Amazon has Nintendo 3DS Pre-orders Open Now!

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Nous
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Amplifying perception
Bill Loguidice wrote:

It's not that simple. That's like saying the PS3 and Xbox 360 are the same. That's like saying the Wii is like the GameCube except for the Wii-mote. There is no direct comparison I can see between the 3DS and PSP other than that they may be able to play somewhat similar games. It doesn't mean they will. There's also a key difference in feel, like I said. Presentation is different, controls feel different, resolutions are different, one has a touch screen (which may or may not be minimized), one doesn't, etc. Each platform has its own "personality", its own way of presenting things, its own menu system. A portable having the Nintendo name goes a long way with people- doesn't make them or it right - it means that Sony has to get more right. They didn't with the PSP. They gambled wrong, albeit with the caveat that the platform was still a stellar success (save for the PSPGo) if you don't compare it directly to the DS series.

I haven't bought a retail PSP game in a LONG time, probably a good 10 months. It hasn't interested me to do so. The platform is pretty much done for me until the NGP, even though I have all those free PSP compatible downloadable games from my PlayStation Plus account. No real motivation to play them...

Again, I'm keeping all of the above short, because we've been through this before. I don't see the validity of the comparison here, sorry. Even if it's not that different from what the PSP had/has, it's still different enough, people will experience it differently, it will be implemented differently, etc.. Hopefully that makes sense. And again, I'm NOT going to put the 3D aside. The stakes are higher now thanks to smartphones and tablets, among other things. Without the 3D, the 3DS loses its key differentiator and it's just DS 1.5, like the Wii would be GameCube 1.5 without the Wii-mote part. It's silly to separate.

The PS3 and 360 audiences are quite similar - goes without saying, I guess - and their relative success is also similar.

The Wii and the Gamecube, while having similar *graphical* capabilities also had radically different *input methods* - from a marketing and game designing perspective that created a significant (or at least sufficient - see Wii Sports, Wii Fit, etc) divergence in the types of games that you would/could/should do on the Wii compared to the Gamecube. That, together with a successful marketing campaign, made ALL the difference in the world commercially at least. It was trivial to show how a game on the Wii would FEEL and PLAY different from one using a traditional control method on the Gamecube - and more importantly it was trivial to see what audience that would appeal to specifically.

Again, I am not trying to draw parallels between the fate of the PSP and that of the 3DS based on the similarities - though that may well turn out to be the case, however I am not arguing this point at all.

I will keep on insisting: Bill, for a man so thoroughly and utterly convinced of the *essential* difference between the two platforms, I would expect you to at least give me specific examples of what those differences will be! One, the 3D, is an obvious one - when used, when not switched off.

Ignoring that, however (And it's kind of a wild card right now) the control method that is clearly "pushed" here is that of the PSP, while at the same time control methods previously emphasised (direct touch manipulation) or seemingly attempted (motion controls) are relegated to a much less important role, at best. In fact, the one thing that made the DS what it was in they eyes of the casual user, the complete symmetry and interchangability of the two screens allowing for the first time direct manipulation and control of the game world sans dpad/analog/buttons - is now absent!

The expected visuals are the same (people expect better but you can't get better from something that's basically the same). The games that are meant to excite gamers are basically traditionally controlled console-type games - some of which, the 3rd party titles, either identical or extremely similar in feel and play to those we have already played on the PSP.

Now, I am not saying that everyone is going to see that the 3DS is more of a PSP than it is a DS (because clearly initial superficial impressions can be misleading for a while) but, again, I am not talking about what most people will "buy" it as or how well it will do commercially for a while.

This is a discussion between me and you (us here) and I am genuinely trying to identify how a given game, say a 3rd party title, that'll come out on both the 3DS and the PSP will be implemented differently - again, outside the 3D. Will it look different, play different, control any different? Examples (even hypothetical ones) ?

The only real differentiating direction I can see here is if they decide to put a firm emphasis on the camera/AR designs - but that is obviously limited and flimsy and what's more important it may not appeal much (price notwithstanding) to what I believe here to be the main target audience: the kind of gamer who feels at home using traditional controls (as opposed to how the DS found success!)

You see what I mean?

Just prove me wrong here, try to come up with something specific even if it's hypothetical. Put it to the test: play Ridge Racer on the PSP alongside the 3DS, play the new Lego Star Wars 3 game on both machines side by side, tell me how they "feel", "look" and "play" ... I'm sure we won't run out of opportunities to run similar/same games side by side in order to assess how they look, feel and play on both platforms.

P.S. Without the motion controller the Wii is indeed a Gamecube (not 1.5 .. but 1.05 ... only slightly, imperceptibly different). But the 3DS without the 3D is *not* a DS at all .. (not 1.5, not 1.05, etc) ... it's effectively a $250 PSP in disguise!!

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Nous
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Tracking
Bill Loguidice wrote:
Matt Barton wrote:

I predict the 3DS will be a giant flop. I'll go on record with that.

It's already sold enough (and is guaranteed to sell enough) NOT to be a flop. Will it have legs is the real question, meaning being a market force longer than 3 years. If you're saying it won't have legs, that I might eventually come to agree with...

The key I think is how non-gamers ultimately react to the system. I can see non-gamers NOT putting up with the frustrations this system offers up for getting an optimal 3D game playing experience. When it's in that sweet spot, it's truly something special, but when it's not, it's annoying. The question is how much will Joe Average put up with and/or be able to understand how to use the system correctly. This is one of the few systems where it doesn't adapt to you, YOU adapt to it. That MAY be workable, but I'm just not sure at this point...

Point taken.

So ... Iwata predicted, back in September 2010, that the 3DS will sell 4 million units by the end of this fiscal year ... which ends in 2 days exactly! That was *after* he announced that it wouldn't launch during the holiday period.

Has the 3DS sold 4 million units worldwide yet ? Is it on track ? Is it close ?

What does sold enough mean, and to whom exactly?

What I was trying to determine before is who the target audience is primarily, looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the platform as a whole. Is it the DS type of audience or is it the PSP type of audience? And why?

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Nous
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Flip Flop
Matt Barton wrote:

I predict the 3DS will be a giant flop. I'll go on record with that.

Just to clarify, this is not what I am trying to argue (at all!) when I point out how close the 3DS has moved to the PSP (and how far , at the same time, from the original DS ethos)

Nothing to do with whether it'll flop or not - nor was I trying to draw comparisons between the PSP's success (or lack thereof - though "lack" is a very harsh assessment) and the fate of the 3DS.

Of course there are superficial/perception differences - the Nintendo brand, the "DS" in the name, the superficial existence of a second screen - that may well play an important role, as they have in the past. This is not what I was trying to discuss here.

For the record, if you want to use the F word ("flop"!) then you need to re-define it in the context of Nintendo handheld platforms.

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Bill Loguidice
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Sales
Matt Barton wrote:

I predict the 3DS will be a giant flop. I'll go on record with that.

It's already sold enough (and is guaranteed to sell enough) NOT to be a flop. Will it have legs is the real question, meaning being a market force longer than 3 years. If you're saying it won't have legs, that I might eventually come to agree with...

The key I think is how non-gamers ultimately react to the system. I can see non-gamers NOT putting up with the frustrations this system offers up for getting an optimal 3D game playing experience. When it's in that sweet spot, it's truly something special, but when it's not, it's annoying. The question is how much will Joe Average put up with and/or be able to understand how to use the system correctly. This is one of the few systems where it doesn't adapt to you, YOU adapt to it. That MAY be workable, but I'm just not sure at this point...

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Matt Barton
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I predict the 3DS will be a

I predict the 3DS will be a giant flop. I'll go on record with that.

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Bill Loguidice
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Too many factors - it's simply not 1:1

It's not that simple. That's like saying the PS3 and Xbox 360 are the same. That's like saying the Wii is like the GameCube except for the Wii-mote. There is no direct comparison I can see between the 3DS and PSP other than that they may be able to play somewhat similar games. It doesn't mean they will. There's also a key difference in feel, like I said. Presentation is different, controls feel different, resolutions are different, one has a touch screen (which may or may not be minimized), one doesn't, etc. Each platform has its own "personality", its own way of presenting things, its own menu system. A portable having the Nintendo name goes a long way with people- doesn't make them or it right - it means that Sony has to get more right. They didn't with the PSP. They gambled wrong, albeit with the caveat that the platform was still a stellar success (save for the PSPGo) if you don't compare it directly to the DS series.

I haven't bought a retail PSP game in a LONG time, probably a good 10 months. It hasn't interested me to do so. The platform is pretty much done for me until the NGP, even though I have all those free PSP compatible downloadable games from my PlayStation Plus account. No real motivation to play them...

Again, I'm keeping all of the above short, because we've been through this before. I don't see the validity of the comparison here, sorry. Even if it's not that different from what the PSP had/has, it's still different enough, people will experience it differently, it will be implemented differently, etc.. Hopefully that makes sense. And again, I'm NOT going to put the 3D aside. The stakes are higher now thanks to smartphones and tablets, among other things. Without the 3D, the 3DS loses its key differentiator and it's just DS 1.5, like the Wii would be GameCube 1.5 without the Wii-mote part. It's silly to separate.

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Nous
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But... I insist!
Bill Loguidice wrote:

I don't know if I can accept that premise at the moment, Nouse. I don't believe the 3DS is viable without the 3D. Other features are actually important too, but they're secondary to the 3D thing. In any case, I can only go by "feel" on why I don't think it's a viable comparison to the PSP. There's a Nintendo - actually a Wii-like - feel to the 3DS from design to the implementation of the games that even if some of the games have similar audio-visual quality, doesn't make one feel like they're playing something that could be played on the PSP. Also, we have to keep in mind that in my opinion the greatest failing of the PSP ultimately was its reliance on bulky and slow optical media, not necessarily the games (though one can argue that the sluggish release schedule of the games was due to the media).

Let's agree to IGNORE our disagreement on the 3D issue (you believe the 3DS without - or with reduced usage of - the 3D is not viable, I believe it actually is!).

Let's ignore that for now. You might be right .. but there is a reason why I want to ignore this temporarily.

Here's the thing: with the DS (all other things ignored as well - such as, price difference, battery life, cost of game development, etc) it was trivial to point out EXACTLY which games you can do (and SHOULD do - i.e. utilising strong points) on each platform that you CAN NOT do on the other no matter what.

The 3DS has so much overlap with the 6 year old PSP - and so much DS-emphasis has now been reduced or set aside or rendered unusable if 3D is to be the primary focus - that I literally cannot think of almost anything that you can do on the PSP and not be able to do on the 3DS - AND VICE VERSA!

You have PSP like capabilities, more costly development, shorter battery life, the emphasis (and expectations) are going to be on PSP-level visuals, more indepth console-like gameplay, and the predominant use of the analog nub, dpad and buttons at the expense of relegating the touch screen to a secondary touch panel role (one might have to limit that use as well - you were even willing to replace that with buttons as a more optimal solution)

Most (all?) 3rd party titles will be on both 3DS and PSP for example. You can already run Ridge Racer and Lego Star Wars 3 side by side, play them side by side.

What I am interested in is your thoughtful opinion (you may need to wear your game designer hat here), how would a given title be much (or any) different on the 3DS compared to its PSP version ?

Also ... (game designer hat) ... give me a couple of examples of what you can do on the 3DS that you can't have on the PSP.

Remember, pretty much every major title announced (1st or 3rd party) at this point, titles that have gamers excited, are actually PSP-like titles OR ports/remakes of PSP titles! They look and play the same or are extremely close. Apart from the 3D aspect there is no longer an "interaction" or game design differentiator here - and for a very good reason.

I take your point about the optical media - that was indeed a hurdle in the early days, but it hasn't been an issue at all for years now. What were the last 5 PSP titles you bought and played? In any case, I am not saying the PSP was flawless (god only knows it had flaws that had a big impact especially early on). But this kind of problem, minor these days (after the PSP slim releases) is really not relevant to my original question of what game content and gameplay (control etc) differences there may be between the two platforms in practice.

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Bill Loguidice
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I don't know if I can accept

I don't know if I can accept that premise at the moment, Nouse. I don't believe the 3DS is viable without the 3D. Other features are actually important too, but they're secondary to the 3D thing. In any case, I can only go by "feel" on why I don't think it's a viable comparison to the PSP. There's a Nintendo - actually a Wii-like - feel to the 3DS from design to the implementation of the games that even if some of the games have similar audio-visual quality, doesn't make one feel like they're playing something that could be played on the PSP. Also, we have to keep in mind that in my opinion the greatest failing of the PSP ultimately was its reliance on bulky and slow optical media, not necessarily the games (though one can argue that the sluggish release schedule of the games was due to the media).

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Nous
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Aha
Bill Loguidice wrote:

Good points, Nous, however, I think the PSP track is a non-starter. To me, this is clearly a very different system and will be used in very different ways from a PSP. The 3DS actually has a lot of interesting features and potential, but my primary concern is how usable the actual 3D effect will be long-term. To me, the system will be an abject failure (and will not have long-term market potential) if the 3D has to be turned off. That will be my struggle with the system going forward. I need to determine what the true general reaction is to the 3D, both my own and that of others, particularly non-gamers. I will say that they've probably got a lot of work to do between now and the inevitable 3DS Lite, with improved screens and battery life. Whether they can "hold out" with the current iteration of the system between now and then is a major issue in my mind. It MAY be just fine as-is, but I won't be able to say until I put more time into the system and gauge more reactions.

See, while you're overly concerned about the long-term viability of the 3D as the main method of viewing game content while playing, I've moved on to something that I consider to be a lot more important!

So for now at least let's IGNORE the 3D .. let's assume you have to switch it of for whatever reasons, and that's OK. Let's agree on that (hypothetically) for now.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could elaborate, perhaps by giving examples, on specific differences that you see between the 3DS and the PSP. I believe connectivity would be one of them although I hear that, say, Ridge Racer (a launch title for the PSP) had more multiplayer options (local and wifi) than it does on the 3DS currently.

Let's try to focus for a moment on what actual game-content differences (significant ones even) compared with the PSP you forecast based on your admittedly very premature impressions as of now. You seem to be adamant that game content will be entirely different (as the DS was to the PSP) but I have strong reasons to doubt that.

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Bill Loguidice
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Good points, Nous, however, I

Good points, Nous, however, I think the PSP track is a non-starter. To me, this is clearly a very different system and will be used in very different ways from a PSP. The 3DS actually has a lot of interesting features and potential, but my primary concern is how usable the actual 3D effect will be long-term. To me, the system will be an abject failure (and will not have long-term market potential) if the 3D has to be turned off. That will be my struggle with the system going forward. I need to determine what the true general reaction is to the 3D, both my own and that of others, particularly non-gamers. I will say that they've probably got a lot of work to do between now and the inevitable 3DS Lite, with improved screens and battery life. Whether they can "hold out" with the current iteration of the system between now and then is a major issue in my mind. It MAY be just fine as-is, but I won't be able to say until I put more time into the system and gauge more reactions.

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