It’s the day after the 3DS launch, and we can’t help but ask a troubling question. Why isn’t this thing sold out?
Normally, new video game hardware is met with a rush of fans and impulse buyers eager to get their hands on the latest gadget, yet when we called several retailers this morning, the 3DS was available in healthy quantities.
Yesterday, we questioned the decision to price the system at $249.99, a whopping $100 more than the DSi [read the article]. While that probably had some effect on buyer behaviour, two other concerns could’ve doomed the 3DS launch.
First, Nintendo should never underestimate the power of Mario, the publisher’s franchise mascot. With over 200 million games sold, this proves that audiences still enjoy exploring the Mushroom Kingdom and saving Princess Peach. The fact that he and other popular Nintendo characters were unavailable could prove costly.
Second, we have to question Nintendo’s thinking in regards to releasing Pokemon Black and White, the next iteration of the popular battle monster series, for its DS on March 6, less than a month before the 3DS launch. If anything, the company should have delayed the game and then ported it to 3DS, which would have given the handheld a highly anticipated title, instead of the relatively unknown Steel Diver, which currently has a 58 per cent review average on Metacritic.
That said, 3DS owners can play Pokemon Black and White on the new handheld, thanks to backwards compatibility with all DS games. On the downside, the game looks noticeably worse on 3DS, and lacks 3-D capability, the system’s biggest selling point. Of course, it remains to be seen whether millions of consumers want glasses free 3-D at such a high sticker price.
Nintendo will announce official sales figures in the coming weeks, if not days, and we expect a huge Mario announcement at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), but it’ll face stiff competition from Sony’s Next Generation Portable (NGP) as well as a variety of iOS games for both iPhone and iPad.
For now, on a relatively normal day in March, we have to wonder if Nintendo’s biggest competition is/was in fact, itself.