Let's face it, the 3ds is struggling. Nintendo slashed the price by nearly 40% in July amid poor sales. This has taken the industry by surprise due to Nintendo's usual dominance in the handheld market. In my opinion, there are various reasons behind its poor performance.
With mobile devices such as the Iphone becoming more and more powerful with every new version, developers are flocking to support the device. Combined with the hugely popular 'appstore', consumers have a huge choice in regards to what games to buy. Consumers do not need a separate gaming device now that their smartphone can do it all. The handheld gaming market is starting to become a smaller niche. The 'PSP vita' in my opinion will suffer the same fate. There is no doubt that it will have great games and appeal to the hardcore audience, however where is the value for the casual gamer? Why spend hundreds of pounds on a gaming device when your phone can satisfy the causal gamers desires? There are signs that Sony are becoming aware of this. Sony Ericssons 'Xperia play' combines a gaming device with mobile phone functionality.
( Sony Erricson Xperia Play)
Another reason why the 3DS is faltering is because of the lack of 3rd party support. Unfortunately it is somewhat of a catch 22 for Nintendo. The poor launch sales means that developers will shy away from developing the 3DS until sales improve. The only way sales will improve is by producing great games. The simple fact is, the 3DS install base is just not large enough. Having said that, Nintendo getting 'Monster Hunter 4' onto the 3DS will prove to be a huge system seller in Japan.
Just another Gimmick?
There is no doubt that the entertainment industry is ramming 3D down out throat. The trouble is, the consumers aren't buying it. Box office takings for 3D films are declining along with disappointing 3Dtv sales, shows that consumers are not taking to 3D as once predicted. Although the option to turn of 3D is available on the new Nintendo handeld, does it really warrant spending money on a new handheld just for improved graphics and a 3D option?
It is clear to see that Nintendo rushed the 3DS. The lack of supporting titles after the launch has made 3DS sales stagnate. Nintendo should have waited until there was significant support from third parties, with games ready to be released in the months after the 3DS launch. There is still time to rectify the situation, however you have to wonder if the market is still as big as it once was. Apple are set to announce their new iPhone and it will be interesting to see if one Apple's main focus is promoting it as a gaming device.