Nintendo 3DS: Will it Be a Sales Success?

Nintendo 3DS: Will it Be a Sales Success?

Nintendo’s seeming aloofness on issues pertaining to hardware design can be maddening, but also exciting (they’re obviously doing this to drive us crazy). The company is talented at rolling out hardware innovations, but at the same time, it’s set in its ways. While the industry changes around it in great bounds, Nintendo takes tiny steps. That’s the maddening part. But there are also small hints here and there indicate Nintendo is starting to “get it” as far as modern gaming practices go. Maybe we need to thank looming competition from Apple for spurring Nintendo on?

For instance, in the past, Nintendo has had a tendency to front-load its system launches: The first few months of a new system’s life ushers in all the games we got excited about at said system’s preview event. Then we’re left hungry for months at a time while new releases slow to a trickle. This was a huge problem with the Wii, which launched big with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and fell silent for a time–making the subsequent glut of shovelware all the more appalling.

But Nintendo president Satoru Iwata recently told the Nikkei Keizai Shimbun newspaper that gamers can’t be left hanging for new titles, and that the 3DS will keep up a steady supply of quality games through its lifespan:

“With the DS and Wii, following the titles that were released at launch, the momentum dropped when there was a gap in software releases. We’re making plans so that this type of thing won’t happen.”

Definitely a bit of a change from the days when Nintendo expected its fans to keep themselves busy for ages with the N64’s two launch titles until more games were finally released. Nintendo’s confidence–all right, let’s call it smugness–took a pretty huge hit when people didn’t wait for the company to catch up to the PlayStation. It’s learned some hard lessons since, and it’ll probably keep learning.

However, if Nintendo does stick to its promise, paces itself, and demonstrates that it’s learned at least one lesson from its past, it’s a good indication that Nintendo has lowered its horns and is getting set to blow us all away with the 3DS. 2011 will usher in an intense handheld war that will leave microchips scattered across the battlefield, but if Nintendo is pushed to do its very best, this competition already a guaranteed winner: Anyone who loves great games.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

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