#8… Lower the price of the 3DS. Check!
Yes, that’s a joke, but bear with us because it makes for a good introduction. The Nintendo 3DS debuted costing almost as much as a smartphone, with polarizing 3D and an incredibly weak launch lineup of short, high-priced games the only things justifying that price tag. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, then, that the handheld ended up with poor sales numbers. If Nintendo really wants to save the 3DS, however, the company will have to do more than offer a $80 discount or 20 free oldies. Here are a few more ideas…
Forty dollars?! How did that seem like a good starting price for every 3DS game? The competing (and much more successful) mobile platforms sell titles for an average of five bucks. Here’s a particularly egregious example of the discrepancy: Monkey Ball on 3DS has a suggested retail price of $40, while the iPhone version is $2.99 and HAS MORE LEVELS. Is Nintendo really claiming that 3D makes a game 1200% more valuable?
On that note…
Hollywood and the box office have taught us that 3D is not for everyone. Whether the reason is eye strain, stigmatism, glasses or a viewing experience that isn’t all that compelling, more and more theatergoers are opting for cheaper, simpler, traditional 2D instead. Even Nintendo has gone on record to say that while 3D can enhance a game, it can’t necessarily make it better. Super Street Fighter IV on 3DS gives players the option to turn off 3D (not just the analog slider, but an actual menu toggle) and the result is an improved frame rate, longer battery life and arguably smoother gameplay.
Street Pass / Mii Plaza is one of the best things the 3DS has going for it, and one of the most engrossing and accessible social games on any platform, anywhere. Think Foursquare, if the people in your neighborhood could be brought into battle and win coveted in-game treasure for you. It’s fun, simple and the infrastructure’s already in place for updates – just add new dungeons, hats and puzzle pieces every couple of weeks.
Knowing Nintendo like we do, however, the company won’t update Street Pass nearly enough to keep them interesting. (Looked at your Wii channels lately?) Today brought news that the feature may be updated by the end of the year, but by then, Mii Plaza could already be a ghost town.
Nintendo has made no substantial, first-party contribution to its own eShop other than porting/emulating games over a decade old. Meanwhile, it was recently reported that Sony invested 20 million dollars for downloadable titles. What, you think that’s all going into PSN? Heads up, Nintendo – a new contender is about to enter the handheld arena, and potentially with a lot more firepower.