It’s a frustrating time for Nintendo fans, as some of their decisions, and direction as of late has been..different. Their current generation of gaming consoles in their base forms are a huge success. The Wii and the DS have fulfilled their hype from the beginning, with more than a few of their characters being stuck in the arm with the needle of awesome, games like Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, Zelda, etc. Yet now, we have several avenues of WTF that they are going down.
In February of this year, Nintendo put out the 3DS. It’s a DS, and the first piece of technology available to the consumer with stereoscopic 3-dimensional display capabilities, which means you don’t wear glasses to experience the 3D images, and movement. Games like Street Fighter, Resident Evil, and Pilotwings take full advantage of this feature, and got a lot of people talking about the continuing possibilities of this little wonder. Having Wi-Fi, a 3D camera setup for your own 3D photos, and a virtual game store that is a handheld version of the Wii’s virtual console store. It was released with a lot of press, but it wasn’t enough for the initial sales numbers that were not as high as expected or for the cascading drop thereafter. But wait!! Here comes a solution!
Five months after the release of the 3DS at the end of July this year, Nintendo decided to lower the price of the handheld system. From $249.99 USD, to $169.99 USD. Welcome price drop to new customers, vomit-inducing rage and frustration for the ones that have already bought it. Enter the ambassador program.
The program was a way for Nintendo to say sorry to those who had already bought the system before the price drop, with a list of impressive retro games that were downloadable through the E-shop. Price dropping the system was a quick fix, garnering 185,000 units sold in the 19 day period after the drop, but again just isn’t enough. The gap between shipped, and sold DS Lites, against 3DS units, is emo pony depressing.
In a press conference prior to the Tokyo Game Show, Nintendo announced an expansion slide pad for the unit:
Yes, it looks terrible. Although it is a hardly felt attachment weight wise, it does make the handheld significantly larger, and the slide pad requires its own AAA battery. The stick is identical to the left pad that players are used to, and while the slide expansion covers the 3DS triggers, the pad has 2 of its own. While an ugly, bulky extension, upcoming games that will be compatible with (but not requiring the pad) will be some heavyweight titles, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, Kingdom Hearts 3D, and Resident Evil: Revelations.
Rumors also swirl rampant of Nintendo releasing yet another 3DS unit, with the 2nd stick built into it.
It feels like Nintendo has stopped caring about the design of their hardware, and are throwing additions on after the fact. While this is a good marketing ploy, it can’t be good for the customer base, losing respect for the company that they’ve so valiantly followed, and has been swarmingly popular in this country for 20 plus years.
The DS Lite is one of their greatest handheld successes, but in an industry of increasing pressure to incorporate the newest and most exciting trending technology, has Nintendo slipped, trying to keep pace with the technology that Sony and Microsoft market?
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