Below is a picture of the Nintendo 3DS, a solid and well made handheld console with the special ability to show 3D without glasses.
And here we have this rather nice design ruined with the introduction of Nintendo’s new slide pad…
This was announced earlier this week as Nintendo hope to salvage their struggling handheld. The idea here is that most gamers are used to the two analogue control sticks sported on the Xbox and Playstation controllers. By adding this new thumbstick, it’ll add literally endless new opportunities… only it wont.
Nintendo’s new monstrosity will surely help enhance certain games, but it’s hardly a necessity. Heck, we managed the last five years of handheld gaming on the DS without it and even longer before then with the Gameboy.
Then there’s the fact that the thumbpad is extremely cumbersome in it’s cradle like design, killing the symmetrical look and feel of the 3DS (and no doubt being harder to play, why exactly is it parallel with the main face buttons). The thumbpad will also need external power through an AAA battery, yeah not even the more common AA ones! And Nintendo will expect you to pay around £20.00 for the ‘privilege’ of using this new device…
The upcoming Playstation Vita has dual analogue controls and was no doubt the driving force behind this bizarre addition. But when did Nintendo stop being the innovators and turn into the followers. If they thought the console needed a second analogue control, this surely should have been added as part of the original design rather than a knee-jerk decision to upcoming events.
And knee-jerk is exactly what this was. The media have been suggesting the 3DS has failed, despite sales being only a little behind the original DS at this point. The actual launch of the 3DS was actually far bigger than the DS six years prior.
But with news of Nintendo’s first ever loss, they were leapt on by the media, suggesting that the console was dead in the water. Since that time, Nintendo have slashed the 3DS price to the much more reasonable price of around £130.00 (I picked one up for £115.00) and sales seem to have significantly picked up. Yet still people suggested the hardware was flawed and this appears to have led to the ugly and pointless add-on which I do not want to buy for my handheld.
It is of course an almost certainty that Nintendo are currently prepping a 3DSi (or whatever they want to call the next revision) which will have this new thumbpad included without the bulky add on. And perhaps that will do well, but I have a 3DS and I was happy with it. I don’t want this new thumbpad (which despite Nintendo saying is optional, will probably become a required element of some games) and I don’t see how it will boost sales.
So how, you might ask, do sales increase and why exactly is the 3DS (marginally) underperforming. You can band about all sorts of theories about the control layout, mobile phones eating into the handheld market, 3D not being as good as it’s hyped to be – but the truth is as it has always been with games consoles, it needs more good games. I love the hardware, but there has been a severe lack of games since launch – sort that out and this system will fly off the shelves.
And it deserves to, it’s the best Nintendo hardware to date (and by a long way), it has no need of a dodgy add on thumbstick, it needs some damn good games and maybe, just maybe, a certain plumber may be sorting that before the year is out…