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August 28, 2013 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Nintendo, already no stranger to customer confusion over its consoles' names, "will be launching a new portable gaming system in October. It's called the Nintendo 2DS. It's a 3DS without the 3D, and it's shaped like a thin piece of cake."

Nintendo will be launching the kid-oriented 2DS alongside Pokemon X and Y.
posted by ArmyOfKittens (108 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
It looks silly, and betrays one of the reasons to own the device.
It will sell for $129.
It will make them a lot of money.
posted by zabuni at 9:29 AM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow. It's just too stupid looking. What the hell were they thinking. :(
posted by yeoz at 9:32 AM on August 28, 2013


Looks cheap, amazingly pocket-unfriendly and the controls are far too high up on the device.

Their worst idea since the Wii Mini.
posted by porn in the woods at 9:33 AM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Actually now you're reminded me the Wii Mini exists, they do look suspiciously similar. It's like there's some rogue department within Nintendo that just keeps producing these things and nobody can either find or stop them.
posted by emmtee at 9:35 AM on August 28, 2013 [16 favorites]


I have no idea why they'd think it's a good idea to remove the hinge. I'd strongly consider picking one up to replace my aging DS and play the new Phoenix Wright games if it was pocket-friendly.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:35 AM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Still less dumb than removing component video out and storage space for WiiWare games in the Wii Mini, though, this is true.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:36 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


In other (better) Nintendo news:
Wii U drops $50 effective Sept. 20
Release dates for Fall titles announced
posted by porn in the woods at 9:38 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


My reaction when I first heard they were doing a cheaper 3DS with no 3D -- which was about eighteen minutes ago -- was that it'd be great to pick up a cheap second machine for two-player games like Monster Hunter.

But looking at the thing I can't imagine they'll make a frankenstick to go with it. It'd have to be enormous!

In its favour it looks slightly less horrifically uncomfortable to hold than the previous DS and 3DS variants.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:38 AM on August 28, 2013


Sorry, unabashed joy here from the stereo-blind. Finally I can buy a system capable of playing the new Professor Layton game, without feeling like I'm shelling out extra dough for a feature that I am physically incapable of enjoying.

Hooray for 2D!

(ok, it looks kinda lame, but, again, one does not focus on how cool one looks when one is guiding a detective and his boy sidekick around charmingly drawn locals, solving puzzles. this is not an activity for the cool)
posted by artichoke_enthusiast at 9:39 AM on August 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


emmtee: "Actually now you're reminded me the Wii Mini exists, they do look suspiciously similar. It's like there's some rogue department within Nintendo that just keeps producing these things and nobody can either find or stop them."

Remeber the Micro Gameboy? Same people, I bet.

I wonder why they're cutting out stereo sound. That seems bizarre. Get it together, Nintendo, and stop grabassing it.
posted by boo_radley at 9:39 AM on August 28, 2013


It's almost like it's designed to have scratches all over both screens inside a week.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:40 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I could see this taking off really well if the lowest-priced 3DS was over $200, but it's like $170. Though if this thing drops down to $99 by Christmas, it'll go like gangbusters.

Remeber the Micro Gameboy? Same people, I bet.

The Micro is the best version of the Game Boy ever, though.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:41 AM on August 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm picturing Iwata walking the corridors with a shotgun, following the trail of textured black plastic and red surround fragments.
posted by emmtee at 9:41 AM on August 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm kinda partial to the Advance SP. Clamshell!
posted by box at 9:44 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


boo_radley: "I wonder why they're cutting out stereo sound. That seems bizarre. Get it together, Nintendo, and stop grabassing it."

That's a real shame. I barely use the 3D mode on ours any more -- I'm mainly playing Monster Hunter right now, which is a brilliant game with a slightly iffy camera, and when the point of view suddenly goes inside the monster you're fighting if you have 3D on at the time it feels like you've just been turned inside out -- but the surprisingly full and lush stereo speakers really are a nice feature.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:44 AM on August 28, 2013


You know those doggy chew toys that are designed to resemble actual objects—newspapers, hamburgers, key rings, etc.?
This kind of looks like it could be that.

(I wonder if it squeaks when you squeeze it?)
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:47 AM on August 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


The split among my friends seems to be confusion from those who don't have kids and delight from those wanting a more-durable, cheaper Pokemon machine for the tots.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:48 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. It's just too stupid looking. What the hell were they thinking. :(

It looks like a nice sturdy 70/80s desktop calculator. Therefore it is the best of all shapes
posted by dng at 9:52 AM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Although the lack of a hinged lid means I won't be able to use it as the greatest stop motion animation tool ever invented any more.
posted by dng at 9:56 AM on August 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Odd. But I guess you gotta do what you gotta do to get the price down. I suspect this thing has a single circuit board internally which would be a big cost savings but it does look... pretty weird. But it's all about costs.
posted by GuyZero at 9:57 AM on August 28, 2013


Also, Wii U price drop? Hm. Hmmmmmm.
posted by GuyZero at 9:58 AM on August 28, 2013


Explanation for the design:

The 2DS has a single screen partially covered by the "frames" in the case. One big screen is less expensive to make than two small ones.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:58 AM on August 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm sorry, the same public that loves iPads is complaining about the "pocket unfriendly" qualities of something?
posted by DU at 10:00 AM on August 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Nintendo, stahp. Just make games and stop making hardware. The Wii U is a disaster. The Wii itself was a novelty, but people tired of it long ago. Mobile, esp. iOS kills your handhelds.

Just make some good Zelda games for next gen systems, maybe a new Mario Kart, and fade away from hardware.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:00 AM on August 28, 2013


I'm sorry, the same public that loves iPads is complaining about the "pocket unfriendly" qualities of something?

Well, there's a reason my tablet lives in a folding case with a cover.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:02 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just make games and stop making hardware.

Indeed. One day I will mourn playing Super Smash Brothers Melee and Brawl on that excellent GameCube controller, but would settle for playing the next iteration on an Xbox One/PS 4 pad.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:02 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, the same public that loves iPads is complaining about the "pocket unfriendly" qualities of something?

We want some of our things, like our phones and our portable gaming devices, to fit in our pockets. We're OK with other things, like our laptops and tablets, fitting in out bags.

Is that so hard to imagine?
posted by Aizkolari at 10:03 AM on August 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


The Wii itself was a novelty, but people tired of it long ago. [...] Just make some good Zelda games for next gen systems, maybe a new Mario Kart, and fade away from hardware.

The Wii outsold its competitors almost every single month and made Nintendo a profit on every sale, rather than being sold at a loss like the 360 and PS3.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:04 AM on August 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


We want some of our things, like our phones and our portable gaming devices, to fit in our pockets. We're OK with other things, like our laptops and tablets, fitting in out bags.

s/Nintendo 2DS/Nintendo Tablii/g

problem solved.
posted by DU at 10:08 AM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


As someone who had the hinge on his DS broken by a 3 year old, who sees how much little kids love DSs, (my two cousins are inseparable from theirs) this is a genius idea.

Kids (and therefore their parents) aren't bothered about scratches or dents, they are bothered when it breaks.
posted by chrispy108 at 10:09 AM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't even have kids yet and never used my DS that much but the hinges always struck me as really delicate. This makes sense to me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:11 AM on August 28, 2013


On our 3DS the screen wobbles quite a bit if you're not sitting stock still, and has done since we got it. It's a lovely little thing, but solid it's not.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:13 AM on August 28, 2013


Also I can kind of see the benefit of a larger form factor in a device that's likely going to be marketed to kids and their parents. This seems like it would be harder to leave behind grandma's couch cushions, or whatever.

Sometimes I feel like people really don't dig how kid friendly Nintendo has continued to be. But I like it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:15 AM on August 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


emmtee: It's like there's some rogue department within Nintendo that just keeps producing these things and nobody can either find or stop them."

That is a very entertaining mental image and now I want to write that story: Rogue department in a consumer electronics company that keeps designing weird/funny variants and somehow getting them into the fabrication/distribution chain and cannot be stopped because the rest of the company can't find or get at them. Alternate dimensions may be involved.

Actually, I am not good at writing fiction, but I want someone good at it to write that story. Possibly Charlie Stross or Neal Stephenson.
posted by seyirci at 10:16 AM on August 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Avram Davidson could have written that story well.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:20 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Heinlein almost wrote that story already. "And They Built A Crooked Product" maybe.
posted by DU at 10:28 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd like to deputize Esther Friesner, personally.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:28 AM on August 28, 2013


Pokemon machine

Never thought of this before, but seeing those two words together makes me think that a single-purpose handheld just for Pokemon games would do very, very well. Especially if it came in X number of different varieties, each with special in-game abilities.
posted by jbickers at 10:36 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


jbickers: "Never thought of this before, but seeing those two words together makes me think that a single-purpose handheld just for Pokemon games would do very, very well. Especially if it came in X number of different varieties, each with special in-game abilities."

The original Digital Monster (née Digimon) toys were exactly this. Made by the same people who did Tamagotchi, in the dark age of 1997 when Tamagotchi was a thing.

I think they actually predate Pokémon, but had the misfortune to come out later in the USA.
posted by LogicalDash at 10:46 AM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you love RPGs, the 3DS is where all the revolutionary stuff is happening. The deepest, funnest RPG experiences of the past few years have been in portable gaming: the Etrian Odyssey series, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Fire Emblem, Dragon Quest X, Monster Hunter, and more. The 3D is nearly unusable for me, so I bought the system in spite of the feature, not because of it. But it's really interesting how I moved from being exclusively a console gamer to barely touching those systems - I basically only play the 3DS now, because that's where the lengthy, interesting games are these days.
posted by naju at 10:53 AM on August 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


We'll probably get one of these. My 6 year old has been asking for a 3DS for a year but we said no due to the 3D warnings. Also 3D makes me sick to my stomach so I wouldn't have been able to use it.

A guy next to me at work is a big gamer (all the consoles plus PC) and he keeps the 3D on his 3DS turned off anyway. He also raves about how much he loves the Wii U and especially the giant controller - go figure. He says it's good for web surfing as well.
posted by freecellwizard at 10:56 AM on August 28, 2013


I have had two DSes, and both have succumbed to broken hinges that made them impossible to fully close. Count me in favor of this.
posted by JHarris at 11:01 AM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was surprised by how much I love the 3D. I've loved that look ever since ViewMaster. It just makes everything more fun (for me).
posted by sineater at 11:02 AM on August 28, 2013


He also raves about how much he loves the Wii U and especially the giant controller - go figure. He says it's good for web surfing as well.

I vouch for these things as well. The browser, while no Firefox, is surprisingly capable. I find the Wii U's killer app, however, to be YouTube. I set up a play list of MST3K episodes, I start it going at an episode I've not seen recently, and it's almost like Comedy Central was cool again.

Also, Earthbound.
posted by JHarris at 11:04 AM on August 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also (not to seem like I'm banging Nintendo's drum too loudly):

I have had two Nexus 7s, and they both have cracked screens from taking no impact; the unit has enough torsion with its plasticy back that just having it in my pocket cracked the screen! One of those I returned and they repaired it for free -- and the replacement's screen cracked after a fall of one foot.

Say what you want about Nintendo (I'll even agree with some of it), but the Wii U pad's screen is solid.
posted by JHarris at 11:08 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


My 6 year old has been asking for a 3DS for a year but we said no due to the 3D warnings.

You can kill that option with parental controls, btw, as well as the store and any other online interactions.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:08 AM on August 28, 2013


Actually now you're reminded me the Wii Mini exists, they do look suspiciously similar. It's like there's some rogue department within Nintendo that just keeps producing these things and nobody can either find or stop them.

Nintendo thrives on experimenting with its consoles in order to hit maximum market coverage. When the Nintendo DSI came out there were lots of people who were saying it was an unnecessary revamp and why get rid of the Game Boy Advance cartridge slot anyway? Why would you do that? But the answer was "because lots of people didn't care about playing old GBA games on their DSes, and new customers especially didn't care about playing old GBA games they didn't own on their DSes" and the DSI made Nintendo lots of money.

Hell, the 3DS drew a lot of pre-launch criticism itself because people were all "nobody needs a Nintendo now, because smartphones" (and those people are still around, as you can see by this very thread) but thirty million 3DSes later Nintendo has a lot of money and those people are still wrong.

Basically, every Nintendo product ever has drawn criticism pre-launch. Sometimes that criticism is justified, because Nintendo treats most of its product launches the same: cautious entry, then ramp up production super-fast if it turns out to be hot. Nintendo can have five Game Boy Micros or Virtual Boys for every DS and they still laugh all the way to the bank because their successes vastly outweigh their failures, and they use their failures as teaching experiences - there's a lot of Game Boy Micro design elements in the DSI, for example.

Nintendo won't make a lot of money on the Wii U, most likely, but they're probably not going to lose that much money (if any - Nintendo doesn't treat its consoles as loss leaders, remember) and they can afford to not have the Wii U be a smash hit because Nintendo, more than any other gaming company, really thinks about what gaming is - the Wii U has so many widgets and doodads that in many ways it looks like a testing ground for whatever the ninth-generation Nintendo console ends up being. They'll take what worked out of the U, move on to the Wii3 ("no de-commish Wii3" - sorry) or whatever, and that one will probably be quite successful. While they're doing that, they'll probably turn the next major portable system they design into a phone, because why the hell not.
posted by mightygodking at 11:33 AM on August 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


The Wii outsold its competitors almost every single month and made Nintendo a profit on every sale, rather than being sold at a loss like the 360 and PS3.
Yeah, the Nintendo erasure within gaming culture is really weird. Everyone acts like the Wii was a financial failure when it was the only successful console of its generation; hardly anyone even acknowledges that the Wii U exists or that it has a number of gamer-targeted upcoming games. Which, speaking of:

No More Heroes (/2)
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
Muramasa
Earth Seeker
Opoona
Fragile
Captain Rainbow
Xenoblade
The Last Story (i.e. The Actual Final Fantasy XII)
Pandora's Tower
Kirby's Epic Yarn
Sin & Punishment 2 (and the first on virtual console)
Endless Ocean (/2)
NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams
Mad World
Lost in Shadow
Rune Factory
...and an odd mix Marios, Zeldas, GameCube and virtual console games.

Um. This is just off the top of my head and glancing at my shelf. Gamers are really weird about Nintendo and the Wii and I don't understand it at all. It seems to be a grudge regarding Nintendo's trying to expand its audience, but it's not like anyone ever stopped making gamer-targeted games for any of their systems (the 3/DS are both pretty much the JRPG staples now, as noted above) and it's not as if the rest of the industry hasn't been aggressively obsessing over appealing to teenage boys to the exclusion of everyone else on the planet. I'm not a "fangirl," probably won't ever be getting a Wii U or a 3DS (or a 2DS), but these are still good platforms. I bought a Wii specifically because the other two platforms just didn't have enough that interested me to justify a purchase.
posted by byanyothername at 11:33 AM on August 28, 2013 [15 favorites]


"no de-commish Wii3"
♥ ❤ ♥
posted by byanyothername at 11:37 AM on August 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


"nobody needs a Nintendo now, because smartphones" (and those people are still around, as you can see by this very thread)

Heh, using that line of reasoning we traded our DSi and games for Ticket To Ride Europe three days ago. But now I know where Ezerum is, so I still think I came out ahead.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:41 AM on August 28, 2013


Which, speaking of:

Now I have a new list of games to want. Thanks! (no really, everything on that list sounds awesome)

One of the frustrations of being a casual gamer with girly, old school tastes is that I don't hear about the games I really want to play very often at all.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:49 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


So Nintendo is the gaming world's Nokia?

And I'd definitely put the power button right where will my hand rest...
posted by bdz at 11:52 AM on August 28, 2013


(FWIW the Wii U was supposedly selling at a loss even before this $50 price cut)

I'm actually really looking forward to picking up a Wii U in the near future, regardless - between the Wonderful 101, Pikmin, a new 3D Mario and the sequel to the Wii Donkey Kong platformer this year (oh and Super Luigi ILULUIGI) it's pretty much crossed the threshold of exclusives I'd like to play, and that's even without Bayonetta 2, Mario Kart, Smash Bros etc to come. And god, that's not even mentioning 1080p Monster Hunter luring me siren-like onto the rocks of spending a million more hours with it.

My word though Nintendo, sort out an account system for online purchases already, you cannot possibly claim to 'not have solved' it yet when everyone else has had one this whole generation. Apart from the free copy of Animal Crossing we got for buying three cartridge games this year, I will never ever touch the Nintendo eshop until I can be certain my purchases won't break or get stolen with the console.
posted by emmtee at 11:59 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Um. This is just off the top of my head and glancing at my shelf. Gamers are really weird about Nintendo and the Wii and I don't understand it at all. It seems to be a grudge regarding Nintendo's trying to expand its audience, but it's not like anyone ever stopped making gamer-targeted games for any of their systems (the 3/DS are both pretty much the JRPG staples now, as noted above) and it's not as if the rest of the industry hasn't been aggressively obsessing over appealing to teenage boys to the exclusion of everyone else on the planet

The only reason the 3ds is home to JRPGs is that HD has absolutely massacred Japanese game companies, in terms of cost and money overruns. Squareenix makes the majority of its money (when it makes money) through its purchase of Eidos, and mobile phone collectible card games.

Nintendo gets the ire of gamers because it continually chooses technologies and formats that are optimal for the types of games Nintendo makes, often to the detriment of other types of games. Twice they have created underpowered consoles, which means that ports have to be heavily changed in order to be on the device. Several of the titles on your list only came after fan outcry.
posted by zabuni at 12:21 PM on August 28, 2013


Wii3

Wiii.
posted by NMcCoy at 12:41 PM on August 28, 2013


I'm sure Nintendo would prefer it if third-party developers would just keep their freaking budgets down and choose gameplay over wringing every last ounce of power out of the new consoles' GPUs, but (a) that's not going to happen because GRAPHIX and (b) even then ports would still be FUBAR because the company that made gamepads happen now thinks standardized control schemes are for wimps.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:44 PM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Say what you want about Nintendo (I'll even agree with some of it), but the Wii U pad's screen is solid.

That's because the Wii U's touchscreen is a plastic, resistive touchscreen as opposed to the glass, capacitive touchscreens that we're so used to in our phones and tablets now.
posted by InsanePenguin at 12:46 PM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


(a) that's not going to happen because GRAPHIX

I don't know. I greatly prefer indie games to AAA-titles, although that's nothing new, but it's increasingly become a growing thing among other gamers. Nintendo even pushes indie games ("Join The Indie Revolution") on the Wii U eStore, and those typically require much less capable hardware.

That's because the Wii U's touchscreen is a plastic, resistive touchscreen as opposed to the glass, capacitive touchscreens that we're so used to in our phones and tablets now.

Yes, I know. Being in the possession of two Nexus 7s with cracked screens from normal use, one with a half-dead touchscreen and the other screen entirely dead, I see how durable those screens can be.
posted by JHarris at 12:54 PM on August 28, 2013


I don't know. I greatly prefer indie games to AAA-titles, although that's nothing new, but it's increasingly become a growing thing among other gamers.

It's good that Nintendo's not doing nothing in that area, but they face a lot of competition though, given the way Sony's going about the PS4's relationship to indie gaming, and... whatever the hell Microsoft decides to do once they've decided to stop changing their minds all the time in response to Sony.

The PS4 seems like it'd be easier for a small team or one-man place to develop for given the hardware involved than the Wii U. Maybe I'm wrong about that though.
posted by sparkletone at 12:59 PM on August 28, 2013


The Wii outsold its competitors almost every single month

Stopped being true years ago.

Nintendo doesn't treat its consoles as loss leaders, remember

The Wii U has been a loss leader from day one.

The Wii was great and Nintendo had momentum and mindshare, but they basically squandered it and now the Wii U has been pretty much an unmitigated disaster from the start. They're still dominating the handheld market though and honestly that seems to be where they're putting the most resources.

The PS4 seems like it'd be easier for a small team or one-man place to develop for given the hardware involved than the Wii U.

Yeah, there were lots of indie darlings on the Wii but nowadays it's all about Steam/PC or PS3/4/Vita (or occasionally still the 360).

And for all the (deserved) criticism of mainstream AAA gaming with its myriad franchise sequels, it's not like Nintendo is spinning new IPs these days. Zelda, Super Mario, Mario Kart, Smash Brothers, etc are all in their umpteenth iterations.
posted by kmz at 1:09 PM on August 28, 2013


(Oh, the Wii does still outsell something though, even today: the Wii U.)
posted by kmz at 1:12 PM on August 28, 2013


By the way, is it weird that I care more about the guy with the current world record for Wind Waker speed runs getting a copy of Wind Waker HD and streaming his play throughs of the game than about the thought of playing it myself?

There's a lot of games that are fun speed runs to watch, but Wind Waker I find oddly soothing to watch/use as background noise, and I'm curious as to what old and new glitches there will be.
posted by sparkletone at 1:14 PM on August 28, 2013


[...] whatever the hell Microsoft decides to do once they've decided to stop changing their minds all the time in response to Sony.

Eesh, yeah, I just - as in, like, last week - started to dip my toe into learning to write games as a hobby, and I'm already wondering if I should even bother with XNA or what. What a weird situation. "You know those extremely easy-to-use standardized tools for our platforms that we built a thriving indie developer community around? Yeah, no, forget about those."
posted by jason_steakums at 1:18 PM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do not care enough about the 3ds(already have one) to be moved by this. I only care about Nintendo officially announcing the Wind Waker HD Wii U deluxe bundle so I can preorder it. NINTENDO SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.
posted by Twain Device at 1:23 PM on August 28, 2013


"... the company make an overall profit but an operational loss, meaning its business had been partly bailed out by economic instruments, as opposed to profiting from selling video games and hardware."
posted by bdz at 1:26 PM on August 28, 2013


Apart from the free copy of Animal Crossing we got for buying three cartridge games this year, I will never ever touch the Nintendo eshop until I can be certain my purchases won't break or get stolen with the console.

Wait? What? I'd never looked into it as I don't have any of the relevant hardware, but I assumed their stuff worked like Xbox Live purchases that can be redownloaded more or less at will except maybe in the case of items that are no longer available from teh store?
posted by sparkletone at 1:39 PM on August 28, 2013




Yeah, it's pretty terrible. Apparently they'll transfer your purchases if you send them a broken system or a police report that it's stolen, but the purchases are tied to the console you purchase them on, not your account.

Reggie Fils-Aime has said that they're going to be moving to an account system, but they've not given a timetable. It probably won't be until they release their next generation console and handheld.
posted by zixyer at 1:45 PM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's ... somehow simultaneously horrifying and completely unsurprising given their history. Don't know why I'd expect sanity from them in that regard.
posted by sparkletone at 1:48 PM on August 28, 2013


Looking at the 2DS from the point of view of "kid's first portable", it makes a lot of sense. No hinge, because it's cheaper and kids break them. No stereo, because it's cheaper and kids don't care. Doesn't need to be pocket-sized because it's gonna go in their backpack or mom's purse. And I guarantee there'll be a million plastic covers you can buy for them, with your favorite pokémon on the front. It seems like a terrific introductory system.

I am worried, though, that it's going to make developers less motivated to get the 3D sharp and effective in their games. I really like the 3D effect when it's done properly (for example M&L Dream Team or the newest Layton), and it always saddens me to have to turn it off because it's all blurry and ghosty.
posted by rifflesby at 3:36 PM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nintendo, stahp. Just make games and stop making hardware. The Wii U is a disaster. The Wii itself was a novelty, but people tired of it long ago. Mobile, esp. iOS kills your handhelds.

Just make some good Zelda games for next gen systems, maybe a new Mario Kart, and fade away from hardware.

This comment is kind of counterfactual. Wii sold 100 million units (pas mal) and 3DS is at 32 million so far. Wii U tanked in the last few months as the release schedule was empty to middling until recently but every Wii U + a game sold still make money for Nintendo and that money gives them greater financial stability to make games. Not having to pay fees to third parties to release games helps, so from Nintendo's perspective withdrawing from hardware wouldn't make any sense. Did I mention that they dominate handheld gaming? In comparison, Sony's Vita has sold 2 million units. The major problem of Nintendo is the lack of significant support from 3rd parties for Wii U although this doesn't seem to be an issue with 3DS.

Also, Nintendo came from the last generation with the Wii + DS selling a combined 250 million units, so they are cash-rich and can afford to play the long game.

And all that is financial mumbo jumbo, but what's important is that even when they rehash franchises, even when their decisions are aggravating (online accounts, region blocking, localisation choices), Nintendo consistently make fun, high quality games. And this emphasis on fun is what keeps them in the good graces of a lot of people.
posted by ersatz at 5:46 PM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nintendo is minted. They made so much money off of the Wii and DS that they could make horrible mistakes for a decade and still survive. They also quite deliberately don't even attempt to compete with Sony & MS. This confuses a lot of people.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 7:55 PM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


For real though, Nintendo's biggest real problem is their neglect of Metroid for the past few years.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:31 PM on August 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Jesus christ but I'm getting good at this. I clicked on the "piece of cake" link, and suddenly realized my mistake, muttering a "GOD DAMNIT" and giving a roll of my eyes. Another Gawker site accidentally supported, but I realized my mistake as soon as I'd made it, before the page even loaded or I saw the URL.
I wonder if there's a plugin for Chrome out there that can save me from myself...
posted by GoingToShopping at 10:41 PM on August 28, 2013


Block Gawker sites
posted by panaceanot at 11:02 PM on August 28, 2013


iOS and Android are shitty game platforms. There, I said it. Have hard buttons or don't pretend you're a gaming platform. The idea that soft buttons and glorified flash games are the future of mobile gaming makes me want to vomit.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:46 PM on August 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


Nah, that's an overgeneralization. It's definitely possible to make good games for touchscreen, it just requires a dev to come up with a game design that works well with touch controls. It's when people try to shoehorn a game that wants a d-pad and buttons into touch that you end up with garbage. The Room and Year Walk on iPad are two of my favorite games in recent memory, and they use touch controls to excellent effect.
posted by rifflesby at 12:18 AM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not as though Android precludes hard buttons - my brother, who's a big texter, made sure to get a phone with a keypad and then got a lasercut overlay controller to use for games. While designing for touch screens is something that people should do, I think it'd be great if more buttons were a standard feature on phones.

I'm not sure about how Nintendo's doing with Indies, but since they're not only supporting Unity but also a web framework it should be pretty accessible. One of the libraries officially supported for the web framework is even open source. I suppose we can hope.

Best part of the Developer's page is the examples names on More Information application form, though: First Name (ex. Mario), Last Name (ex. Mario).
posted by 23 at 1:06 AM on August 29, 2013


You can totally get the iOS game experience on a 3DS- Cookie Clicker works in the browser.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:16 AM on August 29, 2013


iOS and Android are shitty game platforms. There, I said it. Have hard buttons or don't pretend you're a gaming platform.

iOS 7 comes with officially sanctioned specs and APIs for hard button hardware accessories.

Imagine the DS2 but with the screens replaced with an iPhone snapped into it.
Many (most?) people buy cases for their iPhones... why not a gaming case?
posted by panaceanot at 3:24 AM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


We'll see if it gets any traction. I don't think anything short of Apple releasing officially sanctioned gamepad accessories (and perhaps an iPod touch with buttons built in) will make it a decent gaming platform. If you can only count on a tiny percentage of your users having access to buttons, you're still going to be making touchscreen oriented games with maybe some untested button support bolted on.
posted by zixyer at 4:34 AM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


This probably will sell really well for Nintendo, though there may be a few disappointed kids come Christmas ("That was the one you wanted?"). I find the "In 2D!" marketing pretty hilarious in a "contains no rats!" sort of way, but it makes sense.

I do personally love the 3D though, and I sometimes wish I could turn the effect up even higher. Fire Emblem in particular is like looking into a magical little scale model world - things like clouds reflected in rivers appearing to be deep inside the world, or tiny dust particles filling out the air. I agree it will be a shame if that sort of artistry is discouraged.
posted by lucidium at 5:32 AM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


iOS and Android are shitty game platforms. There, I said it. Have hard buttons or don't pretend you're a gaming platform. The idea that soft buttons and glorified flash games are the future of mobile gaming makes me want to vomit.

You haven't looked into what's actually available on iOS and Android, have you? Yes, there's lots of garbage, but this has been true of any popular system. And yes, the touch interface is less-than-optimal for shooters or platformers, though some have overcome their limitations.

But there's a rich library of games. KOTOR, XCom, Final Fantasy Tactics, many of the Final Fantasy RPGs, Avadon, King of Dragon Pass, Phoenix Wright, Ascension, some great war games like Battle Academy, Minecraft, Terraria. Barely scratching the surface with this list. Tons of great board game conversions like Stone Age, Ticket to Ride, Agricola, Elder Sign, Warhammer Quest, Talisman, etc. Adventure gaming has made a comeback partially because touch screens work so well with the point-click games and the touch screens allow innovation in that space with games like The Room.

Take a look at Pocket Tactics for an RPS-esque overivew of what's out there. Or Board Game Geek's iOS and Android coverage.
posted by honestcoyote at 12:05 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fake Satoru Iwata weighs in...
posted by sparkletone at 1:35 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The board game conversions are nice, but few of those other games bring anything that wasn't done on another platform before, and usually in better form.

Meanwhile the garbage-to-treasure ratio is much higher on iOS. That itself says nothing -- the barrier to entry to publish on iOS, while still artificially high, is much much lower than that for commercial consoles. But the popular games tend not to be very interesting from a design standpoint, and the app store interface tends to make it hard to find other stuff.
posted by JHarris at 1:51 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


The time-to-obsolescence is low, too. My 4th gen iPod Touch -- sold by Apple themselves until just last year -- isn't getting the iOS 7 update and barely runs many new games, although the app store is perfectly happy to sell them to me because officially they work. A £250 purchase should have a longer shelf-life.

The 3DS will still be getting games when new iOS releases run like shit on an iPhone 5, and the games probably won't crash to the desktop all the time, either.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:45 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, what JHarris said. Half-assed ports of games from other consoles (if you haven't seen the art on the Phoenix Wright iOS ports, holy shit go look at it, it's hilariously bad)? I'd rather play them on the systems they were good on. About the only thing I can think of that it's good for are the boardgame conversions, but that depends on your not finding the interface obnoxious and intolerable, which hasn't been true of the computerized versions of board games I've played to date (with the grudging exception of Blood Bowl).
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:42 PM on August 29, 2013


Caylus, Ticket To Ride and Carcassonne have good interfaces. Puerto Rico's is clunky, but that's offset by the fact that it's Puerto Rico. Agricola's has a bit of a learning curve, but that game is complex enough that I can excuse it. (The fact that it only comes with the E cards, with the others in the main set to be made available later due to [spitting]in-app purchases when the main game costs $7 itself, is a bigger problem.)
posted by JHarris at 4:12 PM on August 29, 2013


few of those other games bring anything that wasn't done on another platform before

This is mostly true but that wasn't the point. The point is that the iOS/Android ecosystem is supporting quality and complex games even if there is a lot of garbage too. I have no idea why people overlook a fairly rich library and focus only on the F2P crapware.
posted by honestcoyote at 4:29 PM on August 29, 2013


Yeah, why focus on 99% of the library when evaluating the platform?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:17 PM on August 29, 2013


Sturgeon's Law.
posted by rifflesby at 6:32 PM on August 29, 2013


The existence of even one good iOS/Android game nixes the idea that it's a bad platform. Are good games made on it? Yes. So it's fine as a platform. Just don't try to hammer it into a different platform unless you want to make a bad game.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:59 PM on August 29, 2013


This is mostly true but that wasn't the point. The point is that the iOS/Android ecosystem is supporting quality and complex games even if there is a lot of garbage too.

If you only listened to iOS boosters talk you'd think PCs are DEAD DEAD DEAD because there are so many iPhones out there, but when it comes to gaming they "support quality and complex games" that are, at best, equal to PC or console games, and at worst surprisingly inane. The average iPhone game is not nearly up to the quality of the average Steam game.

Now behind that paragraph are a host of caveats, one I addressed in my 4:51 comment. Others: Steam is not nearly all of PC gaming, neither are services like it, what about consoles, blah blah. But none of that changes the fact that neither iOS and Android are really hardcore gaming platforms. The Wii isn't either, and Nintendo is trying to fix that with the U, with limited success at best.

Again, the barrier to iOS entry is lower. But also again, in the App Store (and Android's store too) it is difficult to find anything except the top 20 things at a single moment, while Steam does a pretty good job of bubbling things up through its back library.

The existence of even one good iOS/Android game nixes the idea that it's a bad platform.

Which is why everyone agrees the Jaguar is a terrific console on the strength of Tempest 2000, and the 3DO was a success entirely due to Star Control II.
posted by JHarris at 7:05 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nobody trashes the DS on the basis of a million "Imagine Baby Fashion" games.

Sure, anyone who claims that iOS is going to make PC gaming, or 3DS gaming, or any other kind of gaming obsolete is a damned fool. But it's a system that has good games, ergo, it's a good game system.
posted by rifflesby at 7:28 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Let's go to the wiki:

"Jaguar's underlying hardware was crippled by a flaw in the CPU's memory controller, which prevented code execution out of system RAM. Less severe, but still annoying defects included a buggy UART. The memory controller flaw could have been mitigated by a mature code-development environment, to unburden the programmer from having to micromanage small chunks of code. Jaguar's development tools left much to the programmer's own implementation, as documentation was incomplete. Writing game-code was often an endurance exercise in the tedious assembler."

Jaguar was hell for developers, the 3DO was massively overpriced, and Sega and Nintendo were already the 900-pound gorillas in the room and proceeded to eat their lunch. These are not problems that iOS and Android devices have.

And smartphones aren't even comparable to consoles anyways. Almost anybody can develop and release on iOS and Android. If anything, they're comparable to Macs and PCs. And as an added bonus, iOS and Android let pretty much anyone submit their game to a market that's installed by default and a daily part of users' lives to make some money. Do you know how many shitty indie PC games there are out there? Imagine if Steam was a default, integral part of Windows and nobody had to bother getting Greenlit. An explosion of shitty games. That wouldn't make PCs a bad platform, though.

Also: "But none of that changes the fact that neither iOS and Android are really hardcore gaming platforms."

There it is.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:42 PM on August 29, 2013


Nobody trashes the DS on the basis of a million "Imagine Baby Fashion" games.

I would, quite happily, if it came up in conversation, like I and many others trash the Wii for hosting a lot of minigame compilations.

But there being a million "Imagine Baby Fashion" games is hyperbole, while iOS is a lot closer to there being literally a million sucky games.
posted by JHarris at 8:43 PM on August 29, 2013


Also: "But none of that changes the fact that neither iOS and Android are really hardcore gaming platforms."

Well duh! That's what we're talking about, isn't it? I mean it's a thread about Nintendo, the iOS stuff is just a derail.

And I've done quite my share of iOS gaming. I made a post about the stellar iOS (and computer) game Forget-Me-Not a couple of weeks ago. I'm not actually trying to trash it, I don't hate it, I'm just realistic about it. The conversation just evolved in such a way that I'm finding I have to bring people down to earth a bit.
posted by JHarris at 8:50 PM on August 29, 2013


jason_steakums:
Let's go to the wiki:
Jaguar's underlying hardware was crippled by a flaw in the CPU's memory controller, which prevented code execution out of system RAM.
Jaguar was hell for developers, the 3DO was massively overpriced, and Sega and Nintendo were already the 900-pound gorillas in the room and proceeded to eat their lunch.


Now you see, someone might be convinced by this. Except:

The existence of even one good iOS/Android game nixes the idea that it's a bad platform. Are good games made on it? Yes. So it's fine as a platform.

Your own argument negates the statement. If this is true, then it doesn't matter how hard to develop for or how overpriced it is, QED.
posted by JHarris at 10:12 PM on August 29, 2013


But I wasn't saying that the Jaguar or 3DO were bad platforms. I was saying nobody looks back all that fondly on them because they came into an already-dominated market with flaws that made them fail commercially and fade away. They still had good games and if the market situation was different they'd have had a lot more, so I don't think they were bad platforms. Mainly because the platform just doesn't matter all that much! It really, really doesn't.

What I'm getting at is that dismissing any platform as fundamentally bad is silly, because when it comes down to it good games can be developed for anything with the bare minimum necessary to run the logic and paint the screen and accept your input. The initial claim that kicked off this discussion was dismissing iOS and Android as gaming platforms due to the controls dictated by the hardware: "iOS and Android are shitty game platforms. There, I said it. Have hard buttons or don't pretend you're a gaming platform. The idea that soft buttons and glorified flash games are the future of mobile gaming makes me want to vomit." Good games exist on iOS and Android. Developers will continue to make good games on them - great, innovative games, even. There's no reason to dismiss a platform as if it's not a gaming platform because of hardware oddities or limitations (or market failure, in the case of the Jaguar and 3DO). Some of the most cherished games of all time, that still hold up without a touch of irony or rose-colored glasses today despite advances in technology since they came out, were made on severely limited hardware. So how does the platform even matter if good games are made on it?

And my phone and tablet make up, like, maaaybe 5% of my gaming time. Not much at all. But when I do want to play something on them it's because there are games that specifically take advantage of the hardware that draw me to them, unique gaming experiences. And developers are getting better at creating games like that all the time. They aren't bad platforms by any measure other than "I don't like the kind of games on them".
posted by jason_steakums at 12:45 AM on August 30, 2013


Mainly because the platform just doesn't matter all that much! It really, really doesn't.

Did you ever buy a system that turned out to have few games of note? A lot of people cannot afford to buy a system for a single game. Further, it's easy to look down in Atari's Jaguar in hindsight, but at the time people still remembered the 2600, Atari (Inc., in this case) still had some serious hardware and game design talent working for them, and when the system was new it wasn't a foregone conclusion it wouldn't succeed. And indeed the hardware isn't as bad as you represent -- what amounts to souped-up Jaguars served Atari Games fairly well as an arcade platform for a while.

I suppose we really aren't that far out of agreement overall, really. I'm not intending to be antagonistic here, it's just fun to talk about games and game history.

What I'm getting at is that dismissing any platform as fundamentally bad is silly, because when it comes down to it good games can be developed for anything with the bare minimum necessary to run the logic and paint the screen and accept your input.

Spoken like someone who never had to put up with the Atari 5200's non-self-centering joystick, or the Intellivision's disk controller. Well, it's certainly possible for iOS to sponsor more serious games, if they're designed well for touchscreen. Run-and-jump exploratory platformers are not its strong suit, but there are good fast-action games for it. And as I said, for more thoughtful games, like board games, iPads are very nice.

They aren't bad platforms by any measure other than "I don't like the kind of games on them".

But how else could we measure it?
posted by JHarris at 1:41 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't forget how well Cave shooters play on iOS!
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:53 AM on August 30, 2013


But how else could we measure it?

Well that's not really a measure, if everyone's making up their own units. "I don't like it" says something definitive about the speaker and nothing definitive about the console. "I don't like it, so it's bad" is senseless.

And if you want to look at it objectively, what's your criteria? Personally, I don't think commercial success should factor in because it's a) a crapshoot where lesser hardware can beat better hardware and b) almost always a market dominated by a few huge names so gaining ground is very, very hard. The Dreamcast shows how irrelevant commercial success is to the actual quality and capability of the platform.

And I think that if good games can be made on it there's really no point in digging any deeper on the hardware front - if some Atari 2600 games can be better than some PS3 games, what does hardware matter? Nobody's coming to market with a platform incapable of having great games. The 360 had a failure rate of over 50%, that golden stretch of PC gaming in the mid- to late-90s took place in a land of mechanical mice and hardware compatibility hell, NES cartridges required arcane rituals to work properly after a few years, Playstation 1 had a hardware issue where the fix was to turn the entire console upside down while playing it, and these platforms had some of the best games ever despite those (and other) hardware problems. There are good games for the Virtual Boy, Apple Pippin and CD-i.

There's no platonic ideal of game platform hardware to strive towards. What use is dismissing any of them? The games on the platform are what matters. And back to iOS and Android (and the Wii, why not), the control schemes and power of the hardware don't preclude good games, they just encourage a different kind of good game.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:11 AM on August 30, 2013


Judging from the people I know (including myself) who bought the 3DS solely for Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Nintendo should take a good look at the thirty-something lady demographic...
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:32 AM on August 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well that's not really a measure, if everyone's making up their own units.

Yeah, I think we're mostly on the same page, but various things (including my own limitations as a reader) have obscured that.
posted by JHarris at 12:50 PM on August 30, 2013


Eh, mine as writer too.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:54 PM on August 30, 2013


Well now that we're mutually assured we're imperfect... how about that Xbox One, eh? Har har har!
posted by JHarris at 4:57 PM on August 30, 2013


So does anyone else have horrible problems getting networked games to work properly on the 3DS? Error 003-4099 is my nemesis.
posted by asperity at 5:58 PM on August 30, 2013


Playstation 1 had a hardware issue where the fix was to turn the entire console upside down while playing it

Which sounds remarkably like a Metal Gear Solid trick.
posted by ersatz at 5:30 AM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


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