Nintendo recently showed off the 3DS to press in New York, revealing almost everything there is to know about the latest handheld from the world leader in mobile gaming. Now, however, they are making a huge mistake with the 3DS, and the company is doomed to failure for five very important reasons:
1. Nobody wants 3D. You don’t want it, I don’t want it, and according to most data out there on the subject, nobody really cares about 3D. Not 3D movies, not 3DTV, not 3D sports, and not 3D gaming. It’s a novelty at best, and an eye-straining, vision-ruining epidemic at worst. Furthermore, 3D content is currently so limited in film and 3DS gaming that anyone could store all the trailers and videos they want on the included 2GB SD card. Heck, there isn’t even going to be a way to realistically view 3D photos or videos taken on the 3DS except on the handheld. So who cares?
2. Software: It’s serious business. As much as we complain about hardware, it’s software that will make or break any electronic device. And here comes Nintendo with a slightly updated two-year-old operating system with a grand total of 11 apps. Oh, and some of them won’t be available when the 3DS comes out.
Apps on phones and media players are becoming ridiculously complex. I can learn a language, store all of Wikipedia, check the weather and do thousands of other things through apps on my iPod Touch. And what is Nintendo offering? Mii Maker and Face Raiders. Is this some kind of joke? I know kids in elementary school with more iPhone apps than me, who send more text messages and open more apps a day than my entire family does in a week, and Nintendo is putting in a notepad and activity log? I guess Nintendo’s new model is useless hardware and junk software.
3. Battery woes. Nintendo originally surpassed competition with the Game Boy through excellent battery life. Now, their most powerful machine yet runs…a measly 3-5 hours, “if you play soft”. In normal conditions, the 3DS couldn’t even last a flight from LA to NY. Even playing DS games it’s rated for just eight hours. For $250, Nintendo could at least make sure their console can keep kids quiet for the whole car ride. Is that really so much to ask?
4. Sharing is…overrated? When I grew up, we surrounded anyone playing on a Game Boy. It didn’t matter when or which model, we did it all the way through high school with the Game Boy Advance and SP. But now thanks to the 3D screen, there’s no reason to have that social experience, because the image looks skewed from any angle not perfectly perpendicular to the screen. And keeping your hands steady while holding a handheld when playing is next to impossible as it is. How much worse will it be if the 3D effects friendly kibitzing?
That is, unless you turn 3D off. I only wish Nintendo gave us options so many years back. You know, to help complicate our lives and entertainment like they are doing now.
5. Too little, too late. Nintendo may not believe in the phone industry, but game developers do, and consumers do. No matter what Nintendo may say or do, they are competing against products that make calls, send text and picture messages, stream and store video and music, run hundreds of thousands of applications, and play games. These are devices updated yearly. In comes Nintendo like a hipster trying to be retro: every part of the 3DS is old except for the 3D tech and the processing power, which remains a mystery. Three VGA cameras? A resistive touchscreen? 400×240 and 320×240 resolution displays? If I were to describe such a device to anyone today and not say it was from Nintendo, they’d ask “who would make such crap?”
Yet here we are, taking Nintendo’s word that the 3DS will be great, a leap in a new dimension, pun intended. But Nintendo, this is too little, and too late. You already gave us awful cameras with the DSi, and everything from limited apps to low resolution screens since the DS released back in – wait for it – late 2004. It’s 2011 Nintendo, and you are so late to the party that all your friends left and you’re in the laundry room making out with a mop. Come out and meet iPhone, Android, and heck, even Windows Phone 7. Sony may show up later, possibly with both a PSP2 and PSP Phone, but who knows.
Join us in the new decade Nintendo. Oh and Sega called. They wanted to wish you luck, and remind you that the Game Gear lasted 5 hours…AA’s.
The Nintendo 3DS launches in the US on March 27th.