Nintendo aren’t in dire straits at all. Despite recent rumours, their handheld consoles are incredibly popular with a cracking library both out currently and on the horizon.
That said: you can’t please everyone, and Nintendo have taken a certain direction recently which really doesn’t appeal to everyone. They can appear to be a little bit slow on the uptake – coming off as delayed and backwards in today’s fast moving gaming atmosphere. The Vita, though not selling nearly as well as the 3DS, is very popular with those who own one – and I’d love to delve into what Nintendo and the 3DS can learn from the Vita’s success with it’s fans, to improve it’s standing with the gaming community.
- Every game has it’s price
The Nintendo eShop is a fine thing. It’s relatively quick, it’s relatively easy to use, and there’s a relatively decent range of demos. Relatively. All this means absolutely nothing when the ludicrous prices of the eShop are taken into account. The PSN store has sales regularly with some absolutely cracking prices. The PSN store has PlayStation Plus – genuinely the best deal I have ever seen in gaming. Nintendo eShop still charges £39.99 for Star Fox 3D, a remake of a 15 year old N64 game. I mean really?! The pricing structure of the eShop just seems stupendously high. There is very little reason to delve into the back-catalogue digitally when everything on there is is so goddam expensive. Especially without any AAA games on sale price, or the lack of a PS Plus equivalent. If Nintendo wish for users to go digital, they need to really take a long hard look at themselves and their eShop prices. We spoke on this weeks’ podcast about how almost half of all Vita sales are digital – I’d be really curious to see what Nintendo’s numbers were on the same; I’d bet it’s lower.
- Embracing your past
Why do fans love Nintendo? Well it’s a combination: their sense of fun, their innovative risks, and the quality of the titles they pump out. I do feel however, that almost every Nintendo fan over the age of 20 is partly in it for the nostalgia. I feel like I owe Nintendo something, thanks to the many hours they gave me and my brothers, sat round the N64 playing GoldenEye. I always look back on my earlier years with Nintendo fondly. So why has this nostalgia not been properly monetised? You want to know how many PS1 titles are playable on the PS Vita? A f*cking ton is how many. The N64, which was around at the same time as the PS1, has TWO playable titles on the 3DS – both £40 3D remakes. There are a fair few more on the Wii, but even then none of these have made the jump to 3DS. One of the best things about PSN is how Sony have prioritised making PS1 titles playable on all their major platforms – I wish Nintendo had this sense of priority with their huge wealth of past titles. Why can’t we play SNES games on the 3DS? The lack of proper functioning VC games is a real disappointment at this point in the 3DS’ lifetime and I really hope that it is sorted in the future.
- Linking up
Let me tell you a story. Last December, during my day at work, a friend notified me that PayDay 2 was on sale on the PSN store, due to expire at midnight. “Oh!”, said I, “quite the bargain!”. I turned on my phone, opened up Sony’s PlayStation app, bought the game, and it was downloaded by the time I got home. Another story! The night before I bought my Vita, I loaded up the PS3 PSN store and downloaded a selection of Vita titles. By the time my Vita was in my snug little hands, I could drag over my games from PS3 to PS Vita, and play them near straight away. The 3DS eShop barely talks to anything. You can share your balance over the WiiU eShop (only a recent addition mind) and that’s it. No extra apps, no online checking, no nothing. It’s very frustrating as someone who owns both systems to have to go back to the ultra simple 3DS digital purchasing system when the PlayStation’s Vita store works with so many different interfaces. Even just the ability to check sales on the go would be a huge boon – or one day, just one day – maybe even a Mobile App. A man can dream can’t he?
- Online is all fine
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is my favourite 3DS game. It looks brilliant, it plays spectacularly, and there’s hours and hours of content. And yet I can’t even play it with friends more than 10m away. Nintendo seem to embrace this 90’s idea of friends sat round the living room in Sepia, chortling, drinking panda pops and playing games together. Now whilst it’s lovely to have that idea, it’s also good to have the alternative: being able to sit in your room in the dark smelling of cheese crisps and Lucozade whilst playing with your chums online. It would be great if Nintendo learned to fully embrace playing online by the end of this handheld gen – the Vita does it extra-ordinarily well, with a real focus on playing online – and I look forward to Nintendo picking up steam with it with titles coming on later in the year. To be honest I’m still pretty grumpy about the messaging system being taken down from 3DS – integral to my 3DS online experience – and I’d love for them to bring something similar back.
- ACCOUNTS SYSTEM
Does anything even need to be said about this that hasn’t already been said? I can sign in to my PSN account on my PSP, Vita, PS3, PS4, and PC. Myself and many, many, 3DS fans would adore a full, sign in based, purchase history remembering account system. The Vita has it in spades. The 3DS would gain much respect from fans if it implemented a full account system. We can only hope, eh?
So there you have it – there’s what I think Nintendo can learn from Sony to improve their standing with the always cynical gaming community – and hopefully from there, even more purchases will come their way! It’s still a fantastic time to be a 3DS owner – and the games library is magnificent. I just hope they can make some changes to get their more hardcore audience back.
Look out for part two of these articles later on!
Edit: part two is up and it is glorious!