News Article

Talking Point: Where Nintendo Went Wrong with the DSi Shop

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

And how the eShop can fix it

The imminent launch of the eShop on the 3DS is eagerly anticipated, especially as it is arriving over two months after the launch of the device. Nintendo has gone to great effort to emphasise that the delay will be worth it, with assurances of compelling content and a high quality interface. There has been acknowledgement that the eShop’s predecessor, the DSi Shop, has areas that aren’t as optimised as they should be. What should Nintendo do with the eShop to avoid the same mistakes?

Perhaps it should be considered, when criticising short-comings in the DSi Shop, that this represents Nintendo’s first attempt at a digital content platform on a handheld. The Wii Shop had come first, but in the case of the DSi equivalent they were dealing with the limitations of the device. Despite these restrictions, most will agree that the overall user experience hasn’t hit the mark.

A major issue is the speed of the application. Whether this is due to hardware limitations or software issues, navigating around the DSi Shop can be a particularly slow, ponderous experience. This issue is accentuated by the structure and layout; when browsing game titles in a particular category only two are visible at a time, necessitating a number of slow progressions from page to page. If you know what game you want to download there are shortcuts and search options, but casually browsing the catalogue is not conducive to a relaxing experience. Even when you find games of interest, the information available is restricted to a product description alone, with no customer reviews or other information to inform your decision.

The overall layout, structure and performance of the DSi Shop are not its only issues. Although publishers of various sizes have been able to provide some terrific bite-sized gaming experiences, the file size limitation of 16MB has hampered developers, limiting the scope of titles and potentially stunting the potential of even the best releases. 16MB isn’t much to work with, so in some respects we should be grateful to have received as many enjoyable titles as we have. Finally, we have Nintendo Points, available in bulk purchases of at least 1000 and typically costing around £9; they are not the most popular fake currency to grace the gaming world.

The good news, in terms of the eShop, is that Nintendo has already identified these issues, with various assurances that the 3DS service will improve on these areas. It makes sense that, with significantly more powerful hardware, there is a greater opportunity for the eShop developers to pursue ideas and performance levels not possible on the DSi. To start with, it has been promised that the new shop will be significantly quicker, which is certainly good news. With functionality details of the new application now coming together, we should be pleased that this new platform should, with all of the new features, also provide a slicker experience.

By piecing together information from various interviews, as well as the spate of official Nintendo press releases, we do have ideas of what the new eShop will deliver. The browsing experience is said to be overhauled significantly, including a retail-like browsing experience. Smartphones may provide a good indication of how this should work, with App stores on platforms such as Android and Apple showing the way. It would certainly be an improvement if browsing categories is more dynamic; rather than working through page after page, the ability to scroll through products quickly with a flick of the stylus, for example, would be a step in the right direction.

The eShop will add an important dimension to the 3DS, allowing the device to reach its true potential.

Another promise that has been made is an improvement on the information available for each product. We’ve been told to expect the eShop to incorporate the kinds of information normally reserved for the Wii Channel, such as trailers, developer interviews, demos and customer review scores. We’d certainly like to see a format where you select a game, watch a trailer or gameplay footage, read user reviews and, hopefully, have quick and easy access to a demo of the title. As a whole that is quite a lot to ask for each new release, but these are the kind of features that will help to make the eShop appealing and exciting to gamers.

One change that has been confirmed for some time, and has brought joy to untold numbers of Nintendo fans, is that the eShop is dropping Nintendo Points in favour of cash transactions. Nintendo Points were problematic due to the bulk volume, where being 100 Points short of a download meant paying for an additional 1000. Cash cards are already on sale in some retailers, while units of cash can be purchased directly on the shop, but we would also like to have the option to pay for downloads on a one-by-one basis. We'd be disappointed if that opportunity isn't provided: surely paying for set units of cash, even in smaller denominations, is only slightly better than the Nintendo Points system?

There have also been suggestions that Nintendo will be far less stringent on file-size restrictions, which should make life easier for developers. We only have some, possibly misinterpreted, comments from Shigeru Miyamoto and rumours from developers to make us think this is a reality. If this is true, however, then it opens up terrific opportunities for downloadable projects. From a gaming perspective, it means that more and more of the best ‘indie’ titles may migrate to the platform, which may have previously missed the DSi Shop or WiiWare. It opens up more gaming options beyond 3DSWare, such as opportunities for retail DLC, with owners of games able to utilise the eShop to access extra content that is maybe not possible through other means. 3D video has been confirmed as a future part of the service; hopefully the opportunity to rent or buy movies, sports footage and television programmes will emerge.

Considering the horsepower of the 3DS, the ability to constantly expand memory with SD cards, and the unique opportunities of that magical 3D screen, the eShop could become a major player in handheld, downloadable gaming. While many of the features outlined above are confirmed by Nintendo, with others being hopeful speculation, our one major wish is that the eShop will add an important dimension to the 3DS, allowing the device to reach its true potential.

Are you excited by the eShop? What features and changes would you like Nintendo to include, or what games are you desperate to download and play? Let us know what you think!

From the web

User Comments (60)



sykotek said:

Let me convert over my current Wii/DSi Points to Nintendo Points and I'll be happy.



ImDiggerDan said:

My understanding is that the eShop will (in comparision to the DSi shop):
Be faster to navigate.
Be better organised and therefore easier to navigate.
Have user ratings of content.
Have video of content.
Have demos of content.

If all this is correct, then I'll be happy.



incredo said:

I Dream With Cruis'n usa (arcade o n64), Killer Instinct (arcade o Snes), Donkey Kong Country (Snes), Earth Worm Jim (Snes), Krusty Fun House (Nes), Pinball Behind the Mask (Snes).

Nintendo could actually be sold for 3DS emulates all the hardware consoles that allow you and have the legal rights ..... and work with romswith its its own extension .

I think Nintendo has been very stingy about this because I would only think about running emulators .. and not be charged any ROM ports or conversion problems, etc ... and this would give very low to nintendo .. I believe that profits would be substantial.

I think I should make this true backwards compatibility with every console launch to the market and you pay and pay big bucks for these.

I think the increase in online shopping would download an exponential increase .. besides that people would be willing to pay a fair price for quality service I describe here.



TheAmazingRaccoon said:

I use this site for decisions regarding purchases of downloadable games, so the extra info on the games in the eshop doesn't really help me. That being said the 3D trailers will be cool
As long as there is loads of good content in the store I will be happy. So any new features that improve developers ability to produce quality product (such as removing size restrictions), I want.



Oregano said:

@3 Have they talked to you about any promotional materials for your DSiware games? They mentioned trailers for DSiware being on the eShop.

Also the shop should be quicker simply due to the fact it doesn't have to connect to the internet every time you click on it, the 3DS will already be connected.



Raptor78 said:

If Nintendo were to merge the Nintendo Channel and the Wiiware Channel into one application and then brought it over to the 3DS then I would be happy. And to be honest, that sounds like what they have in mind.
I would also like them to mabey provide those Smash Brother sized demos on the Virtual Console, by that I mean those little limited time fully functioning demos of their old retro games that were included on the wii version of SSB.



Traxx said:

Sure, WiiShop and DSi Shop got their problems, but I dont get why's everyone so much complaining about it while sony PSN is even more sluggish and crowded, if its available at all for that matter....



Chris720 said:

I just want it to not take so long to load, it took ages for the DSi Shop to load... well, anything. Mainly sitting in the loading screen waiting to see the games details.

The Wii and DSi Shops aren't TOO bad as long as you know where to look or are on a site, for example Nintendo Life, but for those guys who don't know how to find the best games or aren't on a site, looking for that one game can be a nightmare. I just hope the eShop isn't going to be a faf and a half to use.



WaveGhoul said:

Am I the only one here who hasn't even bothered with the DSI Shop?...Then again I guess you have to have a DSi in order to get it tee hee. Ahem, still have a DS Lite

Aside from a few games, i just don't really care.



FonistofCruxis said:

After the delay, I was expecing more than one 3DSware game at launch and more upcoming 3DSware games to look forward to. While, the eshop interface looks like an improvement, 3DSware looks like it will get off to an even slower start than dsiware did! I hope that soon there will be lots of exciting games for the service to look forward to. At least theres still the vc to look forward to.



NintyMan said:

I'm certainly excited by the eShop. The DSiShop did drop the ball as far as not only loading times but also a lack of many must-have games. I've only downloaded three titles, and those are Photo Dojo, Oregon Trail, and Shantae. The last one is definitely one of the best games on there, but most of the content is crammed with small apps that are really for something to kill time. I'm confidant that the eShop will have lots of games from both first-party and third-party companies that are worthy to play.

I would like the eShop to be faster, provide plenty of good Nintendo and third-party games, downloadable 3D videos, and demos and reviews for the games, so pretty much all this article discussed. Demos and reviews would help out a lot, because there will be games I've haven't tried before and will want to learn more about. 3DSWare is nice, but I'm looking more forward to the Virtual Console. I've never played Super Mario Land, so I'm excited to finally get to play it soon, and I'm anticipating the release of other titles like Kirby's Dream Land 1 and 2, Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins, the Wario Land games, and Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters that I really want to try. Monday can't come soon enough!



fishman100 said:

The eShop will add an important dimension to the 3DS, allowing the device to reach its true potential.

^ was that supposed to be a pun?



barneygumble said:

Simply to slow, and in my personal opinion the Dsi Ware games at the moment mostly arent worth the loadingtimes you had to suffer until you can see and choose them.

I downloaded a few ( Asphalt, GT, Lets Golf, Dr. Mario, Mr Driller etc ) which are worth their money but just those few titles are not enough to come back every day / week. For a real interresting eshop Nintendo needs to release more games & faster and work on the loading times ( which should Sony fix too )

I still have hopes for the 3ds, maybe the old classics ( GB, GBC, PC Engine etc ) Virtual Games will keep me check the new eshop more offen - but if it will be like Wii Virtualgames releases ( nothing, nothing, crap, crap, oh finally a good one, nothing, crapc etc ) then at least I dont have wont waste money on downloadgames use it for boxed games bought with real cash in a real store which I really can hold in my hands.



Slapshot said:

It looks that Nintendo has already learned their worst mistake that they make with DSiWare - not putting new/updated classic games on the service. But, Excitebike 3D looks to already rectify this!

Lets hope that we see the likes of Metroid, Kid Icarus, etc find it's way to the service in the future as well.



Starwolf_UK said:

I thought you could only add $5, $10, $20 and $50 (unless this was recently corrected) meaning the problem is basically still there. Also add in stuff being $x.99 and we've got a whole new problem. What do we do with the $0.01s we bulid up? Get 199 of them and get a $1.99 app "free"?

I understand using a credit card has a small cost to the retailer but its a fixed cost for usage so I can't see why it can not be a minimum of $5 and after that whatever you like. It'll still be a lot of maths to get rid of those $0.01 though...

The most positive thing I can say for the eShop besides interface improvements is they finally appear to have discovered tiered pricing on the virtual console. Sadly, competitive pricing seems a long way off...



HugoSmits said:

Well nintendo is doing a pretty good job, but i think i speak for all of us if i say the biggest problem was that i didnt get mega super rich!

I have faith in nintendo and that they will solve this problem with the 3ds shop



warioswoods said:

Speed and navigation were certainly the big problems.

One thing they did right: setting up, right from the start, a few highly original and quality games through their close second-party partnerships, the most notable case being the Art Style series. 3DSWare needs something like Art Style in order to show how to fully take advantage of the format.


I hope you haven't given up on voxels yet, because I'd really love another voxel-based game like Flipper, in 3D.



zionich said:

Im asking more about content, but GBA games would be nice. Heck 3DS is pretty powerful, why not go out on a limb and bring the Nintendo and Super Nintendo games to it.



KingMike said:

One likely reason for buying the points in set denominations is due to credit card fees Nintendo has to pay every time they accept a transaction. I don't know what they pay, but if it's like what an ATM charges you for taking money out from another bank's ATM, they'd probably end up losing money on charges of only a few dollars.



Glade said:

just remember, using the charging cradle is suposed to make downloading software faster!!!



shinesprite said:

So what if you have a few dollars left over in the end. Think of all the gas money you've saved from buying downloads vs retail!

As for the other enhancements, trailers and demos are useful. However, I won't be reading the official descriptions and I certainly won't be reading potentially biased reviews (Reggy will monitor all that happens). If I want reviews that are frank, I'll just stop by Nintendolife.



TKOWL said:

Bah, the main problem with the DSi Shop was that most of the games were just demos of actual games with a price tag.



Burn said:

I like the Nintendo Fun Dollar system, where 100 points = $1. I didn't realize how good we have it until I purchased 1600 Microsoft Points for my roommate's birthday, which was about $20. I know they're trying to make more of a profit, but that's seriously a ripoff.



armoredghor said:

@SigourneyBeaver free 1000 points for first buyers, free Super Mario bros on December 25, 2006, free photo dojo, free excitebike. yeah they're PURE EVIL.
@Hardy83 what's your definition of everything. because if they've done everything wrong then every other medium has done at least 100 things wrong on their download medium



Weblaus said:

You might want to take a closer look at your picture of the DSiWare store, having an IGN watermark in there probably isn't the best idea (unless you want to emulate Capcom).



SwerdMurd said:

Nintendo - take a page out of Sony's book. Notice how Apple's distribution platform is infinitely better than yours? Copy it a bit! Freemium-model games are huge now, and e-shop has no way of taking advantage of this type of business model. You guys innovate enough on the input/gameplay side of things...I for one wouldn't lose any respect for you for taking a bit of inspiration from Apple's success.

Also--use the system you can use in the photo application that allows you to shrink tile size and increase the number per page. That would make browsing games a ton easier (or just use plain-old smaller tiles )



thedanman64 said:

It's not just the loading times that are the problem. It's the games too. There have been a few great games released for the DSi Shop, but now its just become a dumping ground for various sudoku puzzles and failed mobile phone games/apps. And that's a shame because the service had real potential. Nintendo could really do with improving quality control.



Supremeist said:

Wow, It's so close! 2 more days. Can't wait. I wonder what all the launch titles are going to be. My cash is ready.



ToastyYogurt said:

User reviews wouldn't be the best idea IMO. On the iOS App Store there are people that spam, people that judge games unfairly, and people that give the game one star just because it's not compatible with their device (Although the eShop probably won't have that problem unless Ninty wants to take the very unlikely route of making a more powerful 3DS)



darklinkinfinite said:

I did like how the Nintendo Channel handled user-reviews: requiring users to have spent an hour with a game before being allowed to review it. Given that the 3DS logs your game hours I don't see why they couldn't use a similar system.



Bigrat said:

I WANT METALSTORM: ONLINE 3D and GEOMETRY WARS 3D! pPease!!!!!! Please nintendo!!!!!!!!!!



Bankai said:

What about the associated services? Nintendo's given us a vague promise of 3D movies, but look at the competition - iPhone, iPad and PSP all also offer music, videos and comics. iPhone and iPad also offer non-gaming applications. All three do Skype or video chat. PSP has an RSS feed.

These devices are connected and social. The 3DS is nothing. Online means more than a halfway decent shopping experience, but apparently Nintendo's learned nothing.



AltDotNerd said:

The best solution is to let us transfer points between our consoles. If you have points on your Wii but need some for your DSi/3DS, Nintendo should make it possible.



GreenInferno said:

I don't understand why people are lining up to pay for an embarrassingly delayed and uncertain service for a premature, over-priced handheld.



Skotski said:

@41. GreenInferno

Say the same thing you just said, except in backwards order and you'll figure it out....

If you don't get it:
If this is indeed an overpriced handheld, wouldn't you think we'd be onboard anything that makes it worth its cost? Since not all of us like Fighter games (and this handheld's already got three... that's one more game than all the other genres on the system), we tend to grab anything that isn't a Fighter... make it worth the money we spent on it.



daze0f_theweak said:

Now that I have a 3DS, my DSi practically belongs to my sister. After this update, I'll get back my Card Classics, and March of the Minis.

The eShop improves on the DSi Shop in every way:

  • 3DSware (Including an improved web brower & Netflix)
  • 3D Classics
  • Virtual Console WITH a save anywhere feature
  • 3D Trailers
  • 3D Demos
  • Rate games (Both physical & downloaded, but only after 1 hour of playing)
  • More reasonable hardware limitations
  • Improved speed & organization

My only remaining wish for the eShop is that GBA titles will join the VC at some point.



ThomasBW84 said:

@Weblaus - Thank you for spotting that, the offending image has now been replaced.

I'm looking forward to the eShop, as playing download titles has been a major part of my experience with both the Wii and DSi. When I don't feel like playing a fully fledged retail title, downloads can be a fun diversion. Some of my favourite moments have been with download games, so I'm looking forward to seeing how the 3DSWare and handheld Virtual Console shape up.

@WaltzElf - In my opinion any comparisons of the content of these Nintendo stores with Android and Apple is unfair. I suggested in the article that these markets give some good ideas for a user interface, but the content is completely different. I see what you're saying with your comparison to Apple, Sony etc, but the 3DS is a games console, not a phone or tablet device, so its focus should be games or 'fun' apps. I don't think they should clog up the eShop with non gaming content, as this isn't a direct competitor for smartphone App catalogues. The eShop has to offer different content, and the resources of the device should, in my view, be directed towards gaming or 3D experiences. Nintendo are already bringing some video etc, but I think the overall focus should still be on games.



Hardy83 said:

Everything you can possibly do wrong to make a shopping experience good. Price, convenience, information access, speed, quality, selection, and layout/navigation. Nintendo did ALL of that wrong with DSiWare and WiiWare.
I'm not mainly talking about software. I'm talking about the DSiWare and WiiWare system as a whole.

This is why I have zero faith in Nintendo doing anything right with online because I've never seen a company do EVERYTHING wrong. Sony and MS have issues yes, but not everything.



crazyj2312 said:

I want to download movies/shows. They tried to do it on GBA with those video cartridges with the pokemon shows on them and on PSP with movie UMDs but I want some downloads lol. Also, I want some GBA games on the VC. I know its a bit much to ask for, and probably won't happen, but having access to GB, GBC, GBA, DS and 3DS games on one handheld device could be a potentially epic.



Starwolf_UK said:

@armoredghor. I don't Super Mario Bros was free. It was just someone bruteforced the games URL before it was out and a price had not been set.

Speaking of URLs last year I got the impression the eShop was going to have a web based component and an actual account system...I guess I heard what I wanted to hear I'd say having to use the Wii/DSi/3DS browser is the biggest fault of these shops.



Skotski said:

@47. Hardy83
Your explanation is still rather generic.
Give actual examples rather than just giving us bullet points.
Every summary should come with at least one example... and you didn't really name any.



Ren said:

cool. I don't have a DSi so I'm just annoyed that it didn't at least come with the old one at launch. If the new thing isn't ready, why would you release it with nothing but a gaping hole? It can't come soon enough since the launch games are already putting me to sleep and there's still no A titles to buy thanks to the crappy launch. The entire launch should have just waited til now with the eshop, Zelda and RE.



Bankai said:

@Thomas it's nice to buy into that marketing spiel of Nintendo and all, but fact is for most people, Nintendo is competing for the same gadget discretionary spend of consumers, and guess what? The devices that do more are more attractive.

In the future Nintendo is going to start struggling if it can't figure out how to offer more robust, featured technology. Yes, it will still have some fans that support it's 'hey, it's all about the games' speech, but unless those people are going to buy 10000 3DSes/ cafes each, it's not going to be good enough.

There's a reason everyone else is building multi featured consoles.



Hardy83 said:

@50 Skotski
It's generic on purpose. Think of any of those points. Then think if DSiWare succeeds at providing it.
They are my examples, and they don't need to be explained, unless you haven't used DSiWare.



Peznaze said:

I haven't very high hopes for the eShop, but I do think it'll be better than the DSiWare shop. I don't think 3d videos will come to be, but 3DS Netflix will meet most of my video needs... I'm still shocked there was no DSiWare eReader, the DSi is perfect for that... the 3DS, not as much. All in all, I don't expect much from the eShop, but I expect even less from the browser.



Incredible-JMAN said:

the only thing i no liked about dsi shop was that you had to put in atleast 10 dollars (1000 points) just so you can get a certain game that was only like 100 more points than what you had.



pippa said:

I bought a VC game on my wii. I would like to be able to access that from the shop - and have it register that I bought the game, so that I can download it to my 3DS. Do you think they will do this?



ThomasBW84 said:

@WaltzElf - i get what you're saying. That said, I'm not buying into 'spiel', but expressing a personal wish that the eShop focusses on the purpose of the device. When I'm browsing the Apple store, for example, there's too much stuff on there, so I can't see the woods for the trees. It's possible that the eShop will evolve, video is on the way apparently, but I would prefer it wasn't a free-for-all in terms of content.

In the current market, I think Nintendo, and Sony with the NGP, will do ok. Times may change, but at the moment handheld consoles still offer something different from smartphones, and consumer may still respond to that.

Things will evolve in future console generations, though, which will be interesting to see.



Supremeist said:

Speed and Navigation is a BIG problem on the DSi, yet on the 3DS eShop it is fast to load up and categorized well so you get easy navigation.

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