A Nintendo community
for the fans, by the fans!
Browse    1  2  
Does History really dictate whether the 3DS is doomed or not? [roundtable]
 
I read an interesting article by IGN that I thought would make for a good roundtable. While I hate IGN's bashing of anything Nintendo, I can also see the logic behind the argument. However, is history enough to determine a products future, or are new factors such as the Ambassador Program, the 3DS Virtual Console, and Sony's PS Vita being $80 more enough to evade history. How will Sony respond to all this? How does Apple factor into all of this? is Microsoft smart for staying away from the portable business? Discuss.

Jack Devries said:

History Says the 3DS Dead.

With the announcement of the Nintendo 3DS getting a price drop, Nintendo hopes to turn around the lackluster sales of the handheld and get back on track. There's just one problem: That has never worked for Nintendo.

The fact is that Nintendo has never turned around the failure of a console or handheld by doing a price drop. What's more, every system they've had that had a price drop within six months turned out to be a commercial disappointment.

Now, it's easy to point to the Virtual Boy every time Nintendo sales falter, but it really is the classic example, and there are some unfortunate parallels between that system and the 3DS. Not to say that the 3DS is the colossal failure that the Virtual Boy ended up being, but there are some other similarities with the 3DS, and Nintendo's other consoles.

Just look at the other evidence. Back in the mid-90s, Nintendo was on top of the video game heap. They had effectively won the console wars with the Super Nintendo. However the launch of the Nintendo 64 was marred by lackluster sales. Whether it was due to more expensive games, or the competition's head start, the N64 did not perform as well as predicted, and Nintendo lost the lead. They tried multiple price drops, but it didn't save the system (which had some of the best games of the time).


The next generation didn't fare any better with the GameCube. Coming into the race in third place, Nintendo was never able to catch up, and lost more ground to the Xbox and the PlayStation 2.

Both of these systems got significant price drops within six months of their release. And both of these systems continued to underperform for their entire lifespan, despite great games, and additional price cuts.

By comparison, Nintendo's popular systems, the ones that succeeded, don't get price drops for years. It took the NES six years to get a discount. And the Wii went almost three before it got a cut. The Nintendo DS only got a price drop after Nintendo released the DS Lite over a year and a half later.

Is it a sure thing that the 3DS is going to continue to underperform? No, not necessarily. All of these situations are different, and the effort Nintendo is putting into incentivizing the system is unprecedented. But it's something to be wary of. History has shown that when consumers decide they don't want a system right out of the gate, it's really hard to ever change their mind.

Source: IGN

URL to share this content (right click and copy link)
Posted: 08/01/11, 23:23:07  - Edited by 
 on: 08/02/11, 03:32:47
[ Share ]
 
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
 
IGN said:
By comparison, Nintendo's popular systems, the ones that succeeded, don't get price drops for years. It took the NES six years to get a discount. And the Wii went almost three before it got a cut. The Nintendo DS only got a price drop after Nintendo released the DS Lite over a year and a half later.

Wow.
Posted: 08/01/11, 23:31:08  - Edited by 
 on: 08/01/11, 23:31:31
The N64 was a failure? News to me.

And the GC sold almost as much as the Xbox did worldwide. 21.74 Million as apposed to 24 million (according to Wiki).

Not to mention the fact that the GC was sold at a profit unlike the Xbox. Seriously IGN needs to revise it's definition of failure- The inability to outsell hotcakes and wipe the floor with the competition does not automatically make you a failure. Get some perspective IGN.

3DS will be fine. And watch what happens once Pokemon comes out.
Posted: 08/01/11, 23:33:44
It's as simple as this: Nintendo was greedy with the 250 dollar price tag. $170 is more in line with what consumers are willing to pay, and the big guns (Mario and Mario Kart) are coming out this year. 3DS will be the hot item this holiday season.
Posted: 08/01/11, 23:34:40
anon_mastermind said:
It's as simple as this: Nintendo was greedy with the 250 dollar price tag. $170 is more in line with what consumers are willing to pay, and the big guns (Mario and Mario Kart) are coming out this year. 3DS will be the hot item this holiday season.

Yep. If the DS can sell astronomical numbers for years on end, the 3DS can easily take off this holiday season. Consumers don't care that the 3DS' launch was lackluster.
Posted: 08/01/11, 23:41:47
None of those systems had a similar (now) price point, nor were they easily confused with the single greatest selling system of all time. The 3DS will not be repeating the mistakes of the past simply by its passing resemblance to the DS (and, oh yeah, the BC doesn't hurt, either).
Posted: 08/01/11, 23:41:57  - Edited by 
 on: 08/01/11, 23:45:34
Sounds like it was written by a Sony exec, to me. I mean, just look at his headline: "History Says the 3DS is Doomed". It's almost laughable.

The fact that he jumps straight in with the Virtual Boy makes the whole argument a little fishy. Even he seems to realize that, but he takes the plunge anyway. He claims there are parallels and then doesn't elucidate them. How exactly is the 3DS like the Virtual Boy? What, the 3D means they're the exact same thing? Come on, Jack. That's weak.

Plus, I'd argue that the price cut on the DS and the introduction of a whole new model within just a year and half was far more alarming and desperate, and yet that worked out gangbusters for the Big N over the long haul. So you can't argue that Nintendo has never recovered from a slow start with a console. Not to mention that the 64 and and 'Cube were both cut in price when they already had significant competition on the market beating the crap out of them. Not so this time (or if you're talking smartphones, it's a sort of asymmetrical competition that doesn't translate well to these metaphors.)

My feeling is that, while the price cut is a bad sign for the viability of the 3DS, it's completely wrong-headed to say the 3DS is automatically doomed because history says so. Pointing these parallels out is helpful in determining what Nintendo's challenges are, but it's hardly predictive. In other words, you can say, "This isn't a good sign for the 3DS," but not "The 3DS is doomed."
Posted: 08/01/11, 23:42:05
anon_mastermind said:
It's as simple as this: Nintendo was greedy with the 250 dollar price tag. $170 is more in line with what consumers are willing to pay, and the big guns (Mario and Mario Kart) are coming out this year. 3DS will be the hot item this holiday season.

This.

Shadowlink said:
And watch what happens once Pokemon comes out.

I think this is going to be the catalyst. This is something that was never factored into all those other systems, a main adventure Pokemon game. In fact, there are many people out there who buy more than one system so they can trade with themselves (raises arm timidly). There are also a lot of people who buy both games. And when kids see that they have to buy a new system in order to continue playing ther Pokemon games, the 3DS will gain the momentum it needs.

kriswright said:
Sounds like it was written by a Sony exec, to me. I mean, just look at his headline: "History Says the 3DS is Doomed". It's almost laughable.

The fact that he jumps straight in with the Virtual Boy makes the whole argument a little fishy. Even he seems to realize that, but he takes the plunge anyway. He claims there are parallels and then doesn't elucidate them. How exactly is the 3DS like the Virtual Boy? What, the 3D means they're the exact same thing? Come on, Jack. That's weak.

Plus, I'd argue that the price cut on the DS and the introduction of a whole new model within just a year and half was far more alarming and desperate, and yet that worked out gangbusters for the Big N over the long haul. So you can't argue that Nintendo has never recovered from a slow start with a console. Not to mention that the 64 and and 'Cube were both cut in price when they already had significant competition on the market beating the crap out of them. Not so this time (or if you're talking smartphones, it's a sort of asymmetrical competition that doesn't translate well to these metaphors.)

My feeling is that, while the price cut is a bad sign for the viability of the 3DS, it's completely wrong-headed to say the 3DS is automatically doomed because history says so. Pointing these parallels out is helpful in determining what Nintendo's challenges are, but it's hardly predictive. In other words, you can say, "This isn't a good sign for the 3DS," but not "The 3DS is doomed."

Agreed. The funny thing is that it was written by a Pokemon fanboy. I'm sure he will change his tune as soon as Pokemon 3D is announced.
Posted: 08/01/11, 23:59:16
It only took Jack DeVries a couple sentences to fall on his face:

"The fact is that Nintendo has never turned around the failure of a console or handheld by doing a price drop."

Uhh....when has Nintendo ever had a failed handheld system, or a console for that matter, other than the Virtual Boy? You could point to the GameCube as being a "failure", but even despite its lackluster sales, it still made a bunch of money for Nintendo and sold a lot of software.

Fail.
Posted: 08/02/11, 00:02:28
kriswright said:
"History Says the 3DS is Doomed".

Sensationalism at its finest!
Posted: 08/02/11, 00:11:13
I really don't understand why people get so up in arms when the N64 and Cube are referred to as failed systems. Granted Nintendo had nowhere to go but down at that time, but the N64 got the shit kicked out of it at retail by a new challenger and the Cube struggled to keep pace with ANOTHER new kid on the block. There's a difference between not maintaining unmaintainable dominance and experiencing the fall that Nintendo's home consoles did post SNES pre Wii. With the 64 especially, it's easy to look back on the library and ask, "how could anyone think this system was a failure?" forgetting the constant game delays, $65+ game cartridges and the incredibly long gaps between compelling software releases.

And honestly, despite the obviously hit baiting article title, the content of the bit is really pretty tame. The Virtual Boy comment is qualified and the conclusion is that the 3DS is NOT doomed even though a price drop so soon is an obvious red flag. How could anyone disagree with that assessment? Finished software has been shelved or delayed, the system obviously launched at a silly price price to begin with, which was soon made more ridiculous with the Vita announcement and there are still less than a handful of compelling games for the system in stores. Of the three best selling games on the system, Nintendogs and Cats is the closest thing to an original title.

The 3DS will probably be fine but it's not off to an auspicious start. This is something that plenty of people have said, here and elsewhere. It's an incredibly benign article behind some hit farming... in other words, a fairly standard IGN piece.

DrFinkelstein said:
kriswright said:
"History Says the 3DS is Doomed".

Sensationalism at its finest!

Except that's not the conclusion of the article. Sensationalism indeed.
Posted: 08/02/11, 00:19:25  - Edited by 
 on: 08/02/11, 00:21:26
@Kal-El814
If it's not the conclusion of the article, then why is it the headline?
Posted: 08/02/11, 00:23:32
@Kal-El814
It all depends on your definition of what a failed console is. If the GameCube was a failed console, then so was the Xbox as it only barely outsold it. To most people, a failed console is the Dreamcast or the Saturn, not the GameCube which was a system that has a very strong library and put out some really great games, some pretty groundbreaking.
Posted: 08/02/11, 00:27:44
@kriswright

It's obvious hit baiting. And it works, clearly.

Again, the conclusion is INCREDIBLY tame:

Is it a sure thing that the 3DS is going to continue to underperform? No, not necessarily. All of these situations are different, and the effort Nintendo is putting into incentivizing the system is unprecedented. But it's something to be wary of. History has shown that when consumers decide they don't want a system right out of the gate, it's really hard to ever change their mind. (emphasis mine)

There is absolutely nothing sensational or shocking about that conclusion. We all know this. How soon after the Wii's ridiculous launch window did we know it would have taken an act of god for either of the HD twins to catch up? And they never did. How well did the PSP's price drops do in terms of catching that system up with the DS? Not well. Price drops rarely correlate to reversal of fortune.
Posted: 08/02/11, 00:31:22
@Kal-El814

That's not true though. Look at the slow start the PS3 had. It's doing ok now.

Again, there's this perception that a console has to utterly dominate a market and annihilate it's competition to be seen as a "success". Such a view is silly IMO.
Posted: 08/02/11, 00:46:44  - Edited by 
 on: 08/02/11, 00:49:18
@Shadowlink

The PS3's fortunes have not been reversed. It's doing better than it was, but it's essentially played catch up this entire generation and it still is.

And I don't think anyone is claiming that being utterly dominant is the only way to be successful. Again, other than the shit eating title the main angle of that article is that the 3DS isn't off to an auspicious start, which seems pretty objectively true to me.
Posted: 08/02/11, 01:42:57
@Kal-El814

The only thing I was calling sensationalist was the title.
Posted: 08/02/11, 01:45:05
@DrFinkelstein

Well shit. I assumed that the thread title the OP used was the one the article used. I have more ire for the thread title now, and for myself for making an assumption. Sigh.
Posted: 08/02/11, 01:46:57
@Kal-El814

Yeah but look at the final sentence:

"History has shown that when consumers decide they don't want a system right out of the gate, it's really hard to ever change their mind"

That seems to imply that you have to have a great start or it's just going to get progressively worse. The PS3's performance knocks that on the head. Sure it'll never get 1st place in the market, but that doesn't mean that the alternative should be considered "bad".
Posted: 08/02/11, 01:57:39
I mean, the DS was awful for a while, and then Meteos and Kirby came out, and then it was basically awful until Mario Kart came out. Why can't THAT be the history that dictates the 3DS' future?

For as long as kids need toys and Pokemon games, Nintendo will be fine.
Posted: 08/02/11, 02:00:43
@Kal-El814

I'm a little confused, now. The IGN article is titled "History Says the 3DS is Doomed". It seems like you, Fink and me all agree that that is a sensationalistic title. So where's the confusion? Do you think we didn't notice that the conclusion in the final sentence hedged the statement made in the headline? Of course we noticed that. I think anyone with 7th Grade level reading comprehension noticed that. But the final paragraph doesn't unwrite the headline. If there's confusion over what the article "really means" it's entirely IGN's fault.

And I think we all know which of those two conclusions is going to get more eyeballs passed over it.
Posted: 08/02/11, 02:12:39
Browse    1  2