What's your prediction for the Nintendo 3DS?

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Rowdy Rob
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3DS might be a "mild" success, but....

If the asking price is $300 US, then I don't think this thing will take off the way Nintendo will like. Here's my reasonings why:

In this economy, many people are buckling down and reevaluating what life really is, and what things are really worth. If you're going to spend $300 for a handheld THROWAWAY gizmo for your kids, then you're doing pretty well, but the average Joe doesn't have that kind of cash to burn.

Yes, you love your kids, but are you going to give them a $300 dollar gizmo that will inevitably be lost or stolen within a month or so? The cost of these portable gaming devices keeps going up, but there comes a point where consumers, in this economy, will balk at a throwaway device.

If I wanted to buy a device at that price that would only give me a few month's pleasure before it's gone kaput, I'd buy an XBOX 360. (getting in my dig....)

But wait a minute! I'm an adult, and I like to game! Well, when do you, as a "common" adult, get to game in a portable fashion? Unless you commonly travel by long bus or train trips, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of opportunity to game "portably." If you're at home, you're more likely to play a game on a console or computer, and not some game system with a miniature screen.

I think the PSP's "mild" success is what we can expect of the 3DS, unless Nintendo has some seriously killer apps up its sleeve.

I'm not balking at the technology (which is no doubt very cool), but the asking price. I don't see the average conumer paying that much for a frivolous portable device that doesn't make phone calls. Especially a device that their kids will lose.

(For the record, I had TWO Gameboy Advances back in the day. I have no recollection of what happened to one of them, i.e. I lost it, and the other, I gave to a poor kid who apparently lost it within a few weeks).

Chris Kennedy
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Several things

I have a few thoughts on this -

1: Nintendo essentially bridges the gap between hardcore gaming (Playstation, Xbox) and casual gaming (cell phones). I think the fact that they are this bridge will help them.

2: Nintendo also recently entered the "popular brand" with the launch of the Wii in the United States. Everyone had to have one. It was super-gimmicky, and you know what? It worked. It is hard not to compare Nintendo to Apple - and that includes the fanboys. If you release a product under either of those two brands, tons of people will buy that product. I am not trying to equate Nintendo and Apple, but I am definitely throwing them in the same barrel.

3: Nintendo delayed the release of the 3DS until early 2011. There are already games that can run on it. Nintendo stands to have one of the greatest LAUNCH libraries of all time for a videogame system. There is plenty of time for developers to get things perfected and ready to go. Now all of the sudden you have developers that were shooting for Q1 2011 (after the systems Q4 2010 release) aiming to release a launch title. While that might cut the sales of certain games because there is more to choose from, it helps the marketability. If it is gimmicky and there is good "get you" launch software (think Wii Sports....except this time it is some 3DS title we don't know yet), it will market well despite the price.

When I heard $300, I almost didn't want it to succeed. Heck - with the way 3D blu-ray is being marketed (3D titles exclusive to a particular TV set???) you'd think they want it to fail or at least keep it niche for awhile.

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Matt Barton
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There are many good points

There are many good points that have been raised here. It's good to know we have such a range of expert opinions and some real passion! It's one of those things that makes you proud to be part of Armchair Arcade; where else can you get such intelligent and well-informed people engaging in such eloquent debate?

As for my opinion, I must admit that even though I have owned a DS now for years, I was not motivated in the slightest to buy the DSi. However, I am very curious about the 3DS and will be eager to try one out as soon as I can. I will not buy it before seeing it in action, though, since I'm quite skeptical the experience will be as astounding as Nintendo's marketing team alleges. The main question is whether Nintendo will be able to produce any games that will excite folks like me enough to buy the unit. To my mind, that means a Mario, Zelda, or Metroid game that is just as fun and well-designed as the previous games in these franchises--but that simply would not be satisfactory without this special hardware. Nintendo's task is twofold. They must make a product whose gameplay is recognizable and familiar to their fans, yet foreign enough to justify the cost of a 3DS. It's a formidable task, yet Nintendo has never balked at such challenges before. Indeed, they succeeded quite brilliantly with Mario 3D, a feat whose risk and difficulty we forget so easily today. As with Mario 3D, I will know whether Nintendo has succeeded or failed with the 3DS the moment I make Mario jump across a platform.

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Nous
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Price Considerations
Bill Loguidice wrote:

If you REALLY look hard at the feature set, up to $300 is not unreasonable, particularly if you consider you'll be able to watch 3D movies on it, take 3D photos, and of course play 3D games, on top of it being highly backwards compatible with the DS. It will also have improved controls, online integration, multiple cameras, etc., and considering the DSi currently retails for $150, a $100 premium or so for all of those additional features suddenly doesn't seem so outrageous, particularly if you're talking GameCube/Wii-level visual quality (in 3D), albeit at a lower resolution.

Nintendo has a natural window where at even $300 (though more likely $249 in the US), they'll have trouble keeping them on the shelves for the first six months or so, which will give them a window to lower manufacturing costs/profit margins enough to eventually get it down to $199 sooner rather than later, which is probably a fair price any way you look at it.

As for the game cost, certainly boxed games - many of them the typical epics - will likely be in the $40 - $50 range as you say, but you also have to consider the downloadable game options, which likely would max out at half that price, and likely be much less. Again, this is not out of the realm of doable for this level of handheld.

Keep in mind that apart from the autostereoscopic display (with effective res of 400 x 240), the actual content and quality of the visuals shown so far varies wildly - they seem to oscillate between those of an iPod touch 2nd gen (circa 2008) and a PSP. It probably confirms the "leaked spec" is correct. We know the 3DS hardware lacks shader support (common in all iPhones and iPods that came out from 2009 onwards - what makes the Unreal Engine and ID Tech 5 possible on those platforms), 3d detail seems to be no better than what the PSP can push, total RAM and storage are also below average by today's standards and the cpu performance is well below average - with no mention of an extra gameplay-enhancing vector processing unit like the one in PSP or iPhone.

Overall, the spec (as it pertains to the creation of more elaborate, non-casual games) is only going to allow for PSP-levels of quality - certainly not quite so cutting edge right now, and probably even less so in 6 months time when further announcements are made by Nintendo's competitors.

I also wouldn't be surprised if most essential game titles end up selling for $45- $50. That could be the norm rather than the exception. Downloadable games below the $20 price point are also most likely not going to happen in the majority of cases IMHO.

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Nous
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Possibly but not certainly
Bill Loguidice wrote:

So are you saying it won't sell millions even at $300?

Millions, in general? Over what period of time?

I mean .. the obvious answer is "yes it will sell millions at almost any price point".

A better one might be that, given the price point, it would mainly be "core" gamers (as opposed to girlfriends, wives, and generally casual gamers) who would be interested in paying a premium for the next step in AAA handheld games.

Assuming there are no other options in that price range (with far superior specs and even better games), then it would still be tempting enough .. EVEN at $300 ... for many of us.

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Nous
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Agreed
Bill Loguidice wrote:

As I've stated elsewhere, there is no doubt in my mind that the 3DS will be a monster hit, even at a higher-than-usual price point.

It will *probably* be a hit, but it's not as straightforward as we might think. There are many factors that might play out in different, unexpected ways here.

Let's put it this way: even the worst case scenario would be extremely profitable for Nintendo.

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Bill Loguidice
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Because it's a proven sales boost strategy
Tyler Long wrote:

I'm just curious as to why they need to continue to release a new version of the DS so often. I get that it's the technology race and to have the best hardware on the market, but come on, when your Nintendo do you really need to continuously put new hardware out there.

As you imply, it's as simple as because people keep buying the things in droves, even if it's just a color tweak. This is especially true with Japanese consumers, but it's also an effective strategy everywhere else. There is an undeniable sales boost (the numbers bare this out) and seeing an upward trend in market share/growth is the goal of any company and their products. If even minor tweaks get people excited again, even if it's just for a short while, it's certainly worth it.

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Tyler Long
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I'm just curious as to why

I'm just curious as to why they need to continue to release a new version of the DS so often. I get that it's the technology race and to have the best hardware on the market, but come on, when your Nintendo do you really need to continuously put new hardware out there.

Like everyone, I'd rather see one system and a nice release of good games not constant upgrading of the system you play on. I know it's basically a repeat of whats been said, but in my honest opinion game companies should focus on games not hardware. I do understand that the upgrades are made to add extras to the systems like the newest xbox with it's new built in features like kinect, but all it looks like, and most likely is, is a way for the companies to gain extra profit from what they know is working, and what they know people will buy.

Either way I'm simply talking out of my ass since this is going to just continue. Oh well, that's why its simply an opinion I suppose ^^

Bill Loguidice
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Many factors
cdoty wrote:

It'll do well, once the price is reduced.

I think the price in the US will be less than the Japanese launch price. Nintendo is probably assuming that it will be a must have in Japan, and will price it accordingly. The Japanese launch numbers could cause Nintendo to rethink the price, if it isn't already planning a lower price in the US.

So are you saying it won't sell millions even at $300? I don't agree with that in this case, though I do agree the US price will more than likely be lower, and $249 is the safest bet assuming it really is ~$300 in Japan upon its "early" release there. Nintendo hasn't released a completely new handheld since 2004. I think there's some latent demand that will work in its favor, plus an entirely fresh "gimmick" that no one else anywhere can claim right now...

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cdoty
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It's a Nintendo system!

It'll do well, once the price is reduced.

I think the price in the US will be less than the Japanese launch price. Nintendo is probably assuming that it will be a must have in Japan, and will price it accordingly. The Japanese launch numbers could cause Nintendo to rethink the price, if it isn't already planning a lower price in the US.

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