Here I discuss some of the main points to consider when buying a Nintendo 3ds if you already have a ds.
Price – The current price is $249.99. Thats quite a high price, but then the 3DS was only released about a week ago! Even so, this price does seem quite significant, especially against the competition of the ipod touch. Breaking it down and looking at previous Nintendo console cycles, we can quite easily see Nintendo like to base their console output on 5 year cycles. This means they bring out a new product (like the nintendo 4ds say!) every five years. The easy maths then amounts to:
$250/5 years = $50 a year.
So buying it right now works out to be $50 a year.
Now thats about $5 a month. Not Bad!.
However, I think the price will drop fairly quickly as no one seems to be buying and the games are getting average at best reviews from the main game review websites. I would suspect it will try to get below $200, possibly hitting the $199 mark come September in preparation for the christmas rush. In fact, I would predict a $249.99 bundle with the new Zelda game a high likelihood event.
Doing the maths again for that situation works out to be about $50 a year again. For this reason, i’d say buy now or later, either way, its at least an ok deal (ie. not bad). Personally, my wallet is on hold on this one. The price will drop post summer and Zelda will be out then too. Worth waiting for? I say yes.
3DS 3D functionality and camera. I’ve put these together because they’re equally gimmicky and useless once it comes down to it. On my real world play test of the 3DS I suffered quite significant headaches due to the 3D effect, which I then turned off. It was nice to play around with though, but not for me and not really suitable for most I would say.
The camera, while again, quite a nice feature at first, just doesn’t seem to do much (hey its a camera! what did you expect). I guess we have had so much in the way of camera functionality on just about everything we buy these days that its left us quite spoiled with out 8MP mobile phone cameras. For this reason and the above, i’d say ignore the camera and 3d effects as a selling point.
Which leaves us with games (quality and price) and the Nintendo 3DS – Future of the Product (apple and newpsp 2 – NGP2).
Games – The biggest single factor! and yet, a significantly underwhelming initial lineup has left it looking quite limp in comparison to the ipod touch which it directly competes against. The quality is lacking due to the sheer volume shoveled onto the Apple app store. In the end, with 100,000 apps you’re going to find a few gems hidden in there. Whereas with the current 3ds lineup of 16 or so games there is not much to set the world alight. Hopefully we’ll see an increasing level of quality as that is the only factor under Nintendos control that would justify the super high price tags at present.
Games price – $40-$50 for a video game in this day and age is ridiculous. Especially as mentioned above with the app store having been a significant market force in the last few years. You can get $1-5 gems on their, with thorough reviews and multiple platforms to play it on (ipad, ipod touch and of course the iphone). Nintendo WILL be lowering the price to combat low sales. Their is simply no other way around it. I expect $30 as the new game price by Christmas, with new games as low as $10 appearing in the shovel ware department.
Lastly, since we’ve worked with a $50 a year example above:
Will the nintendo 3ds last as long as its predecessor the ds/dslite/dsxl?
Sadly, I think not. Low sales already are not looking very good. People have tightened their belts and are spending carefully. An overpriced games machine that is made just for games is not a good purchase. If it could play movies, then yes I would place it under possible buy. If it had significant musical functionality, again a possible buy. But it is made for games. and they’re just not that good right now!
Then there is the new psp2. Sony have piled on a huge number of features and functionality into this device. from front and back touchscreen, very powerful graphics capabilities and dual analogues. They’re making a last ditch attempt to win over the true gamers. They could certainly do it, but the economist in me thinks not. They’ll do the pricing curve thing again not realizing or truthfully facing/admitting their single digit market share of the handheld video game/entertainment device market.
If the Sony psp2 is to survive, they NEED to realize their market share is now miniscule. This would then lead to them not pricing the product at a significant premium as their current pricing models will tell them. This in turn will then lead to a low delicious price, leading to increased market share, leading to profitability on the games front. Which is where it matters most. But thats not going to happen as they have their stock holders to please and associated fiduciary responsibilities.
Finally, and in conclusion, should you get a Nintendo 3ds right now from Amazon?
- You like Nintendo games.
- $50 a year is acceptable (consider the hours/days/months of entertainment depending on how seriously you game with the 3ds!).
- You like any of the initial lineup of games (Street fighter 4 (3DS) seems to be the biggest hit so far).