Late last night (or very early this morning, whichever you want to call it) Nintendo Company Limited held a press conference in Japan to announce launch details for their upcoming 3DS.
North American launch details were sparse, aside from the announcement that the handheld would be available in March. We didn’t hear an exact date, and we don’t know the price. Still, it gives us a bit of an idea as to what to expect, and the fact that Nintendo is missing the critical holiday season with the launch of the device is a bit strange. However, there may be a reason for that. A report by MF Global FXA Securities analyst Jay Defibaugh claims that NCL president Satoru Iwata aimed for a year-end release for the new handhelf, but it was delayed a few months due to concerns of being unable to meet demand.
Still, no matter how you cut it, that is several months worth of sales for the device. Especially in North America, where we will be coming across the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday. Then there is December, when console sales easily double for the month.
Giving Apple the Holiday Season
Apple has launched their new line of iDevices, as dictated by their yearly tradition. Unfortunately for Nintendo, this is exactly the kind of lead Apple wants in the states. The iPod Touch and no doubt the iPad will both be hot items this holiday season, even more so now thanks to the additional features that virtually make the iPod Touch an all-in-one device: camera for both video and photos, games, music, Netflix, video chat–it’s all there. The gamers who buy those will definitely be playing their iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad games for the next few months.
We know that there is no changing Nintendo’s launch plans, but the truth of the matter is this: it matters. Nintendo stock was soaring the day leading up to the event, but the company is seeing a sizable drop after the announcement.
Investors aren’t gamers, they just want to see the device hit before the holidays. Many gamers may argue that this will help strengthen the launch. Still, we are positive that launch games won’t be a huge problem. If the device were released this year, there is no doubt in our minds that every single unit would fly off the shelves at least a week before Christmas. In short, it will sell at launch, games or no games.
No Matter What, Both Should Do Well, But…
We know that the 3DS will almost be a guaranteed success, but we can’t help but feel that they have chosen to miss a critical part of the year. One that will give Apple plenty of time to sell units that could have been a 3DS and only further market their devices as a gaming platform.