We’ve spoke about the Nintendo 3DS a little more as of late, especially since it got its update that allows it to be a
subpar web browser. But the little shiny blue (or black) handheld hasn’t been the blockbuster Nintendo President Satoru Iwata thought it would be when they launched it 13 weeks ago.
The original DS sold a million units in 4 weeks, a much faster rate than the new 3DS, but it was also in a market without smartphones and app stores. Iwata claims the company will do some heavy promoting this Summer and with titles like “Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D” it should help.
But what Nintendo is owning up to is that the traditional handheld market is being eating alive by smartphones and apps. With the iPhone and Android smartphones selling like crazy and developers are noticing a big shift in where the attention is being drawn. As for gamers and casual folk who own these super phones, they are enjoying games like Angry Birds, which is free (with ad support) or as little as $0.99. Then there are games like Plants vs. Zombies which launch on Amazon’s Appstore for free (for 24 hours) and impressive shooters like Modern Combat 2 from Gameloft for only $6.99. If users of these devices can get a great experience on their phones, something they always have with them, for less than $10 bucks, why would they pay $250.00 on an untested handheld with bad battery life and games that cost $39.99?
If Nintendo is going to survive this “super-phone” onslaught they are going to have to drop the hardware price fast and put out more downloadable games under $10. I just downloaded the new “eShop” update on my 3DS and I can tell you I’m not paying $19.99 for a game that I played 15 years ago and hasn’t been re-done, touched-up or made 3D…sorry Nintendo, I know you all are the masters of “re-hashing” your old games, but you need to find a better price point otherwise Nintendo is going to end up becoming a trading card company again, much like how it started.