Lost in the midst of the hubbub over a possible iPhone 5 delay and Amazon’s launch of a cloud music playing service is the fact that Nintendo launched the first glasses-free 3D handheld console this past Sunday, the 3DS. According to a statement issued by The Big N, the first day unit sales of the 3DS were the highest of any Nintendo hand-held system in its history. That includes the original DS, DS Lite, Gameboys, you name it.
U.S. day-one sales numbers for Nintendo 3DS were the highest of any Nintendo hand-held system in our history. More details about U.S. sales numbers will be made public on April 14, when first-week U.S. sales figures will be tallied by the independent NPD Group. Nintendo worked hard to get as much product as possible to retailers on day one to meet demand, and we will continue with these efforts moving forward.
-Nintendo of America
It’s important to note that they are indeed talking about unit numbers, because at $249.99, the 3DS is undoubtedly the most expensive hand-held console Nintendo has ever launched. Reporting the gross revenue as a “new record” would be just… silly.
Personally, I’m just surprised at the number of early adopters Nintendo convinced to buy the 3DS. I’m a self-identified gadget fiend and even I had trouble talking myself into getting one. There just aren’t any titles out for it that justify the splurge for the 3DS. A quick look at Metacritic shows a sea of mediocrity with one stand out title (Super Street Fighter IV). Unfortunately, that title has already been released twice on a multitude of devices prior, so chances are that you’ve already played it in some incarnation.
Greg Miller of IGN also had similar sentiments on the quality of launch titles:
As I write this, 11 3DS games have been reviewed for IGN — I’m counting Nintendogs + Cats once — and the average review score is 6.7. That’s “Okay” on the IGN scale. Admittedly, most of the games reviewed landed in the 7 out of 10 range and just a few crappy games pulled down the average, but that’s still not stellar.
To add insult to injury, the 3DS shipped without internet browsing or Virtual Console support, taking a page out of Motorola’s playbook for its Honeycomb tablet Xoom. “Rush to ship now, patch in the promised features later” is a disturbing trend for hardware manufacturers to be following, but it’s the world we live in.
Like Android tablet, without any “killer apps,” you’re essentially buying the 3DS for its potential in the future. Now, being a betting type of man, I would actually expect there to be many reasons to own a 3DS in the future. Nintendo’s had a sterling track record of success, plus with these great day-one numbers, things are looking up for the 3DS to become a successful platform with a large user and developer support base.
But Nintendo’s also had a track record of refreshing their handheld hardware within a couple of years of the original devices’ launches. In the 3DS’s case, this hardware update cannot come soon enough, with battery life being reported at a scant 3-5 hours for the current device. Until we see a truly “must have” title for the 3DS, you’re better off waiting until one of those two things happen before diving in.
Originally posted on lalawag