News Article

Round Table: Let's Talk About a Year of the 3DS eShop

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Thomas: The eShop itself has evolved, thankfully, through system updates. First up, how vital was it for retail demos to make an appearance, and is it going far enough in that regard?

Corbie: I think any time you can get demos of your games on the eShop it's going to be good for sales. Who doesn't want to try out a game before they slap down $40+ for it? And the same can be said of the download eShop titles, it's always going to help boost sales if you can allow players to try them before they buy them. At least if the games are good.

Chris: I think it’s a great addition to the eShop and one that should’ve been there from the very beginning. I like to try before I buy with games I’m on the fence about. Many times, I usually end up buying it if it’s something I take the time to try the demo for – unless it’s atrocious, of course.

Ron: I can’t stress enough how much I appreciate the retail demo downloads. There’s no reason that I can think of for why they haven’t been available like this before, but I’m glad it’s happening now. It’s so convenient, and I think it shows that Nintendo is supporting its third party developers more.

Thomas: Yet we haven't had many demos for eShop titles, why do you think that is?

Chris: I don’t have an answer as to why this is, but I know that it’s a feature that needs to be implemented.

Corbie: Well we had the Mutant Mudds demo for a while that was a very good show of what the game had to offer, but you're right, they've been very few and far between and there's really no reason not to. I know the developers generally have to create a working build of a demo, which takes away from other titles they're working on in development, but considering what it can do for that developer's sales, it's definitely worth the time and trouble in most cases. I'm not sure why Nintendo doesn't push harder for demos.

Ron: Like Corbie said, the Mutant Mudds demo popped up not too long ago. There’s also a demo available for Pyramids. I just think people are more interested in retail releases though, so that’s what the big N wants to push.

Thomas: Ah, I won't have seen that Mutant Mudds demo, being stuck here with my European 3DS! One thing the eShop does do well is provide trailers of many download games. How important do you think that is for developers and consumers?

Corbie: While not as important as actual demos, trailers can be vital to giving you an idea of what a game looks like, plays like, and sounds like. I can't count the number of times I've been sold on a game just from a simple gameplay trailer. They get people excited about the game and that's the biggest hurdle in getting consumers to pony up their money for a game.

Chris: I think it’s extremely important. Having the resources on hand to research the titles that you’re interested in is never a bad thing for the consumer, and if the game's good, then it’ll benefit the developer too. One thing I do really like on the eShop is that the trailers don’t have to be downloaded to be viewed. Streaming video is much more convenient than all those pesky downloads!

Ron: Personally, I watch a whole bunch of the trailers that are on the eShop. Sometimes it’s just to get a feel for what genre of game I’m looking at, or what gameplay itself looks like. I’m glad the videos are there, even if there isn’t a demo for everything.

Thomas: In terms of the eShop layout. The most recent update has split the setup into two tiers. What do you think of the redesign and, more generally, the use of themed channels and so on?

Corbie: I really like it. Gives the whole setup a more modern look and makes perusing the eShop more inviting and enjoyable. Could it still be a lot more functional, sure, but at least it shows Nintendo’s willing to try some new things and make it more appealing for 3DS owners.

Could it (eShop layout) still be a lot more functional, sure, but at least it shows Nintendo’s willing to try some new things and make it more appealing for 3DS owners.

Ron: I’m not too fazed by these. I usually know exactly what I’m looking for when I boot the eShop up. Remember when Nintendo Life had a channel on there though? That was pretty awesome.

Chris: I like the new layout. It’s easier to navigate with more choices onscreen at once. The themed channels are nice – especially when we had the Nintendo Life Channel — but they seem to have the same things over and again sometimes.

Thomas: One big improvement in my view, from an earlier update, is the ability to add funds for an individual purchase. Are you pleased that blocks of Nintendo Points have been replaced?

Ron: Yes, yes, and yes. Adding funds just for specific games was a completely necessary addition.

Corbie: Very much so. I was never a big fan of being 100 points short and having to add a much larger amount of points just to get the one game I wanted at that particular moment. I fully expected that to be fixed much sooner than it was, actually. Nintendo might be taking its time in making things more functional, but at least improvements are being made.

Chris: I despised the Nintendo Points system and I’m very pleased that it’s been removed.

Thomas: Nintendo isn't renowned, at the moment anyway, for top-notch digital services. What, in your view, has been its biggest mis-step in eShop's first year?

Corbie: I think the lack of demos has been the biggest complaint I've had. I just think not having them really hamstrings so many of the great games that are being released. Some of these games are coming from developers that many gamers haven't heard of or aren't that familiar with and sometimes that's the difference between a sale and someone passing on it due to that lack of a recognizable developer name. They really need to get demos on the eShop and consistently, not just every once in a blue moon.

Chris: There are quite a lot of things that factor into this in my opinion: lack of an achievement system, purchases tying into user accounts etc. While many of these might not seem viable to the eShop specifically, restrictions to the system’s online capabilities keep users from constantly accessing its internet options. Gamers on other systems are so connected to their user profiles and personal achievements these days that it gives them incentive to stay connected on their consoles. I think if Nintendo had implemented these features, even more gamers would connect to the eShop on a daily basis.

Ron: From my perspective the only major mis-step is a lack of content, I guess. I haven’t been too disappointed overall.

Thomas: I remember there was a real shortage of eShop fund cards in UK retailers in the early days. It didn't affect me, but for those that wanted to pay with cash it was a real problem. On a more positive score, what has been the best thing about the eShop in its first year?

Corbie: I think the best thing has been that there have been some really great titles coming out at fairly decent intervals. I think we've seen some amazing games released already and there are more coming down the road. I'm also loving that some developers are finally releasing some additional content, like the bonus levels in Mighty Switch Force. I'd like to see more of this, personally.

Ron: There have been some great games, and the VC games that keep rolling out have been some real gems. I think the fact that we can finally (legally) download and play Game Boy and NES games is great. Also, playing Punch-Out!! on the go is probably the single greatest experience in my life.

Chris: Pushmo, Mutant Mudds, Might Switch Force and VVVVVV in 3D!

Thomas: Let's look at the future of the eShop. Two things spring to mind: there's likely to be a lot more DLC, as Corbie touched on with Mighty Switch Force, and we have full retail downloads on the way. What do you think will come in the next year, and how do you think the platform will evolve, especially with Wii U joining the party too?

Corbie: As you mentioned, we'll be getting New Super Mario Bros. 2 as both a retail and digital download release, and that's good news. I'm also very curious to see how many more retail releases Nintendo will make available on the eShop. Of course we also have upcoming games like Bomb Monkey, NightSky, and a few other great games that I got a crack at during E3 that should continue to liven things up on the service.

Chris: As long as I get more great games, I’m one happy camper. You never know what craziness Nintendo has in store for us, so I’m just going to wait and see. On paper, you’d never sell me on Nintendo Video, but I absolutely love those wacky little videos each week. Nintendo always surprises me in the strangest of ways and that’s why I adore it.

Ron: I’d love to see some connectivity between the two consoles, and maybe have eShop games playable on Wii U. I know that the Wii U screens can’t display stereoscopic 3D, but the VC games would run just fine.

Thomas: We'll end with our reviewer hats on. If you had to give the eShop a score for its first year, what would you give it?

I'll go for 7/10.

Chris: I’d have to go with a 7 as well. It’s a solid digital platform with some great games, but it definitely has room for improvements as well.

Ron: I’d probably have to give it a 6. It hasn’t been bad by any means, but it definitely has a lot of room for improvement. Or maybe a 7. Yeah, maybe a 7.

Corbie: Yeah I was thinking 7/10 too. I think we've seen some great stuff, but let's face it, there are still many more improvements that can be made to make it more user friendly and far reaching. Nintendo still needs to get more 3DS owners on the service. End of story.

Always good to end with everyone agreeing. We'd love to read your comments about a year of eShop, or any of the topics we chatted about, in the comments below.

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User Comments (42)

Jamouse

#2

Jamouse said:

I'm really quite fond of the e-Shop. Like a lot of Nintendo's online efforts, it has quite a long way to go before being perfect, however, unlike the majority of them, the e-Shop actually seems promising since Nintendo is constantly updating it.
Also, Unchained Blades will make the e-Shop worthwhile.

Spoony_Tech

#3

Spoony_Tech said:

There is plenty of good stuff coming but I feel like its always just coming. Every week I can't wait for what's announced and end up disappointed. I don't really care as much about the vc unless its gba games. As for new 3d games they are just to far between for me to get excited about the service. I usually end up downloading a game I would normally not get just because of the lack of quality games. I have most of the 3d games but one every once in a while is not enough in my opinion.

I think Nintendo needs more demos of their games to be honest. Kid Icarus is the biggest offender. So many people are just not sure about the game and a demo could go a long way to get people excited about it. Add in both Mario games before Christmas. They should also have demos. How about Dillon's and sakura samurai. Those two need demos more then anything else on the shop but it seems like Nintendo can't be bothered by them. Funny how Nintendo is neglecting the demo service more then other companies!

hydeks

#5

hydeks said:

the 3ds eShop in NA was great at the beginning of this year, but at this point it's boring and really .., and is definately lacking the awesome greats earlier this year had. I agree, I think Nintendo should focus alot more on bringing VC games out, especially the weeks with like NO eShop games to download.

ajcismo

#6

ajcismo said:

I'd like to see more VC releases, in fact, all VC releases across a variety of platforms sorta like the Wii.
While I'm making wishes, I also want MS and Big N to work out a deal so N64 RARE games become available. I'll go throw a coin in a fountain later for that one.

Silvervisiona

#7

Silvervisiona said:

I would like it if the Wii U and 3DS eShops could share purchases through the same account, for suitable VC titles. I'll be twice as likely to buy if I know I can play my same purchased title on both the 3DS and Wii U. Please let me play my Ambassador titles on the TV!!

RR529

#8

RR529 said:

Overall, I've really enjoyed it. Whether it's getting a Nostalgia fix with Kirby's Dream Land & Kirby's Block Ball, playing classics for the first time (Mega Man: DWR, LoZ: Link's Awakening DX, Metroid II), and most important of all, the brand new software (Sakura Samurai, Zen Pinball 3D, and VVVVVV being my top 3), I honestly can't find a way to be dissapointed. Sure, there's not something to download EVERY week, but it hasn't really bothered me.

Hokori

#9

Hokori said:

I'd enjoy it more if the US got Wario Land, KI OMAM, Kirby DL 2, and more demos

Arcamenel

#11

Arcamenel said:

It definitely needs more demos. All of my friends that game don't even consider a game until after they've had a chance to play a demo. If they can't they go to reviews but those can be severely biased. I agree that not having a demo for Kid Icarus was quite a misstep on Nintendo's part. The game is amazing but so many people were and still are hesitant to buy it. They spent so much time advertising it why not get a demo for it? I believe allowing just the first chapter to be playable would've sold a lot of people sooner on the game.

More 3D games wouldn't hurt either. A lot of retail games aren't really utilizing the 3D so why not make download games that do.

Flowerlark

#12

Flowerlark said:

Heh, I already had to swap the 2GB SD card that the system came with for an 8GB, and I only have about 30K blocks left on it. XD Okay, so I have a lot of free time to play way too many downloads. Honestly, I've spent a lot more money in the e-shop than I have on retail games, so I'd say I like it quite well. I'd ask for a bit more diversity, though. So far it's mostly platformers (only counting 3DSware and VC games, not DSiWare) and a couple sports and a couple puzzle games with only a little bit else to offer. I would like to see more variety in the audiences they target. It feels like they cater mostly to hardcore, very skilled players who like it 'old school.' For people... like me... who didn't grow up playing them (and thus kinda suck at them) there's not much to play that isn't unbearably frustrating (love those restore points in VC though). I'm excited about Unchained Blades and would love to see some other RPGs or more must-have games that aren't so frantic.

Yasume

#13

Yasume said:

7/10 seems just right. I'm pretty satisfied with what it has to offer atm. The VC is great, I would only like to see more 3DSWare and demos.

Heatran5400

#14

Heatran5400 said:

i only get free games or stuff cause i can just play the game on another 3ds whose owner bought.

MrAndrewJ

#15

MrAndrewJ said:

I'm in North America and got more than my seven dollars worth out of Zen Pinball 3D. It's honestly one of the most gorgeous games I've played on the system - including physical/retail titles.

sinalefa

#17

sinalefa said:

I agree that there should be more demos, specially of downloadable games, as it is harder to try them at a store. They are cheaper than retail games, but still people should have the chance to try them.

I disagree with having a KI Uprising demo for the simple fact of not being able to use the 3DS Stand. I played the majority of the game with it, and I never had any hand cramping problems, which I had by playing the game without it.

Finally, it is nice to see a pricing structure not as rigid as in Wii, with each game having the same price for being on the same system. Here each GB game is priced based on other factors, and that makes more sense. Still I would love to see sales on specific games, like the weekend deals you see on Steam.

Henmii

#20

Henmii said:

I can be very short about the e-shop: Faaar to many games are still released as DSiware! One of the reasons could be that developers don't want to turn their games 3D!

Anyway, I think Nintendo really should let go of the DSiware! And if they keep continuing it, then at least make it so that you can download the games straight to a SD card and load them straight from a SD card! That's really important!

As for the old games: Nes games are not needed! They are already on the Wii shop! There should be more GB/GBC games, at least 5 a week (just as was initially the case with the Wii)! And we also want GBA games! That's all!

TheConsiglio

#21

TheConsiglio said:

I hated the dsiware shop but i'm glad they put the games on there, just hate the layout. Too Bland. ) : But what nintendo really should do is put The Virtual boy games as 3D CLASSICS that would be TIGHT!

MeWario

#25

MeWario said:

I love it, most of all for the VC games. My biggest issue with the service is the delay between the zones. I hate that Ive had to wait months for Mutant Mudds and Sakuri Samurai and America has had to wait months for Wariolabd (poor buggers)
O actually my biggest issue is no Gameboy Advance games! grrrr

MeWario

#26

MeWario said:

O and my 3DS died (which got replaced under warranty) but all the games that I had downloaded were lost forever!!! =(
There needs to be an account system so that this never happens again.

Phle

#27

Phle said:

I have to be honest, I haven't found much I like in the eShop.

I have the Colors! 3D drawing game and Pokédex 3D, Nintendo Video, Nintendo Letter Box (but I don't have anyone to send letters too.. -_-') myNotebook, a boring game called Freakyforms and Zelda: Four Swords. I haven't played much of the Zelda game, as I can't feel the love when the graphics aren't awesome at all. I have tried some of the demos available though and I think it's a really great feature that Nintendo should keep giving us more of.

I don't want more "old games for your 3DS", I want new games with "this is more like it" graphics.

Nintenbro

#29

Nintenbro said:

Nintendo should've already begun offering officially licensed SD cards as a Club Nintendo reward. With the lack of retail titles early on and so much access to downloadable content, I believe it should've been in their interests to do so... And also our's. :D

MAB

#30

MAB said:

Happy with how its going down so far all I want is the ambassador games available for everyone to download. It should not take this long especially if they're already emulated and sitting on a server all they need to do is check the box that says 'upload to eshop' :)

kyuubikid213

#31

kyuubikid213 said:

Okay, improvements I wish to see in the eShop...
1. Port any game possible to the Virtual Console. By any game possible, I mean not just GB, GBC, GBA, DS games, I also mean games that aren't limited by the system itself such as SNES and NES games. I know that a lot of people think that the home consoles should do the home console VC, but how incredible would it be playing Link to the Past anywhere in it's "original" form?

2. Make all future titles both digital and physical. I, personally, enjoy physical media with games. However, I do want to carry every game without having to mess with the game cards. NOTHINGS WRONG WITH CARDS, and I will probably still lug them around after digital downloads are possible, but the added convenience would be a blast!

3. Update the Ambassador Games already! I need the emulator save states to be able to beat Zelda II. So bring 'em on!

and lastly 4. Put a wider variety of games on the eShop. There is already a HUGE variety amongst the eShop titles, but if you go to do a Filter Search, there are many options that do not yet have games tagged under them. I want to see at least one FPS make it's way to the eShop. I'd rather pay $7 for that than $20 for one that is a waste of time at the store...

kyuubikid213

#32

kyuubikid213 said:

Another small issue is the demo play limit. The demos are already incredibly short. Why limit how many times we can play them? Really though, I'd rather not see that I only have X number of times to play this or that I still have XX number of times to play this. When the number is high, it looks like I either didn't enjoy it or only got it because it was free...

Nintendude789

#33

Nintendude789 said:

I know this person who has a 3DS, but never connected to the Internet because he has perantal controlls on it. So he can't connect to the Internet at all. And this other person I know doesn't want to connect his 3DS to the Internet because he's happy with the retail games. I told him he can enjoy even more games when connected to the Internet, but he doesn't want too. What a N00B.

BudrSbastig

#35

BudrSbastig said:

It needs more demo's, and take the play limit of the demo's, why cant I play it more than 30 times? My 7 year old nephew can not buy that many games, so the free demo's are the bread and butter of his gaming life, and a limit on these demo's restricts his playing time.

Adhrast

#36

Adhrast said:

@BudrSbastig: For as ugly this might seem, demos are not there for your 7 year old nephew to play over and over for free, they're there for people to decide whether to buy a game or not.
The limit is there, ok, but have you ever gone even close to that limit? Hell, I haven't! 30 times is more than enough to try a demo and see if you are going to buy a game or not, aren't they?
Anyway, I think eShop lacks variety: there are a lot of beautiful games, but the majority of them are puzzle/platformers and the likes... Without considering DSiWare, but just 3DS-Only games, the offer is stil quite poor...

Smooth27

#37

Smooth27 said:

The eshop has gotten 2 times better since it began. Only thing I hate is how every thursday we only get 3 things most times is two dsiware games and one 3dsware or demo its cool and all but why can't we get 4 or five things like more 3dsware games and demos. We need more social apps, it would be nice to hang out at Starbucks using the at&t and logging in to my Facebook, twitter, or Skype my friend and watch youtube vids. How cool would that be? Also Nintendo should really sell 3D movies! Lastly please add shooters to eshop like gamelofts shooters.

fishman100

#38

fishman100 said:

There are a lot of good games to buy on the eShop but I wish there was some sort of "return" function that refunds part of your money if you find that you don't like the game you downloaded, because then it ends up being a waste of $$ and space on the SD card.

Koos

#39

Koos said:

It has great games and I think it will be wise for Nintendo if they put more demos and also 1 dollar games and free apps

Gilius

#40

Gilius said:

I wanna see a video channel for 3DS. since it has a inner cam, it'd be nice to chat to friends. I would hate seeing it come out and cost money. Although, I can see why they make you pay for it.

BulbasaurusRex

#41

BulbasaurusRex said:

I don't get why the 2 rows on the e-Shop is such an improvement. So now instead of looking at all the categories across one row, I now look at a shorter row, press down, then look through a second shorter row. So what? It doesn't save any time looking through all the categories for stuff like Nintendo Week, the demos, or upcoming games; and I'm still just going to use the search function or recent arrivals section when I'm going to buy something.

grumblebuzzz

#42

grumblebuzzz said:

The eShop has had some good moments, but I really wish they'd quit it with the over-priced cell phone clone games and give us more VC in the US instead. It seems like when we finally do finally get one, it's a black and white version of a casual game (see Kirby's Block Ball, for example). I know that American journalists are always saying that smartphone time-killers are going to kill off games like Mario and all that, but not EVERYONE wants to sink money into these games, Nintendo. I don't wanna play Angry Birds or Cut the Rope, because that's just a 5-minute waste of time to me; I want to play games like Wario Land and Kid Icarus and Zelda, which to me are REAL games.

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