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E3: Namco Bandai Says Keep 3DS Faith
E3: Namco Bandai Says Keep 3DS Faith
June 9, 2011 | By Colin Campbell

Namco Bandai says Nintendo should keep the faith with its 3DS and resist calls to drop the system's price.

Carlson Choi, VP of Marketing at Namco Bandai told Gamasutra, "It's been a slow start, but that's similar to how DS went in the beginning. We're really close with all the first party companies, but especially Nintendo because our origin of business is in Japan. We know they'll invest heavily in it. It's a big platform they believe in and we believe in it too, so we're going to support it with our key franchises."

Despite a hot launch in March, sales of 3DS tailed off badly in April. Nintendo sold 400,000 units following the machine's U.S. launch in late March, but April sales fell to less than half that. Retailer GameStop recently expressed disappointment with 3DS sales, cutting its own sales forecasts.

Some have expressed doubt that the 3D stereoscopic machine can thrive at its $250 price, especially in a hostile competitive environment dominated by ubiquitous handheld devices like Android phones and iPads, running games that are cheap or free.

But Choi said Nintendo should resist calls to cut the price. "The moment you cut the price of the item the perceived value goes down. We'd love to have them retain the price because it keeps the premium status of that product and it allows us to bring premium games to that market."

A recent survey by Goo Research asked consumers why they had not yet bought the system. The number one reason was price.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata recently told investors, "We recognize that we are in a situation where we need to step up our efforts to further promote the spread of Nintendo 3DS."

At E3 Nintendo announced new 3DS games likely to fire up enthusiasm, including Star Fox 64 3D, Super Mario Bros. 3D and Mario Kart 3D. Namco Bandai has unveiled Ace Combat 3 and Pac-Man Party for 3DS as well as a Tekken game. Choi said, "We''re bringing some of our most cherished IPs to the 3DS."

Earlier this week, U.S. chief Reggie Fils-Aime, told Dow Jones Newswires, "To move a system, you need to have a pace of activity and a series of continuous launches that compels a consumer to say, 'I gotta have this'. For us, that pace starts now."

Choi added, "I think 3DS is going to have a very big Holiday season this year. Just look at the lineup Nintendo is planning. I think Nintendo feels confident. They're not going to take their foot off the pedal."

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Harlan Sumgui
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It would be interesting to know if the R&D and product cost associated with 3D were put into some other area on the new handheld, if it would be selling better.

I just don't think 3d is a compelling enough feature for 95% of consumers that they will actually pay extra for it.

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Its not that I myself don't want the new DS or that I think its too much, It just I can't afford it in this kind of economy. If it's going to be at that price its going to be a christmas affair for me.

Ujn Hunter
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The 3DS has more going against it than just the price... It's region locked, asymmetrical (unfriendly for left handed people), poorly scales original DS games, 3D gimmick vision that doesn't work for all people, and they jumped ship from the original DS far too soon. Plus it's overpriced.

Hakim Boukellif
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It's no more asymmetrical than the original DS (or any handheld that isn't the Lynx or Wonderswan for that matter), the scaling can be turned off and complaining that a stereoscopic effect doesn't work for people without stereoscopic vision is like complaining that the large majority of all games don't work for blind people.

I'll give you the region locking, though.

Ujn Hunter
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How is the original DS not symmetrical? You could use it with either Left or Right handed controls by using either the 4 directions on the D-pad or the 4 buttons on the other side. With the 3DS Left handed people get the shaft of not having an option to use an Analog stick.

Aaron Tabak
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All of those issues are valid, but I'm not convinced that they matter to a large portion of the prospective userbase. (The region locking and DS scaling DEFINITELY don't.)

"they jumped ship from the original DS far too soon"

This is a bizarre assertion - sales of DS hardware and software have been slowing for some time.

warren blyth
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I find the price irrelevant. To me it's a question of do I want to upgrade my iPad to iPad2? or do I want to upgrade my old DS to 3DS?

I will get the 3DS. No question. one day. Currently, I refuse to buy it until Kid Icarus Uprising comes out. That's a franchise I love, and find it lightly offensive that the "killer app" announced as the-must-have launch title at last year's E3, just keeps getting pushed back further and further.

I'm baffled by the idea that rereleasing the classic zelda game later this month is supposed to be a system seller. I loved that game's journey, but i've played that game's journey. there are too many new games coming out! I don't have time to replay that game!

Portable game devices need at least one game with "quick snack" game play, right? Many would say tetris is why gameboy took off. I'd say super street fighter is the only game that currently offers something like this for 3DS. Except I was scared away from the complicated-combos fighting genre years ago. StreetFighter is no tetris. I think this is why they aren't selling.

I'm kinda floored every gaming handheld (3DS, PSvita, iPad, whatever) doesn't come with tetris bundled in. Or some form of bite sized puzzle game, which you can play on trips. that is the core experience, right? Why don't they learn from the success of Wii Sports, and bundle the core killer app with the system?


p.s. I would wager sometime late 2012 or early 2013, after WiiU has established itself, Nintendo will announce a 3D game - which 4 people can enjoy! each using their own personal 3DS!

imagine: Namco releases Hot HD title (SouldCailber V?) that supports single player 3D on your PS3, or 4 player 3D on WiiU with 3DS. I think that will be an exciting moment.

... and in theory, there is no reason you couldn't have 4 3DS devices sharing an experience with a 3D HDtv, through WiiU, yeah?