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Nintendo: 3DS eShop And App Store Comparison Is "Quality" Versus "Quantity"

Posted by Damien McFerran

"3DS has a record of quality that's hard to challenge"

Nintendo once stated that it wasn't competing with smartphones and didn't view them as gaming devices, but in recent months that stance has changed. The company's top brass is keenly aware that the 3DS is fighting against the likes of the iPhone and iPad for the attention of gamers, and we're even seeing a degree of crossover in the software which appears on both platforms now.

There's still room for "The Nintendo Difference", however. Speaking to Kotaku, Nintendo of America's Scott Moffitt and Bill Trinen outlined the key differences between the two services.

Moffitt is adamant that the battle comes down to quality and quantity — the App Store has loads of games, but they're not all worth playing:

With software, as with most things, there's a distinct difference between quantity and quality. The website recently calculated that there are currently 139,000 different games actively available on the [Apple] app store. One hundred and thirty-nine thousand. Huge number. That number is way too big to wrap your head around, so I try to think about it this way. If I wanted to spend just fifteen minutes sampling each one of those games, I'd be at it non-stop for four years. That's a ton of caffeine.

Obviously there are good games available for mobile platforms. But the point is, the Nintendo 3DS has a record of quality that's hard to challenge.

Trinen is keen to point out that some of the games on the 3DS eShop are totally unique to the system and couldn't work on the App Store:

The stuff you're seeing on the 3DS eShop, it's all kind of... unique ideas. Anything from Sakura Samurai, which is a game I'm a huge fan of that came out over a year ago on the eShop, and is kind of one of those examples of some of the early unique content from independent developers to something like Dillon's Rolling Western, or Mario & Donkey Kong.

And in each of those games, they each have a tremendous amount of depth, just in terms of the volume of gameplay, but they all also have really great precision controls that are really hard to do on other mobile devices. But really, the content that we're looking at, it's all about, 'what are the unique ideas that really leverage the hardware?' And that, to me, is why you would want to come and play games on the 3DS. They're gonna be unique experiences, they're gonna be things you can't play elsewhere, and [they're] gonna have a whole lot of content.

How do you think Nintendo is doing in the battle against Apple and Google? A lot of people predicted that the rise of tablets and smartphones would spell the end of the company's dominance in the handheld arena, but the 3DS market is growing all the time. Is it possible that the people who spend money on iPhone games aren't the same people who would necessarily purchase a 3DS? Let us know your perspective by posting a comment.


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User Comments (46)



phoenixology said:

Shame the Nintendo 3Shop app doesn't open near as fast as the iPhone app store.

Wish Nintendo done something about that so you didn't have to sit and wait for the silly jingle to stop playing before you can browse.

A Japanese touch I'm sure.



erv said:

here's my take, from my own experience as an avid apple user:

There's some great games on the app store, no doubt. How to find them is another question, though some of them get rightfully promoted. However, there's a huge load of lesser quality games. Lacking a balance of longevity and quality nintendo fans in particular are used to. So it's a jungle, and the amount of really great games end up as less than whatever nintendo offers even in a launch window:P

Add to that the play scenario: you're playing on your iphone or ipad. Bling! email message, short 0.5s moment of distraction. Bling, iMessage. Bling, Facebook posts likes. All of them are non intrusive in setup, but interrupt your gaming nonetheless.

Playing on my nintendo console is a dream because of the quality of games and the dedication to the experience. WiiU does it best, with just a blink from the home button if a friend pops up, nothing more. No interruption, no super short attention span of switching apps constantly. Once nintendo goes multitask and intrusive interface I'll start worrying about their right to exist in a gaming marketplace.



solcross said:

Yeah, thank god Nintendo hand-picked quality titles like NES Golf and those style games for eShop/VC. I'd like this comparison a lot better if they put out VC games that I actually want to play.



cfgk24 said:

The only good game on Apple store is Clash of Heroes Might and magic but I still prefer to play it on my Nintendo DSi - not even the XL . . - I love my Stylus and hate using fingers.
I can't find any decent stuff on Google or Appleshop. . . . . I'm not going to waste my time looking anymore The popular games are aimed at mass market sheep it seems. . .plus no 3d effect? The 3ds graphics are completely immersive and I love my Nintendo music player (zero spam marketing) - and I hate itunes - wrecks all my record collections - I've stopped using it. . . .



AltDotNerd said:

iPhone will never have such great games as Fire Emblem, Pokemon, DK Country, Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, and etc. Ipso facto, smartphones can compete with the 3DS in the same way a go-kart can compete with a sportcar.



Haxonberik said:

The 3DS is pretty close to taking place as my favorite console of all time, and with a new Zelda and a 3D Pokemon coming soon, not to mention Mario & Luigi, it might actually take that title for me by the end of the year.



Peach64 said:

Is he trying to spin a huge selection of games as a negative? I like to choose my games rather than being given a small selection and told I don't want to bother with anything else. It's the same when people say we can't complain about a lack of Wii U games unless we've already played the 30+ games out for it.

For me, smartphone gaming will never replace a handheld, but it had changed what games I play on them. It makes more sense to have pick and play for 5 minutes type games on my phone which is always in my pocket, and then have the more traditional games that I'll play for an hour or more at a time on the handhelds. The brain training and rhythm games all moved to my phone, as did puzzle and mini games.

Just focusing on download only games, there's way more quality games on the App Store than eShop, but I don't think Nintendo should have to be working too hard on that. They have provided a platform for smaller devs and smaller games, and now it's up to those people to go and make them. You can lead a horse to water and all that.



iphys said:

Too bad the Nintendo seal of quality doesn't actually mean anything. I have no confidence in blindly buying games for a Nintendo system, which means I still have to do my research on the games anyway.



Alienfish said:

Umm, yeah, I own a flip phone... and it can't even take pictures. It isn't that I don't think a smart phone would be cool, because it might in some cases, but I just don't want one. Then there's the price of having that thing month to month, yeesh!



Buzzthebatgirl said:

As a fellow 3DS and App Store user I can add the following views:

Yes the App Store is littered with crap games and it can often be difficult to find a gem in the trash, but on the flip side there are many fantastic games that offer a lengthy demo/section of the game for free. When games are purchased they are often quite cheap (ignoring farming games and their in-app purchases).

The 3DS eShop is (I find) irritatingly slow to navigate, constantly updates the landing page, and reshuffles categories regularly. I do enjoy the demos that are offered, but £40 for a full game download? And that same download is tied to one console? I know I'm getting a full game but no.



Late said:

I think sometimes phones get too much attention. What happened to those days when only thing you needed to do was call someone or send a text message? I have an old phone and I'm not going to pay money for features I'll never use anyways. I know so many people who always want the best phone and then they use it non-stop for a week and after that they only use things they could with their older phones...Not everyone are like that but there are still too many. Hundreds of euros for nothing... Nothing to do with the topic but I just wanted to say my opinion.



ledreppe said:

I've had iPhones for 3-4 years now and I'm still to download a paid for game. I check now and then, but all I see is trash after trash. It seems a lot of people don't care about quality and just want games as cheap as they can get them. I really don't see what people see in iOS games.



Jupiter said:

I got an iPad 3 months ago and I was amazed at the amount of stuff you can find in the appstore that cost almost nothing (especially if you shop during sales). I bought Nightsky, Little Inferno, Plants VS Zombies for 0,9 euros each and Mutant Mudds for free.
Yes most of the 3DS exclusives are games of great quality (Pullblox is a gem of a game), but right now almost everything in the Nintendo eShop looks seriously overpriced.



DoomsSD said:

3DS has Link's Awakening.

Link's Awakening > everything on Apple store, ever.



Spoony_Tech said:

The only games I've ever payed for are Zen Pinball and Pinball Arcade. I use them only to sample and nothing more as gaming on my phone or any phone is less then to be desired. It's the buttons people. I don't care about the quality of a phone game without buttons it just doesn't do it for me!



LavaTwilight said:

I agree to that question; people who may invest money in iPhone games are looking to pass the time on their commute or just during a rainy day... they're not really serious gamers.Hopefully, 3DS sales are increasing because we're encouraging new serious gamers... one of us... one of us... one of us...



Bluezealand said:

You know what else is unique to the Nintendo eShop, Bill? You can buy there old console and handheld games due to the Virtual Console. How about using this finally a little more? -.-



ajcismo said:

They'll have to pry my 3DS from my cold, dead fingers before I ever do any serious gaming from my phone.

Its all about controls.



drdark said:

I'm not sure there's any point in the comparison in the first place. It should be obvious to all that the App Store is bloated with shovelware and crap. More so than any other digital marketplace.

I was amused that only last year, "celebrated" 500 games on the service. I'm pretty sure Steam "only" has somewhere in the region of 2500 or fewer. I think that's self-explanatory. I've never seen anyone complain about the "low" game counts there.

As for the pricing, the App Store fights for the lowest price due to the sheer amount of devices out there, so they can afford to, just because statistically they're likely to have more sales. This isn't guaranteed success though (just look at Gunman Clive). It creates a devaluation of all products when they're all priced the same. Quality ends up mattering less.

There are decent games on the App Store, but you have to go searching review sites to find out what they are, meaning the whole point of the portable store front is to make it easier to take money off you, not provide you with entertainment. So I /enjoy/ browsing the eShop more (especially as I can watch trailers).

P.S. I saw a report well over a year ago that there were around 17,500 fart apps alone on the App Store... if anyone wants to try arguing the "quantity & choice" with me in future, I shall fart in their mouth.



adrenochrome said:

i dont care about apple, regarding about the phone&multimedia part, android is much better
regarding games i dont known how a how a single touchscreen could be compared to a dsi (no need to talk about 3ds here)



Pokefanmum82 said:

i like my 3DS better than my iPod touch for games just for the sheer fact that I like being able to push buttons and use a stylus instead of using my finger to swipe across a touchscreen. Don't get me wrong I do play some games on my iPod touch but I game more on my 3DS XL.



Hardy83 said:

They said this about the DSiWare eshop and I called BS on them then, and I'll call BS on them now.

While it's more accurate then the flat out lie when they said it about the DSi shop (Nintendo being the worst offended for shovelware then), the 3DSWare eshop is still flooded with crap, it's just the gold nuggets float to the top this time around so their easier to see.

I find there's no different in quality between IOS games and eshop best games.

To eshops defense the it isn't flooded with garbage games that micro-transaction you to homelessness, which is incredibly nice.



ivanmata said:

This is totally true, there is no way tablets or smartphones can compete with a gaming handheld device like the 3ds, it's just a unique experience you cannot get from a tablet or phone. I saw a kid in a plane go over 15 different games in his tablet in less than 30 min!, that proves that the quality of the games you find in an App Store is not enough to keep you interested longer than, let's say, 5 min.

I don't think it's the same people either, people that have a 3ds generally do not own more than a couple games in their phone, in my case I only have one, and its a pre-installed game XD.



Kisame83 said:

The overall point is that Nintendo does stricter quality assurance, and that is true. But you could say the same about Nintendo vs Sony...or you could say this in Sony's favor vs Nintendo handheld (especially last gen-DS had a lot of fluff).

I dislike comparisons like this, though obviously someone working for the company needs to have pride and "sell" his view to us. I just don't find them to be very apt. If I want a jRPG or a shooter (or bullet hell) I have two robust folders on my iPod and iPad. I think I have 3-4 shooters downloaded from the eshop and find RPGs to be in very short order (especially ones that aren't in that Korean-style Zenonia mold). And if you LIKE that KRPG style, app store has 4 Zenonia sequels, oodles of competitor clones, a port of Secret of Mana and a spiritual successor/imitator Mage Gauntlet (which honestly should come to the eshop). One of my favorite eshop titles, Gunman Clive, is an appstore game. I hear Dragon Fantasy may show up on here, which is exciting but also...appstore. I wish Dark Incursion would show up on eshop, it would be a solid fit. As far as ports, Appstore has Metal Slug 1-3, King of Fighters, Final Fantasy 1-5, Tactics, and Dimensions, Lunar, multiple Dodonpachis, Raystorm, Max Payne, Spectral Souls, Civ Rev, Earthworm Jim, Doom, Sim City, Call of Duty Zombies, Space Invaders Infinity Gene, there's a Contra coming, and console clones like Starfront (Starcraft), Star Marine (Contra), Nova 1-3 (Halo), Modern Combat (CoD).

I'm not here to argue controls, though options exist for the physical button purist, as they sell bluetooth controllers and controller shells for most devices and needs. I'm also not going to argue the quality of each title, as that is subjective. I personally find Modern Combat shallow, while others love it. Yet the man interviewed loves Sakura Samurai, which I wanted to enjoy but wound up not caring for.

I'm simply saying, they quality experiences on offer aren't THAT different, and the eshop could maybe learn something. With the re-touched Final Fantasy V having splashed, we could very well have a time where FF6 launches on iOS and 3DS is maybe, MAYBE offering Final Fantasy Adventure for the Gameboy.



Dpullam said:

I'm not going to say that all app store games are bad because that is certainly not the case. I am just one of the people who prefer gaming on a dedicated handheld over a tablet though I wouldn't mind having a tablet for certain games. As for the quality of the eshop versus the app store, I believe that the eshop has more titles that are appealing to me as a whole but I wouldn't rule out owning app store games in the future. The quality difference is obvious in certain games but not so much with others. As a whole there obviously are quite a bit more bad app store games since that service contains over 139,000 apps while the 3DS certainly hasn't reached that number of games yet. Perhaps once the eshop has been around as long as the app store we can have a more definitive answer surrounding quality versus quantity.



drdark said:

Just a note to add: let's not forget the 3DS has access to the entire DSiWare library as well. Which is not as devoid of gems as some would like us to believe.
In fact, this very website is one of the best ways to look them up.



kaptenSwe said:

Ok, I think that eshop should have more FREE GAMES. not DEMO but free games! app store have much... I want 'Clash of Clan' to 3ds eshop! And much more...MORE FREE GAMES TO 3DS ESHOP!!! someone who think the same??



C-Olimar said:

"something like Dillon's Rolling Western...all also have really great precision controls that are really hard to do on other mobile devices"




citizenerased said:

eShop: Much better controls, higher percentage quality games

App Store: A much, much higher number of good games (if you can find them), much cheaper and apps beyond gaming



Windy said:

@AltDotNerd This might not be true. Square has already started porting some of its game iPhone and Ipad. If Nintendo sees a market on iPhone and IPad they would do it too. It's a business



Windy said:

I do prefer my 3ds hardware to iPhone and IPad for sure. We have been getting some great games lately. I wish some of the apps from the apple market would actually convert over to the better way to play Eshop. If Nintendo could convince some of the devs from the Apple market to convert to a better way to play they could stick it to Tablets and phones. Cause it definitely is a better way to play



Windy said:

@Kisame83 You are 100 percent correct. There are some very good quality games in the tablet and phone markets. I would hope hope Nintendo could convince those quality devs over to a better way to play Market as far as numbers stand right now at this minute due to the amount software the tablet markets have they have more quality titles than we do. But things are promising here we have seen Nintendo get with it these past few months



Windy said:

"The EShop" A Better Way to Play Market! Don't you just love the way that sounds? I do! And its true it sounds so good I'm going to add 50 bucks to my account right now lol



Jukilum said:

There is one thing my iPod has over my 3DS in the controls department: multitouch.



MitchVogel said:

While this may be true, there's still lots of shovelware on the eShop. However, the eShop is a huge step up from the DSi Shop, which I thought was really mostly trash.



UnseatingKDawg said:

@phoenixology: I don't know, I found that the 3DS EShop opened for me much more quickly than my iPod's App Store.

In any case, I'd agree with this - the eShop might have fewer games, but they're of higher quality.



Nekketsu3D said:

eshop vs app store?... leaving out physical games and digital distribution, the eshop has a long way yet ... starting with a few games that really take advantage of its power 3D, the other fact is that we continue with little work on the virtual console emulation. (nes, gameboy in black and white, when it should be on pallets or more working as a super gameboy). is something to see it well done this Gamegear emulator and contrasts too much with others.



Sun said:

I don't buy games for my smartphone but I do for my 3DS. Still, eShop has a looong way to go. VC is primitive (except for Sega's Game Gear) and since early DSiWare days there is still garbage between awesome games like Fire Emblem Awakening and Luigi's Mansion 2.

I appreciate my time and the experience much more than money itself so I rather play fewer and greater games than play anything available on the market.

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