Posted byJared Newman on December 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm
One thumbstick is rarely enough when you’re playing modern video games, so Nintendo’s 3DS is giving gamers a second stick via a $20 peripheral.
The Circle Pad Pro, which launched in Japan this month, is coming to the United States on February 7. The attachment snaps in around the base of the Nintendo 3DS, and includes an extra shoulder button as well. It requires a AAA battery to operate.
Here’s the issue: Existing games won’t work with the Circle Pad Pro, and developers will have to design future games to support dual sticks. So far, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D and Resident Evil: Revelations are on the roster of supported games.
Posted byJared Newman on August 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm
Something’s brewing at Nintendo headquarters. According to Gamasutra, the company is planning a news conference in Tokyo on September 13, with only one topic of discussion: the future of the Nintendo 3DS.
Nintendo’s newest handheld device had a troubled launch, with slower sales than expected. That prompted Nintendo to drop the 3DS price from $250 to $170 earlier this month. In a letter to early adopters, Nintendo said it had to cut the price to boost sales, ensuring that publishers would support the new hardware.
Now, Nintendo is rumored to be planning even bigger changes. French site 01net reports that Nintendo may redesign the 3DS with a second analog stick and a reduced emphasis on glasses-free 3D. This model would launch under a new name in 2012, the site’s unnamed sources said.
Posted byMatt Peckham on August 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm
If you haven’t snatched up a 3DS yet (if not, we wouldn’t blame you, given the dearth of interesting games) Nintendo’s sweetening its upcoming price drop with a ‘Flame Red’ version. If red’s your thing—as opposed to “Aqua Blue” and “Cosmo Black”—Nintendo says it plans to offer the alternative color from September 9th, shortly after the handheld’s price plummets from $250 to $170 this month.
Except wait a second, isn’t that supposed to happen this Friday, August 12th? That’s what Nintendo’s said, you know, all official-like.
But according to reports (and pictures of actual sales receipts), it seems some stores are selling the system at the new price already. Like Walmart, where you can reportedly get it for $169.96. (I know, does anyone seriously choose to buy, or not to buy, based on the cheap pennies discount gimmick?)
Nintendo has already admitted that sales of its 3DS handheld are lower than expected, so the company’s announcement of a Nintendo 3DS price cut isn’t a huge surprise.
But boy, is it ever a price cut. Starting August 12, the cost of a Nintendo 3DS will fall from $250 to $170, making for one of the sharpest price drops in handheld history. This also makes the 3DS a mere $20 more expensive than a Nintendo DSi, unless Nintendo announces discounts for its 2D handheld in the coming weeks.
Early adopters who paid $250 for the 3DS will get 10 free NES Virtual Console games starting September 1 and 10 free Game Boy Advance games by year-end.
A consumer advocacy group is giving Nintendo a hard time over the Nintendo 3DS’s terms of service, which allow the company to disable modded consoles and claims a license to all user-generated content.
Defective By Design, a campaign run by the Free Software Foundation, seeks donations in exchange for sending Nintendo a brick — symbolic of Nintendo’s ability to render devices useless.
I suppose the campaign has done its job, because I wasn’t aware of Nintendo’s 3DS terms of service until I read the coverage on BoingBoing and PC World. But while several sites reported on Nintendo’s anti-modding policy back in March, not much attention’s been given to the rights Nintendo claims on users’ activities, personal information and content.
Posted byJared Newman on April 27, 2011 at 9:58 am
Nintendo’s latest financial results admit that the Nintendo 3DS handheld isn’t selling as well as the company had hoped, while ignoring the elephant in the room.
The magic of glasses-free 3D was supposed to sell itself — or so Nintendo thought. Now, the company realizes that showing off the Nintendo 3DS at retail stores and public events isn’t enough. “There is no easy road to making people understand the attraction of glassless 3D images and making Nintendo 3DS widespread,” says the company’s report (via Kotaku).
But instead of acknowledging that smartphones and tablets have eroded demand for single-purpose portable gaming devices, Nintendo pins the blame on a lack of education. Nintendo says it needs to “thoroughly encourage people to properly adjust the 3D Depth Slider” and add more content that can be viewed passively, such as 3D video.
Posted byJared Newman on March 27, 2011 at 9:55 am
The Nintendo 3DS goes on sale in North America today, and while my experience is limited to previews at trade shows and a public demo over the weekend, my sentiment is similar to that of full reviews: The tech is impressive, even if the first batch of games aren’t. (For more thorough analyses of the 3DS’s strengths and weaknesses, check out the reviews from Chris Kohler at Wired and Ben Kuchera at Ars Technica.)
But most reviews don’t offer a direct comparison between the 3DS and smartphones, which represent the handheld’s biggest threat. So allow me to share an anecdote:
Over the weekend, Nintendo showed off the 3DS at a kiosk on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. Public demos like this are a big part of Nintendo’s strategy, because advertisements can’t really convey the feeling of glasses-free 3D. I stopped by the kiosk with my father, who’s in town for the weekend.
Posted byJared Newman on March 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm
With less than two weeks until the Nintendo 3DS launches in the United States, Nintendo is showing off its first commercial for the 3D gaming handheld. And in doing so, the company has raised a question that comes up every time someone tries to advertise 3D: How, exactly, do you market something that can only be witnessed in person?
In a way, this issue has dogged television makers for years. Back when tube televisions ruled, electronics companies had to convince us of HDTV’s visual fidelity through words or metaphor. That’s true with any incremental improvement in picture quality. But while it’s easy to believe that a new TV simply looks better than an old one, 3D has the challenge of selling the public on an entirely different way of viewing video. Take a look at how Nintendo handles it:
I think the visual effect of jumping into and out of the game is a valiant effort. If I were 20 years younger, I’d probably be flipping out over this stuff, and it definitely does a better job of selling the 3D concept than most 3D TV ads. (My personal least favorite is the one from Panasonic where a family gets sucked into outer space, accompanied by a voiceover from a creepy, whispering child.)
One other thing that strikes me about the Nintendo 3DS ad: the users. These people are my age, which is to say they fall into the stereotypical gamer demographic. In recent years, Nintendo’s made a killing by targeting everyone else.
Posted byJared Newman on March 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm
It behooves Nintendo to insist that the Nintendo 3DS is first and foremost about playing video games. That way, when a feature like Netflix streaming comes along, it’s a surprise instead of an expectation.
Netflix streaming was the big news from Nintendo’s Game Developers Conference keynote on Wednesday. The feature will arrive during the summer, at least a few months after the Nintendo 3DS’s March 27 launch.
Posted byJared Newman on January 19, 2011 at 8:20 am
After 10 months of teasing, Nintendo has answered the biggest lingering questions about its next handheld: How much will the Nintendo 3DS cost, and when can you get it?
At $250, the Nintendo 3DS is almost twice the price of the DS Lite, and $100 more expensive than the DSi. It’s the most expensive handheld Nintendo has ever launched, and ties the Wii for Nintendo’s priciest hardware launch ever (if you don’t adjust for inflation).