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Nintendo's 3DS being destroyed by mobile gaming... except not at all
News reported by 
Editor-in-chief
November 01, 2012, 20:33:01
 
At least, Matt Matthews at Gamasutra doesn't seem to think so. And he has lots of fancy charts and graphs using real live "numbers" to back up his view. His interpretation of the data is that Nintendo is basically still doing business as usual the same as the GBA / DS eras, without any hit, although his interpretation also requires considering the DS an anomaly of sorts.

What do you think?

Source: Gamasutra

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Posted: 11/01/12, 20:33:01    
 
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@Zero

Chill, I said I "seem to recall" for a reason. All these conversations blend together. I was actually thinking of this thread. Now I remember the one where you were being ambiguous about Brain Age sales as something different.

Anyway, I feel good about my prediction made well before the 3DS came out.


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/12, 14:34:28  - Edited by 
 on: 11/02/12, 14:34:50
I still think Nintendo should produce more 2 dollar games and pimp them on the eShop with spotpass notifications.

Edit: when the hell is Brain Age coming out anyways? Maybe it was pushed to 2013.


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/12, 16:01:10  - Edited by 
 on: 11/02/12, 16:01:59
@Jargon Yeah but I think my prediction came true as well... Nintendo continues to not make phone games, and continues to have an insanely profitable handheld business. And I see this happening well into the future.

@anon_mastermind December 3rd? I doubt it will sell at DS Brain Age / Training levels, but I think it will do pretty well for Nintendo. They need to stop trying to price these games at full price though, didn't the original Brain Age release at $20?


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/12, 16:17:24  - Edited by 
 on: 11/02/12, 16:19:09
If it's not $20 I'm going to throw a fit.


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/12, 16:36:11
@Zero

$30 is the new "not full price" for 3DS, it seems.


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/12, 16:37:35
I'm ok with that. I just vaguely recall Nintendo releasing the Wii Brain game at $50 here? Am I correct? They basically sent it to die at that price. I mean, it still sold "ok" but it missed the whole market they were shooting for.


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/12, 16:42:17
I'm OK with less meaty games debuting at $30 on 3DS. Why?

A) The quality is still higher than the average smartphone game.

B) After a few months, the market will decide if the price should come down.*

C) If smaller games started getting more appropriate immediate prices, then bigger games (the ones folks like us are more oft to buy) like RERev would debut at $50 or more like Capcom wanted.

*This is also the problem with "pre-order to get ______ on day one DLC!" It recognizes the fact that some consumers would rather wait until the market determines a price they agree with, and neutralizes that consumer choice buy withholding content. Not cool.


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/12, 18:17:11
I straddle the fence on this issue, I certainly do not believe that the rise of smartphone gaming means the death of dedicated handheld gaming machines (or consoles for that matter), but I do believe that it's having an effect. The 3DS is selling below Nintendo's own hardware projections and most people who observe the gaming market will agree that it doesn't seem as ubiquitous and popular as the DS did in it's heyday. Riding the subways in NYC I see way more people (and kids) playing games on iOS or Android devices than I do on Nintendo or Sony handhelds (I've only see one PS Vita in the wild), also listening to mainstream gaming podcasts or reading mainstream gaming sites (Kotaku, ShackNews, IGN, Joystiq, etc.) there seems to be more and more coverage of iOS/Android gaming and less and less of 3DS or Vita coverage with each passing month. When big games like NSMB2 are released the coverage spikes but then after a few days it's back to the iOS game of the week (or the day). Mobile gaming seems to be smack dab in the middle of the zeitgeist and the 3DS somewhere off in the periphery (and the poor Vita even further out of the limelight).

Also, in terms of 3rd party support, I feel like the current situation and industry momentum favors iOS and mobile (especially in the West). Right now huge publishers like EA are practically nowhere to be seen on the 3DS yet support iOS strongly, and smaller developers like Light Box (formerly Incognito) and Nihilistic who used to develop console games are restructuring into smaller studios that will make iOS titles. I've yet to hear of any new Western studios being formed expressly for the purpose of capitalizing on the booming 3DS market. Clearly publishers and developers alike see opportunity, growth, and profitability in the mobile market but they don't seem so bullish on the handheld side of things.

Another problem I see with the dedicated handheld market is pricing and quality of software. For better or for worse consumers are expecting more for less from portable gaming. For many $40 is too much to pay for a 3DS game when they are used to paying $1 - $15 for similar experiences on iOS. Many gamers will contest this point saying that all mobile games are terrible and worthless but that isn't the case. There are many high-quality, fun, deep, experiences to be had on iOS and Android for very little money. Nintendo and Sony are still struggling to find the correct equation of price vs. quality, and charging a standard $40 for retail games regardless of depth or quality is hurting their cause and adding fuel to the perception that handheld games are overpriced. Granted Nintendo has made strides in the eShop in this regard, charging $8 for high-quality titles like Pushmo is a move in the right direction, but they still have a death grip on the $40 price tag for games like Star Fox 64 3D which are simply not worth that much money in today's market, even for hardcore Nintendo fans with lots of nostalgia for Star Fox and certainly not for general consumers who are just looking for a fun space-shooter.

So if the trend for consumers and 3rd party developers is to switch to mobile gaming why aren't handhelds dead? For the 3DS is comes down to one thing: 1st party games. Mario, Pokemon, Zelda, these are juggernaut IPs that are still extremely relevant in todays market, and have an embedded core fanbase that consists of millions of gamers. Those gamers will buy Nintendo hardware and software no matter what, because they want the high-quality gaming experience that only Nintendo can deliver. They're willing to pay $40 for NSMB2, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, or Paper Mario Sticker Star because they know it has the kind of depth and polish that iOS or Android games simply can't offer. For these gamers there can be no substitute, and Nintendo will have a sustainable business for the foreseeable future as long as they keep creating/publishing games of this caliber. Another thing they have going for them is that they're making smart strategic partnerships with Japanese publishers like Capcom and have secured some great exclusive 3rd party content for franchises like Resident Evil and Monster Hunter. These franchises aren't as popular in the West as they are in Japan, but they do appeal to a certain group of gamers. In my opinion Nintendo would do well to make similar deals with Western developers like EA and try to get some exclusive content from popular Western IPs like Dead Space or Mass Effect, or even Dragon Age. Thirdly, they still have a pretty good chunk of the kid's market that will help sustain their business. Licensed games from the likes of the Cartoon Network or Disney still more often that not find a home on Nintendo platforms including the 3DS, although if I was Nintendo I would be wary about over-charging for these titles, $40 might begin to seem too steep for parents who are content to let their kids mess around with their iPhones or iPads, or who would rather pony up $300 for an iPod Touch in order to capitalize on free or $1 kid's games.

Now, the Vita? Well it may indeed be dead, it really depends of if Sony can leverage it's 1st Party content on the machine to the level of quality Sony fans demand (ie not Resistance Burning Skies) and if they can convince 3rd party developers to make games for the machine (so far this isn't really happening). The sad thing is that the Vita is actually really awesome hardware, I hope Sony can figure it out. A price cut wouldn't hurt either, charging more for the Vita than a Nexus 7 tablet, and almost the same as an iPod Touch or iPad Mini, doesn't seem like a good value proposition to gamers or consumers alike, even a $50 price cut would make the Vita seem like a much better value.

One other additional thing I'd suggest to Nintendo in order to strengthen it's position in the portable space is to embrace popular iOS developers and try to get some of the best iOS content onto the 3DS, they've already done this a little bit with casual games like Cut The Rope but why not extend this into the more core games segment. Why not make a deal with Fish Labs to have Galaxy on Fire 2 on the 3DS, or how about a 3DS version of Hero Academy from Robot Entertainment? Instead of seeing these "garage developers" as the enemy why not embrace them as partners? If Nintendo started to do small things like this I think it could really have a positive impact, also revamping their pricing structure so that games are more appropriately priced could go a long way into convincing consumers that the 3DS is a good value proposition. It kind of baffles me that games like Star Fox 64 aren't $20, and that Pilotwings Resort and Steel Diver aren't being sold on the eShop for $10 each. Some games are worth $40, like NSBM2 or Kid Icarus Uprising, but not every game has to carry that price tag. Having a sliding scale for game pricing on the App Store is one of the smartest innovations Apple made with iOS, Nintendo should follow suit.


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/12, 19:53:47  - Edited by 
 on: 11/02/12, 19:54:58
In a way, I really don't give a shit. I mean, if mobile gaming were to take over, and handhelds from Nintendo ceased to exist, then I would just use my money for something else. I will never own a smartphone, end of story. The prices people pay to own one of these things are outlandish. I don't like talking to people anyways, so personally I would love the entire telecommunication industry to become extinct. People make me sick acting like they would die if they didn't have their smartphone. I've done well without one for my entire life and I will die without ever owning one.


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/12, 20:55:28
@gamewizard65 You could also get an iPod touch which is like an iPhone but a million times cheaper and not a phone. ;P


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/12, 20:58:06
@Xbob42

Or an iPad, for that matter. Also not a phone.


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/12, 21:15:59
@GameDadGrant

Or a rock. That's not a phone either.

... we're naming things that aren't phones, right?


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/12, 21:40:18
@NinSage toothbrush!


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/12, 22:24:01
@deathly_hallows

I think you're going about it the wrong way brah.

I wouldn't play the Vita in public, at least not in the Subway or any place it can be easily snatched from me. There will always be a market for handheld games exactly because there are so many dedicated gamers that are willing to spend more money to get more game so to speak. Yes, a lot of parents are giving ipods/tablets to young kids but the 3DS an ipad is not my friend. What Nintendo needs to do is put out more unique games that you can only find in 3DS. Same for PS Vita. The 3DS will ultimately sell better because of price and brand (Mario, Pokemon, etc.) being more popular with the kids but I don't think the Vita is dead. Far from it.

With that said, Sony needs to procure more deals from third parties ala Assassin's Creed III: Liberation. Once the games come in, it'll be fine. But you have to wonder why they couldn't get more dev kits to studios to make games for it sooner. I would like a price drop as much as the next guy but I realize that probably won't happen anytime soon. Sony is already loosing money on every unit sold (although they probably recoup that on overpriced proprietary memory cards) and like you said, the Vita is a cool piece of tech. I think it's worth the money. Or at least it will be once there are more than two worthwhile games for it.

You're right in that Nintendo (and Sony) should try to get the most popular iOS/Android games on their respective consoles. Or better yet, give them contracts for exclusive games.


Posted by 
 on: 11/02/12, 23:56:12  - Edited by 
 on: 11/02/12, 23:58:12
Tranquilo said:
You're right in that Nintendo (and Sony) should try to get the most popular iOS/Android games on their respective consoles. Or better yet, give them contracts for exclusive games.

Give the popular phone developers contracts for exclusive handheld games? But... do handheld gamers really care about those developers? I know PopCap has released some stuff on handhelds, and it didn't really touch their phone sales. I honestly think that a lot of those developers have the advantage of being the biggest dogs in a pond that the real big dogs aren't hanging out in much. When they step up to handhelds they have to step up to a lot of developers who know how to make great games.


Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 00:11:39
@achhibbar

I believe they've turned the corner on profitability on the 3DS. So they are no longer losing money on units sold. Personally, I like that mobile gaming has pretty much cleared out all the riff-raff. }:-]>


Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 02:41:46  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/12, 02:42:25
@Zero

I'm thinking it'll probably increase the amount of time spent on the console. I doubt (at least I hope) people spend upwards to $400 on a tablet only to play Angry Birds on it. Once they have one, however, they spend a lot of time on those apps. Although now that I think about it, it probably won't make that much of a difference anyway. People have smartphones and they will always have smartphones on them even when they don't have a 3DS/Vita or dedicated game console handy. It's an uphill battle.


Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 03:12:35
@Tranquilo Yeah but I'm saying a lot of these games already exist on handhelds and people aren't really buying them, at least not in big numbers. I don't think what is popular on phones automatically translates to popular on handhelds, in fact, it seems that this definitely isn't the case. I'm not sure that a single phone property has become a success on handhelds yet.


Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 03:19:59
@Zero

I suppose that is because they are two different markets. If you buy a 3DS, you probably want something more substantial than Cut the Rope.

Although to adroid/iOS market's credit. They seem to be building a formidable collection. Chrono Trigger, The World Ends With You, etc. Yes, they are old games, but they are there. They probably don't play as well on account of not having buttons, however.


Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 03:26:54  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/12, 03:33:03
I don't even know if it is just that though, since casual games sold on DS and I think they will keep selling on 3DS. I think though handheld gamers are more erm... "discriminating"? I mean really, the "big" stuff on phones is usually mediocre next to the "big" stuff on handhelds.


Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 03:29:41
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