Nintendo Worried People Aren’t Buying 3DS’ Magic

Nintendo Worried People Aren’t Buying 3DS’ Magic
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Nintendo’s glasses-free 3DS portable gaming system isn’t selling as well as the company expected because people don’t understand how great the gadget is or how to properly use it, the president of the company theorises.

Addressing a gathering of analysts in Tokyo this week, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata seemed to place most of the blame for the lackluster sales of the 3DS on people not understanding the magic of the system.

“Nintendo 3DS has not been selling as expected since the second week, and this is not just in the Japanese market but also in the United States and Europe, where no direct impact from the great earthquake has occurred,” he said.

The solution, it seems, is helping people understand the “value” of 3D images seen without the need of special glasses and making sure they know how to use the system correctly. Iwata said providing content in which to experience the 3D images is also a plus.

And it’s not just the 3D that people are missing out on, Iwata says. 3DS gamers also don’t seem to get StreetPass, SpotPass, Augmented Reality gaming and Mii Maker, he said.

“It is now clear that the combination of these new features is not necessarily easy-to-understand by just saying one word to those without experience,” he said. “There seems to be more than a few consumers who have Nintendo 3DS hardware but don’t know about this software and possibly haven’t had a chance to get interested in it.

“After all, pre-installing a feature which we would like many people to enjoy is not sufficient to make it actually popular among users.”

While Iwata says the company needs to push gamers to use and understand all of these new features, he also said that the company needs to be prepared for the roll out of network services to the 3DS in May.

The best way to make sure that gamers go online and check out the eShop is to give something away, he said. So Nintendo plans to give away a free download of Excitebike as one of the “3D Classics” series for a limited time. This, he hopes, will kick start the use of the eShop once it goes live.

“There is,” Iwata points out, “no easy road to making people understand the attraction of glassless 3D images and making Nintendo 3DS widespread.”

Financial Results Briefing for Fiscal Year Ended (March 2011) [Nintendo]


  • I really don’t understand why Nintendo hasn’t been pushing for a display unit in every retail shop (or at the very least, every specialist game shop). Especially for a product that’s entire tagline is basically “you’ve got to see it to believe it”. Maybe they have that overseas, but I’ve not seen one here. :/

    There’s only so much they can do to demonstrate the addictiveness of Streetpass, though. 😛

    • My local GAME store does have a demo unit. For about a week after release, it was actually attached to one of those red shirt black vest nintendo guys. Now I think you have to approach one of the staff about it though.

    • Agreed, every time I’ve gone to my local EB and Game since launch I have looked around to see if they had a 3DS set up so I could play with one but they never do. All I have to go on regarding the system is a few comments and some youtube videos.

    • I believe it is due to a shortage of units. That, and it’s very difficult to show the motion controls with an unassisted IDU. Which means that the AR and Mii Maker can’t be shown properly.

      It’s actually quite challenging to show the 3DS’ features without giving folk the chance to wander off with it. But I do agree: Nintendo need to overcome this, or 3DS won’t succeed like they want.

  • How about actually having a decent game on launch? People are well aware of what the 3DS can do, but what is the point if there is nothing to play?

  • Quote:
    “There is,” Iwata points out, “no easy road to making people understand the attraction of glassless 3D images and making Nintendo 3DS widespread.”

    Umm, how about getting some bloody demo units in stores, that might, you know, do exactly what you’re after? I’ve not seen a single demo unit since it was released. Kinda hard to get excited about a system that Nintendo themselves can’t promote properly.

  • I could have sworn the slow sales are the result of a high price tag, lack luster launch library and poor battery life.

    That and consumers generally don’t care about 3D.

    • I too was of this opinion until actually purcahsing one.

      If you are willing to trade in and shop around the price really isn’t that bad, it’s true the launch library isn’t spectacular but I think it’s good enough,and there’s a HUGE collection of DS games out there that you can use on the 3ds that are plenty of fun.

      It’s true not many people care for 3d but once you actually have a go and spend some time playing in 3d it’s actually quite enjoyable.

      I do agree about the horribad battery, but out of all the thing people say are bad this is the only thing I found annoying (which can be fixed by turning down 3d and turning off wireless). I guess the instructions on changing the battery provided in the manual gives me hope that there will be some upgrade to the battery in the future that will help extend the life.

  • Thirding the call for DEMO UNITS. Every time I wander into a GAME or EB lately, I keep an eye out for one. Ridiculous, really – they got it right with the MotionPlus, surely this wouldn’t be a difficult logical connection to make?

    Although even so, I won’t be buying until there are some games I actually care about on the thing. I know they’re coming, but they’re not here yet and by the time they arrive, there’s every chance the price will have dropped. I have a huge library to work through on the original DS…

  • The magic is great, but there is no way I’m buying without some decent games. AR cards and Pilotwings are not enough by themselves to justify buying this hardware.

  • Wow, I was going to wait for the 3DS Lite, with better battery and whatnot, but Nintendo might just pull a Virtual Boy and revert back to the DSi….either that or do what they should have done and actually RELEASE THE GOOD GAMES!!!!

  • Game line-up is a common mistake aswell for launches. May take a few games to get released, exclusively, to sell some copies.

    It’s Nintendo, they have a weird fan base in Japan and amongst the young in America & Europe – they hold the power really with the games on the DS. An exclusive Mario game could do it, or Dragon Quest definitely within Japan.

    Time will tell. They can’t expect everyone to get one straight away when the line up doesnt cater every gamer that has a DS or plays it avidly. And a lot know Nintendo re-release their consoles almost yearly so a lot will definitely learn from the original DS and wait.

  • I played with a demo model, and well, the 3D effect really didn’t seem that great. I had to keep it at exactly the right angle to maintain the effect and it started to hurt my eyes after about 5 minutes. I think people have realised this and aren’t really being taken in by the 3D gimmick.

    That being said, it’s great if you just switch off the 3D and use it as a more powerful DS.

  • I have to admit, I had been reluctant about it until I saw one actually running at the Sydney Easter Show. I don’t think you can actually grasp how 3D the 3D is until you actually see it. It was pretty cool!

    That said, I had always planned to buy one for el kiddo to replace his old beaten up DS lite, but decided to leave it until his bday late in the year because as of right now, there are hardly any games for it that make use of the 3D that he would want to play. Its all very well having this cool 3D thing, but without 3D games he would be actively using its just a novelty/regular DS.

  • No games – You might as well not have a game system to sell if there aren’t any games worth owning on it.

    Region locking – Nobody cares whether or not Nintendo Australia is artificially and frivolously kept afloat, we want a fair price.

    Too expensive – More future-minded people would’ve bought the system by now, intending on using it to play some decent games when decent games exist, save for the arm-bending price.

    Emphasis on junk peripheral features – Really? We should want to use street pass and Miis and that shit? That doesn’t sound like a video game at all. That sounds like you spent all your time making things that weren’t video games. We’re supposed to put our faith in the games you’re going to put out when you try to sell a system based on Miimaker?

    Nintendo will get around to pushing something worth owning out the door, but at the moment I’m still smarting over my one Wii game worth owning released last year, my no recent DS games worth owning last year, and all that money I keep giving Steam because they’re selling for pennies.

  • No games – Obvious. Assuming this will be fixed.
    Should allow homebrew. Some amazing educational apps could be written using 3D.

    No installing games – Cartridges are inconvenient. What if every time you wanted to play a different iPhone game you had to stop and attach a different cartridge? How popular would that be? Need to be able to download games or install them from the cartridge.

    Battery life – Needs to be at least 10 hours.

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