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Enough Already; The Nintendo 3DS is Not Failing

by Joey Davidson | December 19, 2011December 19, 2011 1:00 pm PDT

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t get where all of this hating on the Nintendo 3DS is coming from. Head to the comment sections on news stories, features, editorials and reviews regarding Nintendo’s latest portable on almost any site (including our own), and you’ll find a slew of readers suggesting that Nintendo is doomed because of this new device.

Before I get to defending the Nintendo 3DS, let’s set some things straight. The handheld got off to a terrible start. It was priced a bit too high, its launch library wasn’t strong and it was being marketed around a feature most people didn’t really care for. The Nintendo 3DS, at first, was in trouble.

Then, Nintendo did what they had to do: they slashed the price of the system by $80. Step into my time machine and let’s head back to an editorial I wrote when the price cut happened last August. Here’s what I offered then:

The price cut was the best thing the company could do. While onlookers may see this move as Nintendo admitting that their system can’t live up to its initial hype, it would be foolish to consider the Nintendo 3DS dead in the water at this point. The fact of the matter is that Nintendo software, I’m talking MarioMario KartIcarus, etc., will always drive system sales. Couple those releases due this holiday with a price point that’s actually attractive and you’ve got a system worth buying and selling.

Welcome back to the present. The Nintendo 3DS, and its recent software releases, have been performing exceptionally well.

Mario Kart 7 performed twice as well as Mario Kart DS in Japan during its first week. That type of figure repeats for the rest of Nintendo’s system sellers like Super Mario 3D Land.

Furthermore, Nintendo recently announced that the 3DS is on pace to outsell the Nintendo DS during its first year. The Nintendo DS is the best selling portable gaming system of all time. The fact that the 3DS, a machine that is supposedly killing Nintendo, will outperform the DS’ first year at market is stunning.

In the face of all of these points, readers around the net think that the Nintendo 3DS is a dying handheld.

One of the First Supposed Nintendo Killers

There’s this section of users, and this might even be specific to gadget-centric blogs like TechnoBuffalo, that seem to feel that smartphones are crushing the gaming industry. Even in the face of economic struggle, the gaming medium continues to thrive. Software consistently sets records (Modern Warfare 3 once again did that deed for Activision), older consoles sell better than ever and new companies continue to spring up. Yet, mobile gaming aficionados swear this industry is dying.

What is it about Nintendo that gamers hate so much? That’s the question that seems to elude me every time a new controversy springs up. Every company makes awkward business decisions, that’s the nature of selling products to a massive base of consumers. But, it seems to me, every time Nintendo bumbles or missteps, the gaming community is figuratively at the company’s throat. Why?

Take this and apply it liberally to every facet of consumerism… why resent a brand, company or product? Unless you’ve experienced major problems with any item that have forced you to move on, you have no reason to hate on it. Believe me, several companies have lost my future business for shoddy products or support. I’ll never suggest those complaining for good reason should stop. But, for everyone else?

PlayStation 3 gamers will swear the Xbox 360 is the worst console ever made without owning it. Xbox 360 gamers will look down their noses at the PS3 without even holding its controller. iPhone fans will swear Android is garbage without ever trying the OS. It’s like this brand loyality leads to this bizarre sense of entitlement.

Blind hate seems to be consistent across all genres of tech, and yet it completely blows me away every time I encounter it.

But, back to the matter at hand: the Nintendo 3DS.

People have been yelling that Nintendo is doomed for literally decades now, and the Nintendo 3DS seems to be the latest culprit of the Big N’s supposed demise. Browsing Reddit last week, I found this image as it occupied one of the top spots in /r/gaming.

Obviously, I can’t take credit for it (that, as far as I know, is reserved for Redditor “SoulSnatcher“); however, it works exceptionally well for my argument today. Nintendo, the oldest surviving console manufacturer, has been doomed for myriad reasons since day one. I lived through each and every one of these “downfall” causing problems. I can remember eating lunch at school and hearing about how the SNES was a crap system for nixing blood in Mortal Kombat.

Guess what, the SNES was an industry favorite for years. Sega, its chief competition with the machine that actually showed blood, isn’t even making systems anymore.

I feel like I’ve written this a million times on this site already, but here goes again: Nintendo isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The company, in the face of naysayers, has demonstrated time and again that the risks they take tend to succeed. Their failures lead to future successes. They are capable of making mistakes and recovering.

Yes, the Nintendo 3DS stumbled out of the gates. Yet, here we are, approaching its first full year at retail and it’s on pace to outsell the highest selling gaming handheld ever made.

If you think the 3DS is failing, then you’ll also need to suggest that the Nintendo DS failed even harder. That’s crazy talk.

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Joey Davidson

Joey Davidson leads the gaming department here on TechnoBuffalo. He's been covering games online for more than 10 years, and he's a lover of all...

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