Nintendo Believes The 3DS' Two Big Problems Have Been Fixed

The buzz on the Nintendo 3DS hasn't been good, I recently mentioned to Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime.

I hear people complaining about a lack of must-play games and a lack of reason to boot up the machine. The $US250 handheld hardware, while impressive, is called too expensive. Nintendo even failed - by about 400,000 units - to sell its hoped-for four million 3DS systems by the end of March.

There were actually two problems holding prospective 3DS purchasers back, Fils-Aime told me, two problems he believes the company has addressed.

"When we launched, we had a fantastic day one and a very strong week one," he said during our recent interview. "We talked to consumers. Consumers were highly satisfied with the device. They loved the built-in applications. They loved the game experiences. We had high levels of awareness. We had high levels of intent-to-purchase.

"But when we started talking to consumers who were aware or interested, but hadn't yet bought, they told us two things: first, I need a big Nintendo franchise for our purchase. The second thing was I need the network to be up. I need the connected experiences to be there."

That first problem that Fils-Aime mentioned was surely the byproduct of a launch line-up that included a Nintendogs, but no Mario, no Zelda, no Smash Bros. or any flagship game. The second problem was even more awkward: the inclusion, on the 3DS' touch screen of a non-functional web browser that, when touched, indicated that the machine's online services would be activated by Nintendo at a later date.

The Missing 3D Video Service While Nintendo finally activated the 3DS' web browser and online shop a couple of weeks ago, more than a month after the machine's launch, it has yet to debut the 3DS' promised 3D video service. Despite the release of one music video, several 3D game trailers and a single 3D movie trailer for the movie Green Lantern, there has yet to be a sign of an actual, organised 3D movie service. It's coming, Fils-Aime said. "There will be music videos. There will be 3D movie trailers. There will be Nintendo-curated content, things we believe are interesting that, candidly, we've helped finance. I am actively involved in all of that content identification. … It's going to be fun." That will launch in the summer, along with non-3D Netflix support.

He said he wasn't guessing about this stuff. It sounded like they came from surveys. "I know those were the two factors, based on the consumer information," he said.

That was the past, he told me. In fact, we were talking shortly before the launch of this past weekend's The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, a re-make of a classic Nintendo game considered to be one of the medium's best.

"So now we jump to where we are," he said. "We're going to be launching Ocarina." He began slowly smacking the back of one of his hand into the palm of the other. "We're going to follow with a steady drumbeat of Star Fox and Kid Icarus and two Mario titles and the Luigi title." That roster, which includes Super Mario Bros. 3D (see it here) and Mario Kart (see it here) for the 3DS is all set for release this calendar year, save for Luigi's Mansion 2 (see it here), which is scheduled for 2012. "I think we've got that issue not only identified but addressed."

As for the 3DS' limited online options, those were being cleared up as we spoke. "We've just done the first network update. We've got the eShop up and running. We've got the 3D movie service still on track for the summer. We've got Netflix still on track for summer in the US. So I think we're well underway to having that addressed as well. My expectation, Stephen, is that with the adjustments we've made, we're going to be back with strong momentum on the 3DS."

The elephant in the room is that the 3DS, without its must-own game, without its online shop, without its online-connected 3D video service that would help show off the allure of the machine's vaunted glasses-free 3D, might just not have been ready for its March launch in America.

"The system did not launch earlier than planned," he said. "We thought there would have been a tighter gap between launch and the first network update." Beyond that, Fils-Aime projected, all is well.


    Or maybe it's because everyone knows a new model will be out in a relatively short time that will have a better battery life and so on.

      I don't know why everyone keeps saying that.
      Sure when the Ds launched it was 18 months later they had the DS lite.
      The 3DS doesn't have the same glaring problems the original phat DS did.

      Finally, if they were to increase the battery life it would be in the form of a new replacement battery which you could swap out of your current system.

      Anyone that is waiting around for the 'inevitable revision' will be waiting at least 2 years and missing out on a heck of a lot of games.

        The battery problems will be as much consumption as supply. Swapping out the battery will only do so much. I'm waiting for a more efficient unit. Even if it takes 2 years. 4-6hrs is basically useless for me. I can get significantly more gaming with my android, and it gets criticised for its weak battery life

        Drew, you're an idiot. Nintendo WILL release a new version in 18 months. It's not speculation. It's foresight.

    How odd. My problem was the battery life. Zelda fixed that though. Zelda fixes all my problems...

    Isn't that right Zelda...? My own... My precious...

    “We thought there would have been a tighter gap between launch and the first network update.”

    I can only assume this is due to the earthquake and tsunami's in Japan - something nintendo could never have predicted.

    I also agree 100% with reggie. I didn't buy a 3DS at launch. This is strange becuase I have bought almost every nintendo console at launch. I only got one last week - and that's only because Zelda is out this week.

    The Japanese launch lineup was a little stronger (with the new Layton game), but still, I don't know why they refuse to admit that it was released too early.

    Since they updated the eStore, I must say I've been playing my 3DS constantly, and carrying it around with me. Once Ocarina is launched in Aus, that'll keep me playing for a while, and as long as Nintendo keep releasing these Gameboy classics (Metroid II please), I'll have plenty to play as I wait for Starfox and Mario 3D. I can't help but feel like they missed something big though. If they launched with Ocarina, every man and his dog would've purchased one of these. Many decided to wait until Ocarina launched, but now that the time has come, Vita has been announced, and I reckon a lot will simply jump ship. It's kind of staggering how the gaming collective went from loving the hell out of the 3DS one year, to doubt and speculation the following year. Why the hell, Nintendo, didn't you launch this thing with ONE game that was worth purchasing?

    Yeah I knew all of this but it was cheaper to buy a 3DS then than it is now - show me where I can buy one now for $268.. Zelda reviews are very promising

    The discrepancy between the US price and the Australian price can't be justified, that's why I held off. Now, I've got one winging it's way here from the US.

    I always thought they had purposefully done an early launch with no good games so that all the tech-lovers and fanboys could grab theirs.

    Then at a later date when the were more consoles available they would release the good games that would get everyone else purchasing.

    This stopped all those jerks who buy themselves a few and then flog them off at double the price on eBay later.

    It makes it so everyone can purchase one when they want it, unlike what has happened in the past.

    Surely big corporations don't do anything by accident...

    Do yoy think that Stephen Totillo chose to use "see it here" as the links to use repition to grab my attention rather than just using the games titles as links?

    Or was there some other force at work here??

    Biggest problem has not been fixed - it's still hideous to look at. There hasn't been any reason to buy this over waiting for the 3DS Lite.

      Damn right, they are ungly, but what about how horrible they feel!

      I was in Nintendo world the other day and sat down at one of their demos of ocarina of time, which is pretty cool.

      But the damn unit is so ugly and gross to touch, the plastic feels like that rubbery but hard crap they put on plastic barbie edition diaries. The L and R buttons are absolutely tiny even though the unit is as thick as a ds lite. The slide pad works well, but is covered in a rubber coating that at different times feel grippy or loose, not to mention its surface WILL get damaged and wear off over time. All the buttons on the unit feel cheap and horribly "clicky" and the home style buttons under the screen are atrocious, under-skin click buttons that will deform over time.

      It really is like Nintendo have intentionally released a 3DS Phat so they can make a way superior 3DS lite down the road to sell to everybody again.

    pure white or black 3ds with a range of AAA titles(Zelda, Mario, Pokemon etc); and at a nice $249AUD RRP.

    No region locking would help too.

    But frankly, I got my DS to play Zelda and Pokemon. I've dabbled in stuff like ace attorney and layton which I enjoy however.

    3DS problems (in the order or ranking) are
    1) Region Locked
    2) Over priced
    3) No Good Games
    4) No Dual Analog
    5) 3DS Lite will be released in a year (speculation based on history of GBA & DS)
    6) NGP seems more promising

    I waited ages to get a PSP (years) but I am so very excited to get a PS Vita day one. I got a DS Lite straight away. I think that says plenty about the perceived value. I want star fox and zelda ocarina but I'm not paying $350 for a machine to play remakes. I MAY get oen when they are cheap. I will likely get a Vita straight away for the new uncharted etc that arn't remakes...

      That's probably a fair point that Reggie didn't address. When they launched they didn't have many big games, but they also didn't have the PS Vita looming quite so large as it is now after its E3 showing. You wonder if some of those people who were waiting for the big Nintendo games to arrive might now decide to hold off for the PS Vita. Or at the very least wait until it launches and see how the two compare before they decide which machine to purchase.

    While the whingers are whinging, the rest of us are playing DOA Dimensions (unless you where whinging while it was out, and then you didn't buy it because you were whinging there are no good games, then it got banned, and you whinged about it) and looking forward to Zelda.. the 3DS deserves more respect.

    its brand new i cant recharge the battery. the battery light comes on then it goes of

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