Sunday, 23 January 2011

Nintendo 3DS: Has Nintendo Broken Its Promise To Gamers?

It has only been a few days since the  European release date for Nintendo's 3DS console was announced, but already the rumour mill has been circulating, and it seems that some gamers may not be getting exactly what they expect when the console launches in March this year.

Mini Gamers takes a look at the promises that have been made by Nintendo over the past year, and compares them to what the console is set to offer us in reality...

Promise One: A Price Range Under £200?

Back in August last year, Nintendo's Marketing Manager, James Honeywell gave an interview to gaming website Electric Pig, where it was hinted that the new console might cost under £200 to buy.

Although no actual price was mentioned at the time, Honeywell did say that:"The DSi is around £129.99, the DSi XL is around £159.99, so obviously it [the Nintendo 3DS] is going to fit somewhere around that kind of architecture..." [sourced from:]

Furthermore, a 3DS console for under £200 did indeed seem possible when the Japanese pricing figures for a 3DS were revealed to be around 25,000 Yen, which equates to approximately £192.

However, at the recent 3DS preview conference in Amsterdam, Nintendo claimed that the actual price of the console would be set by retailers and that European gamers would have to refer to in-store prices.

This actually translates to a price range that is anywhere between £217.85 (in places like Asda and Zavvi) and £229.99 (Game).

These prices then skyrocket towards the £250 mark when the console is bundled with one of the 3DS launch games, which are themselves priced around £39.99. This makes the 3DS one of the most expensive handheld consoles ever produced.

Promise Two: Complete Backwards Compatibility With Older
DS and DSi Consoles?

Although the Nintendo 3DS WILL definitely be backwards compatible with your old DS and DSi games, the new console will also feature a Region Lock, which means that 3DS gaming software purchased from one country will not be compatible with 3DS consoles purchased in another.

Nintendo recently defended their decision to make the 3DS region-locked.  Nintendo UK boss David Yarnton gave an interview to Eurogamer  in which he claimed that the region-lock was due to many different factors including the Downloadable Content support that will be offered with the new console, and the difference in international age rating systems.

Yarnton said: "If we look at it at on a regional basis, we have to be very conscious of - the customer may not really care about this - but different territories have different ratings. We're very conscious of making sure we toe the line as far as government goes. In Europe we've got PEGI. In Australia there's a different rating. America's got a different rating. Japan's a different rating." [sourced from;]

The region lock is nothing new and has also been used in Nintendo's DSi console. However, the truth remains that gamers who prefer to purchase and play games from other countries such as America (where they are usually cheaper) will no longer be able to do this on the new 3DS console.

Promise Three: The 3DS Will Feature Its own eShop and Internet Browser?

Nintendo has promised that the 3DS console, (which is said to have its own Internet Browser,) will also have an eShop for downloadable content. The eShop will support some of the old DSiWare, as well as offer demos, videos and user ratings and a handheld version of the Wii's Virtual Console, which will be dedicated to Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles.

According to Nintendo, purchases will no longer be made with virtual currency. Nintendo Points which have previously been purchased on other systems like the DSi and Wii will not be usable on the 3DS eStore, which will use a 'real cash' system instead.

Nevertheless, there seems to be doubt amongst the gaming community as to whether the aforementioned eShop will actually be available for use when the console launches in March.

Nintendo of America's marketing manager, Bill Trinen recently suggested to that the eShop was very much a secondary concern to the retail launch of the new console, with full 3DS games not yet planned for download availability. He said: "I think, right now for us, the digital shop content is focusing on growing the digital ... distinguishing from the retail content in terms of what it offers."

Trinen also went on to suggest that the eShop may not in fact  be released simultaneously with the 3DS itself, but maybe offered later in a firmware update. "In terms of specific announcements or when it's going to actually be available, we'll go into more detail on that as we get closer to the launch date."

Nintendo seemed to suggest during the European Preview Conference that the 3DS would come with a fully-working eShop, which they implied was one of the revolutionary new features that would set the 3DS apart from the other Duel Screen consoles.

Nevertheless, at this moment in time, it seems as though gamers may have to wait many months before they can begin to purchase fresh downloadable content for their new device, which is more than a tad disappointing.

It has to be said that the Nintendo 3DS does feature an impressive array of specifications  including its twin motion-tracking cameras, 3D depth slider and a good selection of 3DS game titles in development.

Nevertheless, even with its March deadline getting closer, Nintendo seems unable to fully commit to an answer about the actual content that gamers can expect to see on launch day. Here at Mini Gamers we remain optimistic about the 3DS and we look forward to bringing you news on specific 3DS launch games within the next few weeks.

However, we are also interested in hearing what YOU, the handheld gamers out there have to say about the new console. How much would YOU be will willing to pay for a 3DS?

Has the overall cost or region lock put YOU off of owning a 3DS?

Please leave us a comment and let us know.

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