Nintendo 3DS: Third Parties Still Have Reason To Worry
A price drop doesn't guarantee big sales, especially for $39.99 games.
Yesterday's surprise announcement, that Nintendo plans to dramatically reduce the price of 3DS, clearly benefited gamers. Those who already own the system will receive 20 free games (ten NES, ten GBA), while new buyers can purchase the system for $169.99 starting August 12.
Whether or not this helps Nintendo in the long-run remains to seen.
Third parties, meanwhile, are on the outside looking in. Based on the release calendar, most big name companies- including Activision and Capcom- plan to adopt a wait and see approach. Capcom has already thrown its support behind the system by releasing Super Street Fighter IV 3D and Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (with Resident Evil Revelations on the way), but the company recently cancelled Mega Man Legends 3 and its downloadable prologue, Prototype Version. Other publishers followed suit, with Activision nixing DJ Hero 3D and Ubisoft giving the axe to Assassin's Creed: Lost Legacy.
This leaves 2012 surprisingly sparse, and it could get worse. Third parties appear less enthused about 3DS than when it first debuted. Of course, unimpressive sales, cancellations and a plummeting stock will do that.
Bottom line, these companies have good reason to worry. Third parties have complained about selling games on Nintendo systems for years, and this time, they have a legitimate beef.
That said, it would be wise to avoid the handheld, at least for the time being.
Sure, 3DS offers a wealth of potential, from more power (compared to DS) to gyroscope controls. We've already seen impressive titles that maximize its strengths. Dead or Alive Dimensions, from Tecmo Koei, is one of the most impressive games the system has to offer.
These days, however, publishers would prefer to bet on a sure thing, that being the App Store and Android Marketplace. With tens of millions of handsets worldwide, developers can create low cost games and sell them at budget prices. The return on investment may be less, but that's relative when you consider console games cost in excess of 15 million to make, release and market. Here, it's digital. Apple's approval process and Angry Birds are the biggest hurdles, neither of which should be taken lightly, or course.
With this in mind, it's best for third parties to stay away from Nintendo's machine, at least for the time being. The days of blindly throwing support behind a product appear to be over.
Considering that, if 3DS experiences a sales spike that remains consistent throughout the holidays, these same companies would be wise to re-examine the platform.