3DS – Price and Release Date, Thoughts and Predictions

I’ve been fairly positive about the 3DS up until now, and I still am to a point, but I just have this sinking feeling that Nintendo are going to fool us all into thinking that they’re really giving us a powerful system that will remain thought of as such for years to come. When in fact they’ll simply make it another DS where it comes out and is already behind the technology of the moment.

That’s not to say the DS is a bad system. Good games are what really counts over graphics and such. However, that doesn’t make it ok to not push the envelope as far as online functionality, graphics and storage space are concerned. Graphics probably won’t be an issue at all, especially with 3D the main focus of the system, but even so, the online features have to be so much better than the Wii to win me over, and the same goes for storage. To give around a gigabyte in today’s market when you can get a 32gb iPod Touch just doesn’t really cut it considering how the industry is moving more and more towards digital downloads as an alternative to physical media.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m slating a system I’ve never played and that isn’t released yet, but I just really want to be blown away by it and I have my reservations. I hope they prove me wrong and address all of my concerns before the 3DS comes out.

Speaking of the release date, it was announced last week that the system will be in stores in Japan on February 26th and in Europe sometime in March. The Japanse price will be 25000 yen (about $300) but I would be surprised if they released it for $50 more than the original cost of the Wii in the US. I think it would be risky enough to launch at the same price as there is likely to be a feeling that handhelds should always cost less than their console counterparts, even if they are more technologically advanced.

My guess is that the system will launch at the same price point as the Wii did in both the US and here in the UK at $250 and £190 respectively. It’s still a lot to ask, but since they’re focusing on the hardcore audience at launch, I’m sure they won’t have too much trouble in convincing fans to part with their cash.

Also of note is that the system comes with a 2gb SD card rather than built in storage. In a way this may be a smarter option, as SD cards are cheap and high capacity and therefore may be perfect for storing games and data on. It’s also good because it makes the system more modular. Casual players will never know that the SD card is even removable, while hardcore users who download a lot of games and who require far more space have the ability to upgrade easily.

The confirmation of multi-tasking is also good to hear. What I’d love to have confirmed next would ideally be a new Nintendo Wi-Fi username based service akin to the other two main gaming hardware company’s networks.

Then again, even if the hardware turns out to not be as great as we are all hoping it will be, when Mario Kart comes out, I’ll end up buying it regardless. That’s the power Nintendo has over me and many other gamers and it’s why they’re still not particularly worried about Apple’s rapidly growing gaming business.