that you play video games on, came out a few days ago and was met with a seemingly modest, yet successful, launch day. Everyone will be raving about it for the next few weeks, play SSFIV3D or Pokemon White/Black on it all day, and be excited for E3’s 3DS offerings this upcoming June. It’s not all happy times in 3DSland though, when you take into account the worrisome “Black Screen of Death” issues popping up, lack of quality launch games, and infamously mediocre battery life. Those issues will eventually be forgotten or remedied. BSoD may be fixed with a simple firmware update because it’s a software issue, better games will eventually come out for the newborn system, and the battery life can be fixed with a third party battery or new SKU in the future. There is one issue that Nintendo can’t afford to ignore any longer. That one issue is their online service.
 
Despite the name of the system, 3D isn’t going to determine how big a success the 3DS will be, it will be how they approach online gaming with the new handheld. As you all may know, Nintendo isn’t exactly known for embracing the world for online gaming. Due to their paranoia of sticking to their “family-friendly” image, online gaming is a road that they have treaded on with much caution. Much to their detriment, this extremely cautious approach has made their online features very barebones and inconvenient on the Wii and DS. With the 3DS, they have fixed some of these issues by adding a friends list, lessening the annoyance of friend codes by sticking them onto one system, and the introduction of the Street Pass system which may or may not be a success here in the grand ol’ USA.  

 The Mii Maker gave me squinty eyes...

Despite recent strides, Nintendo still can’t get the internet right. Friends list are barebones and unfriendly to organization. You still can’t send messages or game invites in 2011 for some ridiculous reason. And you can’t access you friend’s Mii for the Mii Plaza which feels like a missed opportunity. It makes you wonder if Nintendo even bothered to take notes from their competitor’s superior services in XBL and PSN. For a company that boasts about bringing social gaming to the next level, you would think online would be more of a priority for them. I understand StreetPass is their main focus, but it seems to be more of a Japan centric feature due to the dense population, and the popularity of the DS.
 

 I see you turning out to be $399 with all your bells and whistles.

I get that the big draw of Nintendo’s handhelds aren’t the online play, or fancy features, but the consistently strong line-up of games it brings to the table. Problem is, Sony is going all out with the NGP (god that name sucks), and I am absolutely certain their online service at launch will be superior to the 3DS’ current offering. If they want the 3DS to stay number one in the portable market, they need to update the shit out of the 3DS to even hope to compete with whatever Sony has planned for the NGP. 
 
The eShop is also something Nintendo must get right if the 3DS will have any chance in the increasingly competitive portable market. The emergence of apps in the past few years led by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android is something I believe Nintendo should take seriously. Despite the apathy towards garage developers, these devs could immensely help the 3DS become a more flexible device. Nintendo’s already on a good start with Netflix support, why not expand on that? A Pokemon app that allows you to trade and battle with friends on future 3DS Pokemon games would be a stellar feature. Add some social interactivity and a a tournament mode and you got yourself a beefy app. This could be the closest we get to a Pokemon MMO. Or maybe an app that allows you use Twitter on your 3DS except it’s convenient and doesn’t suck like the Xbox 360’s Twitter support. Hell, an app that expands on the AR card concept would breathe more life into it. Nintendo having an app store that interacts with their games would be a huge draw for people, and would improve the 3DS experience immensely. 
 
Game pricing is also very important and something Nintendo cannot screw up if they want to remain top dog. The iOS and Android platforms have had some success with mobile games by having their games priced at a reasonable dollar or a few. Nintendo’s chance at holding an influential portable market is there’s for the taking.  For example, pricing Metroid Fusion for the GBA on the Virtual Console (Handheld?) at $20 will surely bring about some laughter by gamers following some disappointment at your inability to price reasonably. Pricing it at $1-$5, will create some good will and a lot of sales along with respectability for your store.
 
Excellent port to an excellent game.
The biggest issue that needs to be addressed is the friends system. It’s a good start by Nintendo, but sending messages and game invites would do wonders and cement the online foundation. Organizing your friends list by who is online and who isn’t would also help and give user’s less headaches after adding their 100 friend. Expanding a person’s profile to include a mini-bio and other info would help out in Nintendo’s quest to improve social gaming. Let user’s try StreetPass with their friends and exchange Street Fighter figurines or our Miis.

If Nintendo implements even 50% of these suggestions onto the 3DS then I believe it will be the ultimate gaming device, and I will love it long time. The 3DS has an amazing amount of potential and I would hate for it to be squandered just because Nintendo is afraid of the internet. I’m currently playing SSFIV3D and I have to contact my cousin through the phone in order to get him to play online with me. If Nintendo adds a simple invite feature in the coming months, then the 3Ds may be in good hands. 
Posted by AjayRaz

great read! i think without any alternate form of communication, it's going to be a real pain trying to get online matches going. i'm kind of worried about how Dead or Alive Dimensions is going to end up. on the xbox, it has 16 player lobbies and while i'm obviously not expecting that kind of ridiculous stuff going on in lobbies, i have a feeling i'm going to stick with Dead or Alive 4 to play online (which, alone is a hassle because it's almost a six year old game. some of the little issues are things i can't complain about because the game was released almost six years ago.

Posted by PixelPrinny

A Pokemon app that allows you to trade and battle with friends on future 3DS Pokemon games would be a stellar feature. Add some social interactivity and a a tournament mode and you got yourself a beefy app. This could be the closest we get to a Pokemon MMO.  


 Ah ha, this whole post was a thinly-veiled mask for your true motives  -- a Pokemon MMO. I'm on to your evil schemes.
Posted by Bollard
@PixelPrinny said:
"

A Pokemon app that allows you to trade and battle with friends on future 3DS Pokemon games would be a stellar feature. Add some social interactivity and a a tournament mode and you got yourself a beefy app. This could be the closest we get to a Pokemon MMO.  

 Ah ha, this whole post was a thinly-veiled mask for your true motives  -- a Pokemon MMO. I'm on to your evil schemes. "
I'm also on to your schemes cause OH MY GOD THAT'D BE AWESOME. Haha 
 
Also, if they add invites and messages like you said it'd be really good - but just imagine if it had voice chat. Yeeahhhhhhhhhh!!!
Posted by blueduck

Nintendo has already proved it doesn't NEED to do anything but put out the same games every few years. 

Posted by Trebz

All good suggestions; all of which are easily possible through updates (but will Nintendo heed them? That is the question). Still, I don't think that lackluster online functionality will be the end of the 3DS if there's a great lineup of software and effective marketing like the DS, but I can see the experience being extremely hindered by having to text/call someone to tell them I want to play a video game with them, among other problems.

Posted by Ace829
@AjayRaz:  Is there any Dead Or Alive current gen sequel coming up? Or are they sticking to portable titles for the near future?
 
@PixelPrinny: Drats! I've been foiled again by the meddling Prinny! Curse you!
 
@blueduck: I feel that this generation of portables is different because of the rise of iOS as a gaming platform, and the flashy specs of the NGP. While Nintendo will get their first party games sales, I can see the NGP carrying a robust online system day one. If Nintendo does sit on it's ass during that time. I can see the NGP becoming handheld king...unless Sony fucks it up somehow (can't rule that out).
Edited by Contro

 

   And you can’t access you friend’s Mii for the Mii Plaza which feels like a missed opportunity
 


Eh, you can bring your friends Mii's into your Mii Plaza instantly using their QR code. You can take mine btw, it's been posted on my profile.
 

Problem is, Sony is going all out with the NGP (god that name sucks), and I am absolutely certain their online service at launch will be superior to the 3DS’ current offering.  


  
NGP uses 3G - an expensive network to run on. Sony will be forced to either pay these costs on every unit ( - lose profit on every unit unless they charge a hefty price for PSP2), or ask customers to pay a subscription fee (which may be included free for those with PSN+).  
 
Nintendo WiFi service is completely free of charge and with games it's robust. 
 

I understand StreetPass is their main focus, but it seems to be more of a Japan centric feature due to the dense population, and the popularity of the DS. 


Tell that to the thousands of gamers that turned up at a Street Pass event in London on the weekend.  
 
 

For example, pricing Metroid Fusion for the GBA on the Virtual Console (Handheld?) at $20 will surely bring about some laughter by gamers following some disappointment at your inability to price reasonably. Pricing it at $1-$5, will create some good will and a lot of sales along with respectability for your store.       


 A measly $5 for Metroid Fusion, you're living in a dream world. You simply don't get "Nintendo Quality" games on Android platforms or iPhone. Nintendo recently said they will not be attempting to compete on price, selinng games that have been heaviliy laboured on for a measly buck or wto, they will however comptete with quality games you simply wont find elsewhere.
Posted by vidiot

I think we already talked about this, but I'm still on the fence regarding purchasing a 3DS because I know Nintendo will be rolling out a new version of this system in the next few years. I currently was away for a road-tip, and a friend of mine pulled out an extra-large DS, something I had completely forgotten that Nintendo had actually made and released. 
 
I'm reading the about the "Black Screens of Death", and the only thing that I can think of is wondering when the next version of the 3DS will be pumped out. 
 
I'm really excited about 3DS's future, but at the same time I think we should be far more understanding about the online connectivity. Everything you listed makes sense and is reasonable regarding establishing an online community. Nintendo doesn't want an online community.
I love Nintendo. They're great innovators, but they do have a history having trouble with change. The only way Nintendo will ever "embrace online", or "embrace HD" will be out of reaction. Their current business model is perfectly sound, and janky online connectivity works within that business model. They're making money and at the same-time, have the luxury to not invest and compete with online components, while keeping some stupid P.R. bull that they're limiting themselves "For the kids!"
 
The willingness to update their online infrastructure, will be entirely dependent on what the PSP2 does, and more importantly: Commercially succeeds at. I'm betting that people should get used to what they have now.

Posted by Contro
@vidiot said:
" I think we already talked about this, but I'm still on the fence regarding purchasing a 3DS because I know Nintendo will be rolling out a new version of this system in the next few years. I currently was away for a road-tip, and a friend of mine pulled out an extra-large DS, something I had completely forgotten that Nintendo had actually made and released. 
 
I'm reading the about the "Black Screens of Death", and the only thing that I can think of is wondering when the next version of the 3DS will be pumped out. 
 
I'm really excited about 3DS's future, but at the same time I think we should be far more understanding about the online connectivity. Everything you listed makes sense and is reasonable regarding establishing an online community. Nintendo doesn't want an online community.
I love Nintendo. They're great innovators, but they do have a history having trouble with change. The only way Nintendo will ever "embrace online", or "embrace HD" will be out of reaction. Their current business model is perfectly sound, and janky online connectivity works within that business model. They're making money and at the same-time, have the luxury to not invest and compete with online components, while keeping some stupid P.R. bull that they're limiting themselves "For the kids!"  The willingness to update their online infrastructure, will be entirely dependent on what the PSP2 does, and more importantly: Commercially succeeds at. I'm betting that people should get used to what they have now. "
 
The issue has been completely blown out of propoprtion, there is nothing wrong with the hardware itself, the issue concerns certain software titles running with the current Firmware.
Posted by MoonpieMisfit

Although not nearly as much of a priority as some of the things you listed, it would have been nice if they included an achievement system in the Software Library similar to the stamps in Wii Sports Resort and give your friends access to view it.  If they do add such a thing, I hope they break it out separately from the Activity Log.