When I first heard the name I thought it would just be another slight variant, like the 3DS-XL or the 2DS. Once I heard that it’s the actual next step in Nintendo’s portable console scene and games made for it won’t be backwards-compatible with The Old 3DS, I checked to see if it was April 1st already. To my surprise, it is not.
I probably don’t have to say that this is a bad idea. This is a spectacularly bad idea. This feels like the culmination of all of Nintendo’s bad ideas for the past decade or two. Here’s why.
Nintendo Forgot How To Name
Just as they forgot how to make new IPs about a decade ago*, I think Nintendo forgot how to name things awhile back. The first example that comes to my head is their main man Mario: New Super Mario Bros., New Super Mario Bros. Wii, New Super Mario Bros. 2, and New Super Mario Bros-U. Mario is apparently now a brand that you slap “New” on the front of and whatever platform you’re selling on the end and call it a day. I bet Nintendo is already working on New Super Mario Bros. New on the New 3DS.
* Yes, Splatoon is an exception, and yes, I’m honestly very interested in Splatoon.
This might seem trivial, but names can genuinely confuse customers. Nintendo’s current-gen home console, the Wii-U, has been in stores for nearly two years now. There are still many people who think it’s an attachment for the Wii. You might think they’re stupid, but Nintendo is certainly not helping to steer them in the right direction. Bear in mind that parents often don’t have a huge amount of time to research what they buy for their children — sometimes all they can do is listen to their children’s semi-intelligible demands and then grab the products they remember hearing about off the shelves. I wouldn’t hold it against a parent for accidentally buying a Wii-U game when all they own is a Wii.
And that shit’s peanuts compared to Nintendo’s portable lineup. I’m just imagining a conversation between a hardcore gamer and a non-gamer about the various DSes that exist.
“So, is the New 3DS like the 3DS XL?”
“No. The 3DS XL was just a 3DS variant. The New 3DS is the next portable console.”
“Oh, okay. And the 3DS was like the DS but with 3D, right?”
“No, no! The 3DS had a bunch of new features that the DS didn’t have!”
“Ohh, okay. So it goes DS, then 2DS, then 3DS, then-“
“No, no, NO!” The 2DS came out AFTER the 3DS!”
“Okay, alright, so the 2DS was a step forward in portable consoles too?”
“NO, it was a variant of the 3DS! HOW IS THIS ALL SO HARD TO GRASP?!”
I look forward to the announcement of New Super Mario Bros. New 2 for the New Wii-U and New 3DS-2.
The 3DS was released in 2011 — which month depends on where you live — but the platform’s biggest seller, Pokemon X/Y, was released just less than one year ago. I bought my 3DS last year for the new Animal Crossing, and I know many people who bought it later than me last year so they could get their Pokemon on. And I know others still who are buying the 3DS this year in preparation for the new Smash Bros. I’m speculating, but I’m pretty sure none of these people are going to buy another portable console just one or two years from now.
They’ve already announced that the Xenoblade Chronicles port will be a New 3DS exclusive. I’ve no experience with Xenoblade, but I’m not sure the series has enough clout to sell us on the console. And from the looks of it, whether other games will demand a New 3DS or not will depend on whether the devs/pubs of those games think the extra RAM and features matter that much.
That actually reminds me of Microsoft’s Kinect. We all associate the Kinect with the Xbone now, but you might all remember that it was first released about halfway through the 360’s lifespan. Since a Kinect game would require the player to shell out for the new hardware, it all hinged on whether enough devs would choose to program for it — and once it turned out to not be the grand innovation Microsoft hoped for, devs were about as eager to make games for it as they are to make OUYA-exclusives.
I can’t help but wonder if Nintendo is putting their new hardware in a similar position. How many devs are going to make their games New 3DS exclusive when everyone just bought their Old 3DSes? And if the answer is not a lot, then how many people will buy New 3DSes if not many devs are making games for it?
Nintendo, this doesn’t look promising. It’s not that I think the console itself is bad — I was against the 2DS because I thought it was just not a worthwhile idea in the first place, but I like the New 3DS’s design, and the features seem neat. But I’m not buying it — not just after you made me buy a 3DS. And good Gourd, you need to fire whoever is coming up with all these names.