Nintendo is the gaming world’s Lebron James. What do I mean by that? Take a listen.
A ton of Nintendo news dropped today. Release dates for various games like Wind Waker HD (September 20 digitally, October 4 physical), Super Mario 3D Land (November 22), Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Nov. 22), and more. However, two pieces of news stick out: a $50 price drop for the Wii U just in time for the holidays, and a brand new handheld called the 2DS, pictured below:
Now, at first the system does look odd: doesn’t fold like the other DS systems, strange shoulder button placement, etc. I agree it’s strange, but once details came out about this new handheld, the reasons for it make total sense. For those unaware, that 2DS is a 3DS without the 3D: it plays all 3DS and DS games, has all of the same pre-loaded software like Find Mii and Face Raiders, and it even can take 3D pictures with the double front cameras, though they obviously won’t appear in 3D on this device. What’s more, the system checks in at $129, $40 less than the original 3DS and $70 less than the XL.
You may be asking what the point is, and that’s simple: when the 3DS launched, I was still in gaming retail. Dozens of worried parents would ask if the 3D capabilities of the 3DS would mess with their children’s eyesight. Some of them, even though I showed them how to turn the 3D off and assured them that no eyes would go crossed, still wouldn’t take the plunge, fearing that their kids would just turn the 3D on anyway. With the 2DS, Nintendo is telling those parents “we hear you, so here’s our solution: a cheaper system with no 3D that can play all of the latest games.” On top of that, the non-folding aspect of the 2DS also gets rid of the MOUNTAINS of broken-hinged DS systems I used to see every day. This thing even has a unique feature in that the entire screen is a touch screen separated by a piece of plastic. Take out 3D and broken hinges, insert full touch capabilities. Sweet! Oh, and it releases the same day as the next installments in the Pokemon franchise, which may be a bit popular to young kids.
It’s a perfect way to allow those younger kids to get in on the fun without also segregating the normal gamer crowds, as we’ll just continue on with our normal 3DS handhelds. No harm, no foul…except if Twitter is to be believed, this is the worst decision of all time. Everything from “this is stupid” to “why Nintendo why” to “*expletive* *expletive* *expletive* *expletive* Nintendo *expletive* *expletive*.”
The reaction boggles my mind. Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinions. Yes, I don’t have to agree with it. However, it’s worth talking about why these people feel this way. Are they afraid Nintendo is replacing the 3DS with this? That’s not happening. Do they not understand that Nintendo isn’t going after everyone, just the kids with this device? Could be.
How about Nintendo can do no right? Yeah, that sounds right.
Remember when the 3DS was selling gangbusters (and probably still will)? Remember when the system was releasing hit after hit after hit and everyone raved about how strong it was compared to the Wii U? Do we really think that making a kid-friendly system that parents won’t have to worry about will impact 3DS sales negatively? If anything, this will send software sales through the roof! Launching the system the same day as Pokemon X and Y makes even more sense, as kids who are upgrading to the 3DS for Pokemon just made their arguments stronger. What is the problem?
To further my point, the majority of Tweets I saw about the $50 Wii U price drop were “it’s not enough” or “now it’s the same price as the white one, who cares?” Now we have a situation where people urged Nintendo to drop the price, they responded, and now it’s insufficient! What gives?
It seems Nintendo can do no right outside of its loyal fanatics, which makes them a perfect parallel for Lebron James. He’s the same way in the NBA, as fans outside of Miami (especially in Cleveland) still revile him for “The Decision” in 2010, even after he proved two NBA titles later that his move to Miami was the right one.
Maybe Nintendo should give King James a call for sponsorship; it’s a perfect fit.