When Nintendo launched its DS in 2004, the company faced stiff competition from Sony and its technologically superior PSP. That said, the extra processing power couldn’t prevent the DS from dominating sales charts with a variety of innovative games that made excellent use of the handheld’s strengths.
Fast-forward to 2011, and Nintendo must once again defeat Sony, this time with 3DS.
Before tackling the Next Generation Portable (NGP), though, Mario and Co. should first address Apple.
Whether Nintendo likes it or not, the hipsters from Cupertino have quickly emerged as key players in the handheld market, thanks to all in one devices like the iPhone and iPad, as well as the immensely popular App Store, where users can download high quality games on the cheap.
To prevent Apple from dominating the space, Nintendo should make a handful of changes to beat the company at its own game, starting with…
Recruit App Store publishers and developers
A 3D Angry Birds? Yes please.
Mario’s huge, but so is Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and countless iOS titles. Having publishers like Electronic Arts, Sega and Namco Bandai on board is key to success, but Nintendo should reach out to the App Store’s heavy hitters, doing whatever it takes to put those games on 3DS through the upcoming eShop.
Increase the number of games released per week
This week on DS, we had Slingo, and…uhh…Slingo.
Despite years of experience, Nintendo does a poor job filling its online stores with games on a weekly basis. At best, the Wii and DS will have three to four titles to choose from, and that’s a generous estimate. That doesn’t give players much of a choice, especially when the games are terrible.
Conversely, at least five games hit the App Store, and you can always count on a few gems. Nintendo has preached quality over quantity and failed to live up to that lofty goal. It’s time to give consumers a bigger variety of games to choose from.
Price these games accordingly
Sorry, Shantae. You’re too expensive.
Downloadable games, at least on the App Store, hover in the $0.99 to $2.99 range. Nintendo and third parties, meanwhile, continue to overcharge with the expectation that fans will fork over the cash. Bottom line, companies should bite the proverbial bullet and deliver high quality games at bargain prices. A simple looking DS platformer like Shantae: Risky’s Revenge should not cost $12.00.
Release free games
Hey Nintendo, we just purchased your $250 system. How about one free downloadable game?
Nintendo’s amassed a war chest of cash from consumers, and it’s time for the publisher give back in the form of some free games. The odds of this happening are probably slim to none, but it would boost the 3DS’ appeal. We’re not talking about the next Super Mario Bros. Simplistic yet entertaining games, like Birds & Beans, would be more ideal.
Create a Game centre inspired online hub
Check this out, Nintendo. It’s cool.
Nintendo’s decision to streamline the Friend Code process was a step in the right direction, but not enough. The company should expand on this with individual gamer profiles that list achievements won for each game as well as online leaderboards. You know, like Game centre (or the service it mimics, Xbox Live). It’s time to connect Nintendo fans instead of forcing them to do all the work.