Please Welcome the 3DS‚Ä¶
Nintendo’s upcoming handheld, the 3DS, will be arriving before we know it. The company has recently announced the official Japanese launch details such as the date and suggested retail price, and gamers are eagerly anticipating the release of the new handheld. To say that the 3DS isn’t a great new innovation in handheld gaming would be severely underestimating what has the potential to be an amazing piece of hardware. However, we don’t know how much of this can be done without the need to stay ahead of the competition.
The iPhone Never Quite Seemed Like a Threat for Nintendo
Many of us–even some of the writers at iSmashPhone–didn’t see the iPhone becoming a strong gaming platform. It was a phone, and most of us had only devices like the N-Gage in our memories. Those of you who remember the N-Gage had a pretty good reason to be skeptical of the iPhone as a gaming device. Wow, we were wrong. Since then, the iPhone has been able to strong arm its way into the game market and cement itself a firm position as a true handheld gaming device. And it seemed to happen before we realized it.
It seems that some of the major game companies, even Nintendo, the leader of the handheld gaming industry, was caught by surprise. Satoru Iwata, current president of Nintendo Co. Ltd. has said in the past that he did not view the iPhone and the iPad as competition. Perhaps he just had to come up with an answer on the spot, but it was by then apparent that the iPhone was making a dent in the handheld market.
Even Nintendo had to Acknowledge the presence of the iPhone as a Gaming Platform
Eventually, even Iwata-san couldn’t ignore the impact of Apple’s phone-turned-gaming machine. The App Store put some great games out there by developers who otherwise may never have had the chance to show their work. It also offered many simpler, more casual-based games at prices that were enticing to even the most frugal gamer.
Services like DSiWare showed the Nintendo was eager to get into the digital distribution system (which wasn’t new to them, they had already been doing it on the Wii) but even now, Nintendo often seems to choose DSiWare over WiiWare and their Virtual Console service when it comes to content on their digital distribution platform, perhaps a sign of Apple’s impact on the handheld market.
Time to respond
Nintendo isn’t going to let opportunity slip by. They are going to be releasing the first 3D handheld gaming machine. Would this have happened had it not been for the iPhone? Probably. Did the iPhone help keep Nintendo on its toes and cause them to push harder for a device that stood out in the crowd? This sounds like the case.
We don’t doubt that in an attempt to keep their dual-screened handheld ahead of the PSP and the iPhone, Nintendo chose to give fans a glasses-free 3D experience. Of course we all know that it all comes down to software, but even Nintendo knows this. Their past systems have shown that your machine doesn’t have to display the strongest graphics to come out on top. Just look at the Wii and the DS. Even former NCL president Hiroshi Yamauchi has said in the past that it’s about software and that hardware comes second, “If you want to know how Nintendo picks people, it’s about having a ‘software orientation.'”
No matter what, it’s about the software‚Ä¶
That still holds true today, Nintendo understands that it will take more than a pretty 3D screen to succeed. The iPhone may have just been that extra push they needed to truly make them realize that they will continually have to innovate in the handheld market to maintain their place. Luckily, there is a place for every type of gamer.