Nintend-Woe: The Rise And Rise Of Ninty Criticism
It hasn’t been the best of weeks for Nintendo. Unfortunately, this has only fuelled the flames of those who think the 3DS has ‘failed’; is it fair to reach conclusions so soon?
As you’re undoubtedly aware, it’s been blow after blow for Nintendo this week. Dropped shares, dropped salaries and dropped prices… okay, the last one is actually good news. But the stark suddenness of this gesture has left many naysayers upping their sayings of the nayings, scurrying forth to their proverbial bell towers to ring out the death knells of this young, enterprising handheld.
The unfortunate truth is that the 3DS has had a slew of negativity fired at it right from the off. High expectations, high pricing and a software catalogue that hasn’t met many peoples’ expectations have all contributed. Have Nintendo been complacent in the success they’ve enjoyed since the middle of the last decade? Perhaps. The Wii is more or less being hung out to dry in its last year rather than celebrated for the innovations it brought to the table, and Nintendo undoubtedly feel very aware that they’ve put a lot into the 3DS and seen less in return than they had hoped.
The most common criticism is, of course, software. Granted, you’ve got the burgeoning magnificence of the entire Nintendo DS software library to choose from, but actual dedicated 3DS games have been more thin on the ground than expected.
Have expectations risen for console launches in today’s world of rapid gratification and ever-increasing demands? Perhaps so, and there are certainly those who are being unfair; a quick perusal of the internet’s reactions to Nintendo’s stunningly humble admissions and lowered expectations would have you believe the entire 3DS system has been a cataclysmic bust.
Yet it’s not the first console to have a difficult launch period by any stretch of the imagination. But Nintendo find themselves a victim of their own success; they’re now so accustomed to people scurrying out to buy oodles of their latest and greatest that the idea of anything less is bewildering.
Additionally, consider that 3DS games are often lumped in with regular DS games in retaillers, with very little to distinguish the two. It’s not a blanket rule, but it certainly happens. Couple with with the several billion redesigns of the original DS and you find yourselves with a confused public who simply think the 3DS is ‘another redesign’ rather than a brand new system.
Nintendo suffered a similar blow at this year’s E3, not only when they showed the Wii U controller more than the machine itself, but also the confusion that some felt by the continuation of the brand as a whole. Was it a Wii add-on? A Wii redesign? No, it’s a brand new machine, just like the 3DS. Like we say, victims of their own success; ‘Wii’ and ‘DS’ are such ubiquitous and successful terms now that they almost cross-contaminate anything Nintendo does in forwarding those self-same brands.
We’re only a few months into the system’s lifespan. Is it fair to declare it dead on arrival? Of course not. Yet is it unfair to criticise Nintendo for things they could have done better, providing it’s done constructively and with a level head? Absolutely. Nintendo themselves have recognised this, hence Satoru Iwata’s staggeringly self-sacrificial salary-slicing actions.
We can compare and contrast consoles, their launches, their press attention and more until the cows come home. Heck, the cows might even join in on the debate once they’ve got their shoes off and hung up their keys, though it’s fair to warn you farm animals don’t make for the best organisms to debate electronic entertainment devices with.
But the fact remains that this young system, yes, has hit many stumbles and staggers upon its arrival. This has generated an unfortunate amount of negative attention on a machine that had already been administered an often-unfair negative reputation in the first place.
Of course, the loyal fans need not worry. Rewards are on the way and games that are brand new, not reskinned versions of admittedly classic titles in their own right, are gloriously riding home before the year is out. We all know it can be annoying to have to wait for the goods. We’re doing it too.
But are Nintendo dead? Is the 3DS a failure? Of course not, on both counts. Nonetheless, the Big N have received a wake-up call, one that some might argue is overdue; don’t rest on your laurels, guys! Sell your products with the passion you put into your games! Fill our eShop with titles of exquisite gaming pleasure! Continue to innovate and evolve what it means to play videogames! Repair the damage being done to your brands! Hey, and maybe let our American friends have those nice JRPGs on the Wii the Europeans are getting, you know the ones.
This young and plucky portable, eager to please, is so ready to do so much. Nintendo are stepping up to the plate in a big way, risking public humiliation in so doing, to ensure we all know how committed they are to the success of the 3DS.
It’s been a troubled time, there’s no doubting that. But has the 3DS checked out?
Shoot. It’s only just got in the door, shaking off its raincoat with a big ol’ smile for you, the kind of cheeky grin that tells you there’s mischief and merriment aplenty still to come.
Also, those of us who were there in the bad times as well as the good get free games! Which always helps.