Nintendo should remember 5 simple words when it comes to launches; It’s dangerous to go alone

I found out this morning that the Nintendo 3DS is taking a price cut “to further accelerate adoption of the hardware”. As a current owner of a 3DS I ask myself…did I adopt too early?

I bought the 3DS for one reason, Nintendo IP’s. Zelda, Pokemon, Mario…Nintendo have a bunch of IP’s from over the years that they hold onto tightly and rejuvenate with every new console generation in order to attract customers to their hardware. Except that’s not really how it’s gone with the 3DS so far, it was lacking those crucial titles at launch as well as a key component the eShop.

Launch titles included Super Street Fighter 4 3D Edition, The Sims 3, Lego Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars…all games that were available on other platforms in better graphics minus the 3D, oh and three Nintendo games (five if you take into account the three versions of Nintendogs and Cats). Where’s my Mario! my Starfox! my Pokemon! At least we got Zelda this June but that’s a remake, I wan’t some fresh meat!

Then there’s the eShop, portable sibling to the Nintendo Wii’s Virtual Console bringing portable classics back to your fingertips for low-low prices. The eShop diddn’t make it into the 3DS launch itself, instead getting a May release date which became a June release date and now grants us access to a few titles every week, namely Gameboy games and occasional DSi-Ware. Sadly with the exception of Zelda DX and maybe Super Mario Land the majority of these titles haven’t been the blasts from the past I’d been hoping for. Where are the Sonic Advance games, Wario and the Harvest Moon series?

I was surprised to find 3DS launch games slashed to half price at most shops not too long ago, another sign that people were not picking up those titles as quickly as retailers had hoped. Well now the 3DS itself is having its price slashed worldwide and as an apology of sorts Nintendo have promised current owners an Ambassador programme allowing their 3DS to download a collection of 20 games for the eShop’s Virtual Console for free. Included in this gift are 10 NES games including Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong Jr, The Legend of Zelda and 10 GBA games including Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit and Metroid Fusion that aren’t available to non-ambassadors. The first batch of these games will descend from Nintendo’s cloud to your 3DS merely a month a way in September.

When I first read the headline that the 3DS was having a price cut I thought damn, should have waited, but with the 20 free games and knowing that I got a good price for a console/game/case bundle I’m not so bothered any longer

My main concern isn’t the 3DS price cut, it’s that Nintendo are able to create virtual versions of games from consoles other than the Gameboy/Gameboy colour and they haven’t been selling them. Idealy with the eShop launch we could have had games for multiple platforms arriving each week. The first NES Mario and Zelda, past versions of Mario Kart…why wasn’t an effort put into releasing these already? Surely with the hype over Zelda 3DS people would have bought another virtual version or two of Zelda on their shiny new Nintendo handheld, I know I would.

It’s ultimately this sort of short-sightedness that makes me wonder if Nintendo will survive the console wars of the future, Sega learnt the hard way and now Sonic whores himself out to any platform willing to pay the license fee. Is this the fate of Nintendo’s IP’s? Perhaps not yet but if the Wii-U fails to impress the average or hardcore gamer we might be helping Mario rescue princesses via a keyboard. Nintendo should remember 5 simple words when it comes to launches; It’s dangerous to go alone.

You can learn more about the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador programme here.

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