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Nintendo's 3DS being destroyed by mobile gaming... except not at all
News reported by 
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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Xbob42 said:
Well what the hell do you expect when your thread starts with "HAHA MOBILE GAMING TAKE THAT"?
*Looks at thread's OP*

You're out of your mind.

The discourse for months has been "The mobile market is eating Nintendo's lunch, 3DS doomed".

Data shows the DS was an anomaly, 3DS is back to traditional Nintendo handheld levels.

Thread title says "Mobile gaming has NOT been crushing the 3DS".

And you interpret that as "take that, mobile gaming"?

And I'm the one accused of fighting windmills!?

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 07:07:40  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/12, 07:07:55
Guillaume said:
The discourse for months has been "The mobile market is eating Nintendo's lunch, 3DS doomed".

Thread title says "Mobile gaming has NOT been crushing the 3DS".

There's a HUGE fucking difference between "mobile market eating Nintendo's lunch" and "mobile market crushing Nintendo."

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 07:15:33
@Xbob42 Yeah but my point is that it has already been tried, to minimal success. Angry Birds is on 3DS. Cut the Rope, Plants Vs. Zombies, Peggle, erm... tons of Gameloft games, all exist on DS. None of these have translated into even an iota of the same success that they have on iOS. I just don't see that it is worth Nintendo's time, money, and effort to court these developers any further. Being big and popular on iOS doesn't appear to mean jack on a Nintendo platform.

@deathly_hallows Well I am arguing that the 3DS (and definitely the DS) are much better gaming platforms than iOS. But that's not really the point, the point is whether it makes sense for Nintendo to go out of their way to court the big iOS developers, and I'm not sure that it does. I agree that they should push eShop harder, but I don't think that any iOS -> Nintendo handheld transitions have been successful at all or are worth pursuing in any serious manner. Nintendo is better off pushing eShop A. through their own developers with stuff like Pushmo / Fluidity / etc. and B. through established developers that handheld gamers care about like Capcom, Konami, Squarenix, etc. and C. through smaller, high quality established developers like WayForward, 2D Boy, Gaijin Games, etc.

@Guillaume Yeah I'm with Guillaume here, my original intention was not a TAKE THAT MOBILE GAMING post, it was a LOOK, 3DS IS DOING FINE post.

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 07:18:57  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/12, 07:26:01
Is there a huge difference between the "3DS doomed" that you left out and "mobile market crushing Nintendo", though? I don't even know what the point you are trying to make is with this, anyway. Let's not debate semantics. We know what the discourse has been. Saying "hey, 3DS is selling at regular Nintendo handheld levels" is not an attack on your precious mobile gaming, it was a counterpoint to the idea that Nintendo is in deep doo-doo. It did not justify bringing up arguments like "people around me own mobile devices vs handhelds 6 to 1" and "mobile is a huuuge market" because a) we all know this already and b) it is specifically the same annoying discourse that this data says is mostly irrelevant.

DS was huge. People who didn't buy handhelds usually around me bought it, for Brain Training or for the novelty. The same people have moved on to iPad, they love gadgets. The data in the OP is in line with my observations. The mobile market is huge compared to the handheld market, true, but who gives a shit, the handheld market hasn't shrunk below pre-DS levels. The people who bought the DS for the fad, for the novelty, has moved on. It's a loss for Nintendo, but it's not a tragedy. It is not a doomsday scenario.

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 07:21:06  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/12, 07:24:27
I thought we were supposed to discuss the content of the article Zero linked too, is it mandatory we agree with it? I don't think either camp is right, the people who are saying that handhelds are dead because of smartphones are wrong, but also the people who are saying that the massive popularity of gaming on iOS and Android is having absolutely no effect are equally wrong.

The DS wasn't an "anomaly", it was growth. When companies grow it's good. Sales and profits decreasing back to what they were 8 years ago is certainly anything to celebrate, and Nintendo themselves have flat out admitted they projected that they would sell more units in NA. Personally I don't think it has to be this way, I think Nintendo can stay relevant if they evolve, especially in the eShop space, and even if I'm wrong and they should stick to selling $40 games in carts it's not like I'm some kind of traitor or crazy man for suggesting things like Nintendo should court Western developers who make good portable games and get them on eShop!

Well we can agree to disagree, sticking to their small number of 1st Party developers (who also need to support Wii U) and relying only on the same old stable of mostly Japanese 3rd Parties like Capcom, Konami, etc. (have those guys even made eShop titles? Capcom has that shooter in Japan right?) isn't enough for the 3DS to grow. Basically what you are saying is "stay the course" and I think if they do that they're not going to sell many 3DSes outside of their dedicated fanbase, and even though that's millions of gamers I think that market will eventually be saturated and sales will stagnate or even decline.

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 07:23:29  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/12, 07:30:56
@deathly_hallows I don't think anyone has ever said that cell phone gaming is having absolutely no effect on anything? Really though a lot of what I've been reading suggests that ever since the price drop / Mario Kart 7 / 3D Land combination, the 3DS has been doing pretty well... and it is absolutely killing it in Japan. I'm not following the numbers exactly, but it doesn't appear to have taken much of a significant hit next to the DS even, now that it is at a decent price and has some games worth buying.

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 07:29:30
Well I think everyone can agree the 3DS is doing fine even if I personally think it could/should be doing better in NA, it's plugging along and it definitely has a lot of good software coming up, here's my shortlist that I keep in a sticky on my desktop!:

Paper Mario: Sticker Star - Nov. 11th
Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed - Nov. 18th
Epic Mickey Power of Illusion - Nov. 18th
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate - 2013
Fire Emblem Awakening - 2013
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate - 2013
Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon - 2013

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 07:36:38  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/12, 07:38:34

Stuff like Fluidity or Crashmo isn't on your list? Aren't they kind of what you're asking for: cheaper, simpler but long-lasting games? What makes them undesirable?

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 07:40:56
Well I didn't put eShop titles in my sticky because I guess I don't need to set aside money for them, they're just impulse buys I lump in with my daily expenses like lunch or beer, haha. Besides I check the store every Thursday religiously so I know I won't miss them, for games I actually need to go out and buy I like to have the dates on hand to remind myself. I will definitely be downloading Crashmo, Fluidity I'm not sure about, I didn't love the WiiWare game like others did, I'm not big on the tilt mechanic in games (outside of WarioWare Twisted which is a seminal masterpiece).

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 07:57:34  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/12, 07:58:24
Fair enough. And if you dislike tilting, you're probaly going to hate the 360 degree levels, haha. Unless you love them more, since you'll look as silly as when playing Wario Ware...

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 08:13:20
I never liked mobile/DS/3DS games with tilt. For a while I thought it was because the tilting physics weren't accurate in a lot of games. Then I tried one of those little tilt games I had a long time ago as a kid:

and I realized I hate all forms of tilt because I am terrible at it.

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 08:20:02
Like all things the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Nintendo definitely had a much bigger piece of the pie before mobile gaming but how much bigger is today's pie? Or rather how much of the mobile gaming business is business Nintendo lost? Well I have run the numbers and the answer is... some. Treating the DS like anomaly and saying that the 3DS rivals GBA sales so all is good is missing the point to a degree. When you have a market the idea is to expand it obviously and if you aren't doing that you are by definition losing ground. Either that or your market is shrinking which I don't really think is an apt argument in this case because there is nothing to eat in to it besides mobile gaming. That being said though clearly the 3DS is doing just fine as a portable device so the doom and gloom is very much sensationalist.

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 12:01:30  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/12, 12:02:01
in Japan it doesn't look like Nintendo has lost ground. In North America, 40% of Nintendo's handheld sales are DS sales, which analysts often forget to look at. Add DS numbers to the mix and Nintendo's sales are healthy, even if its not the split they want. Their problem turns out to be "how do we stop the DS from eating the 3DS's lunch".

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 15:42:01

Have people on this board actually said that Nintendo is d00med? My impression is the views here are much more nuanced. I don't think there is much point in bringing "the discourse" into this. It turns this thread into an argument with people who are't even here.

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 15:54:15


Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 17:25:52

But, that's the reality of the culture we exist in. Nothing wrong with be aware of it.

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 17:52:01
I still think that when you bring out of the blue that everyone you know owns a smartphone and no one owns a 3DS, you're trying to paint a certain picture. But as far as I can tell, it was never the case that everyone owned DSes. The people around me who own smartphones now, never owned DSes then. Not all of Nintendo's troubles have to be Apple's doing.

I'm fairly sure Nintendo was aware a good number of DS owners wouldn't upgrade to 3DS. The 3DS being below their projections isn't necessarily because they were blindsided by the iPhone. It's also in major part because they thought glasses-free 3D would blow people's mind, and it didn't.

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 17:53:52  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/12, 17:54:51
I think as long as Nintendo makes makes software, the devices they put the software on be it consoles or handhelds or whatever are going to be able to support themselves. They provide a lot of beloved franchises that can't be found anywhere else, people will buy them and will buy the hardware to have access.

I also think it's pretty obvious that the casual demographic that supported the DS has moved on to smartphones and tablets and such.

Jargon said:

Have people on this board actually said that Nintendo is d00med? My impression is the views here are much more nuanced. I don't think there is much point in bringing "the discourse" into this. It turns this thread into an argument with people who are't even here.


Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 18:11:21
Oldmanwinter said:
I also think it's pretty obvious that the casual demographic that supported the DS has moved on to smartphones and tablets and such.
I don't see how it's obvious, but I also don't know what definition of "casual audience" you're using so I really have no idea who you're saying transitioned from DS specifically, to tablets.

I'm having an argument with people who are actually, here, believe it or not. It's people here who are saying "this is what Apple has done to Nintendo. Look. It's so obvious.".

If you want to know what I think, if you want to know what I meant when I said the DS was an anomaly: if tablets and smartphones didn't exist at all, I believe we'd have seen a very similar drop from DS to 3DS. The crowd that bought Brain Age and that bought DS because it was a neat gadget they wanted: they weren't coming back for another helping, anyway. Those people may still be using Brain Training-like apps on their phones, but they weren't gonna buy a 3DS for more of that. And they didn't buy their smartphone for Brain Training, either. They had their phone, which happened to offer apps like it.

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 18:29:27  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/12, 18:34:12
This isn't a court of law though, and although anecdotal evidence doesn't in itself "prove" anything, it's not totally worthless. For example my observation that more people are gaming on smartphones and tablets than the 3DS or Vita on the NYC subways, that's of course not conclusive evidence of anything, but at one point a few years ago I used to see to tons of DSes and PSPs, so to me it seems to jibe with the common notion that handhelds are losing popularity and mobile is gaining popularity. It's just like when Wii was super popular and literally everyone at work was talking about it, talking about video games as much as they do TV or movies for the first time ever in my experience, that wasn't proof of anything in itself, but it jibed with what was happening in the media and the NPDs, Wii was a sensation and it was obvious on many levels!

To me, it's pretty "obvious" Apple is indeed having an effect in the gaming industry, especially when you consider there are probably more people playing portable video games than ever before yet Nintendo's slice of the pie is shrinking to levels from a previous era. Does that mean doom and gloom for Nintendo? No! Does it mean stiff competition and tough times ahead? I think so (this is why I keep saying they should strengthen their position by reaching out to Western devs big and small alike, but what do I know? I've never ran a multi-billion dollar corporation ).

Posted by 
 on: 11/03/12, 19:03:04  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/12, 19:05:37
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