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Nintendo’s Bill Trinen: 2013 Is The Year When The 3DS "Takes Off"

Posted by Damien McFerran

Western gamers finally "getting" the console

It's fair to say that yesterday's Nintendo Direct delivered some amazing news — the most significant being the development of a new Zelda title for the 3DS this year. After a slow start in the west, the handheld really seems to be building momentum — something which hasn't gone unnoticed within the walls of Nintendo of America's HQ.

Nintendo's Bill Trinen has been speaking to GameSpot about what 2013 holds for the system, and why it has taken so long for western gamers to warm to the console:

We have noticed that in the US in particular, people tend to, at least when it comes to handheld gaming, they tend to shift generations a lot more slowly than they do particularly in Japan. In Japan, once a new handheld system comes out it’s like everybody just goes right to it.

GameBoy Advance was the same way; DS was the same way; 3DS now. It does take a couple of years. But then once it does, it really builds steam and so with the lineup that we’re seeing this year, to me it really feels like this is the year that 3DS is really going to take off.

The 3DS has sold around 30 million hardware units worldwide, but still has some way to go before it can match the 150 million sales of its forerunner, the Nintendo DS. Over 10 million 3DS consoles have been purchased in Japan.

Do you think the 3DS is going to come good in the west this year? Post a comment to let us know.

[via uk.gamespot.com]

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User Comments (49)

beat

#2

beat said:

hell yea it will. :D heck! just pokemon is enough this year! :D then they got awesome and release a legend of zelda game in the same year. :D

RonF

#3

RonF said:

I wonder where are all those analysts that claimed the dedicated gaming handheld business was doomed to sink u der the competition with smartphones?

Bobhobob

#6

Bobhobob said:

It's already taken off where I live.
Almost everyone I know has one, or is getting one.

domdom87

#7

domdom87 said:

I'm going to be SO broke this year. However, my 3DS library will be jam packed with awesome.

Pikachupwnage

#13

Pikachupwnage said:

Zelda and Pokemon busting down the door and taking your wallets with bodyguards like animal crossing, mario party, SMT IV and Mario and luigi dream team....yeah everyone's wallets are doomed!

rjejr

#14

rjejr said:

Handheld gaming difference between Japan and the US:

In Japan people w/ jobs buy their own 3DS to play their own games.

In the US parents buy their kids 3DS at birthdays and holidays. If the kid had recently received a DS it was going to be a year or 2 before they got a 3DS. W/ Pokemon in autumn this will be a big holiday gift. If they wanted to sell more B2/W2 should have been put out on 3DS, not DS.

kenzo

#15

kenzo said:

Nows the time to pick up a spare 3DS unit if you can get one second hand at a good price, before everyone starts looking for one.

FernandoMachado

#16

FernandoMachado said:

So many incredible releases this year!
And I'm not even counting Pokemon (ain't a fan...) but I'm sure it will boost the sales to whole new levels.

AJWolfTill

#17

AJWolfTill said:

Not only do we have Pokemon and Zelda in the works but we also have strong 3rd part support and a portable smash brothers title on its way.

Kohaku

#19

Kohaku said:

Hard to beat the DS. Main reason for the succes of the DS was the flashcard for the downloaded games.

DualWielding

#20

DualWielding said:

I've believed in 3ds from day one, when all is said and done it'll be by far the best selling console of the 8th Gen outselling Vita, Wii U, PS4 and new xbox for a wide margin

FullbringIchigo

#21

FullbringIchigo said:

the 3DS has taken off enough now is the time to push the WiiU Nintendo or it will die and we don't want that

SuperCharlie78

#22

SuperCharlie78 said:

I don't think they will even come close to the DS sales, remember the blue ocean strategy, the touch generation software?
The 3DS has nothing like that, and almost all the people who used to buy Brain Training, Nintendogs, and so on, are now happy mobile/tablet/whatever players.
Forget the ridicolous 150 millions goal, if the 3DS will sell 80 millions units and match the GBA sales (if I'm not wrong) I will consider it a huge success.

Prof_Elvin_Gadd

#24

Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

@rjejr I guess I should move to Japan? Part of the problem is Western people see gaming as "childish", which is childish in its own right. I'm 26 and I still read comics, watch anime, play video games and gasp have a great job while going to college. I'll do what I enjoy doing until the day I die. People who judge other people's hobbies as "childish" are inch brained morons. People who stop gaming because they are afraid what other people will think of them are in the same category.

Scollurio

#25

Scollurio said:

I've been saying 2013 is the year of the 3DS on the forums here LONG ago!
making a damn proud smile but coming off silly
:D

Dpullam

#27

Dpullam said:

We'll see if his prediction turns out to be correct. I certainly hope so.

SennaKurosaki

#28

SennaKurosaki said:

Of course I'm glad that Nintendo's 3DS is finally gaining momentum in the Europe and America. And it's quite obvious as to why: the price of the console has been lowered considerably and the introduction of the XL model has helped too. I think that many fans felt that Nintendo will introduce an upgrade soon. As with the "old" DS before it, nicer versions came soon after the beloved original "fat DS" and I guess many people expected Nintendo to try to pull of another stunt like that. Although I couldn't wait and have a small 3DS, it is the 3DS XL that I like the most. Also now there are some great titles coming. Thus far the West has been let down, with all the great titles being available only in Japan. Where is Ace Attorney versus Professor Layton? Where is Animal Crossing? They're still not available in the West.

Furthermore, the whole region-locking of the new 3DS is a monumental mistake by Nintendo. Most of my DS games I bought when I was on holiday because games abroad are usually 30-50% cheaper than in Europe. But with the 3DS I can't do this. I think this hampers adoption by fans. And it is the die-hard-fans that persuade the average Joe to want a 3DS too.

But now at least some of the great Japanese 3DS titles seem to be making it to Europe and America too.
Also I found that retailers in Europe really don't care much for the new Nintendo hardware and games. It's always in a kind of sad corner of shops and prices are ridiculously high: 45 euro (60US$) for a game is just plain madness! Those are PlayStation3 prices. A handheld game should retail for less in my opinion.
And there is one more thing that doens't help Nintendo (or Sony for that matter) and that is that many people are content to play simple games on their iPhones and Android phones. Everyone caries their phones with them all the time, but their 3DS usually remains at home (if they even have one at all).

Harrison_Peter

#29

Harrison_Peter said:

Late 2013 and early 2014 will see the 3DS really start to sell in numbers resembling those of the original DS. A 3DS-exclusive Pokemon game will be what does it. Even if it's a weaker title in the series, I reckon it will still do the job and outsell even games like Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

Doctor_Opossum

#30

Doctor_Opossum said:

@RonF In an odd way, I think that the rise of mobile gaming could help handheld sales in the long run. I was infatuated with mobile games for a time, but the clunky controls (and, admittedly, a Super Mario Land demo at the mall) drew me to the 3DS. Good God, I hate those mobie gaming arrow keys for movement.

Prof_Elvin_Gadd

#31

Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

@SennaKurosaki "And it is the die-hard-fans that persuade the average Joe to want a 3DS too."

I've actually convinced more than a few of my friends and random people to get a 3DS, and these are adults I'm talking about, although I have no idea if they play them a lot or not. One of my friends even bought one for his wife... and then they got divorced. ;)

DerpSandwich

#32

DerpSandwich said:

I personally know multiple people who are holding off on buying one until Pokemon, so I've got to agree with Mr. Trinen here. And when all those people buy, more people will be exposed to the system, and then even more people will buy it. It's going to be a good time all around this year.

Tobias95

#34

Tobias95 said:

This is great! I am happy I am an early adopter of the Aqua blue, and its the greatest consol ever

AbeVigoda

#35

AbeVigoda said:

In all parts of Asia (outside Japan), South America, Africa and the Middle East probably 90% of the Nintendo DS's sold were likely use in conjunction with a flash cart. That's the big reason the NDS sold so much, same with the Wii and PS2. All three systems were very easy to pirate software for.

Byron-3D

#36

Byron-3D said:

The 3DS is deffo getting up then in my books, so many games I've got that need playing and so many i want to buy and so many i have pre-ordered. its gonna be a lazy summer of completing the backlog for me this year

TheXboxHero

#37

TheXboxHero said:

I agree with him. 2013 is the year where Nintendo is going to blow everyones mind and the Nintendo Direct proved absolutely.

NintendoPro64

#38

NintendoPro64 said:

I must say, I am quite impressed with the 3DS. Why? Because even in this tougher world, it's actually OUTPACING the DS. And everyone here is right about how this is the year the 3DS takes off. A while back, I was worried about how sales weren't booming in the west. But then when I came across an old sales chart for the DS, you know what I found? The DS sold in the EXACT same pattern! It sold well at launch and got a big boost due to Mario games, only for things slowed down a bit. For a while, the only hot region was Japan. US and Europe weren't jumping into it. But as soon as Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, the DS became a world hit! Here's a chart on Wikipedia detailing this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_DS_sales

And what everyone is saying about exposure is also why I am positive the Wii U will be hit too after this year. The problem is that Wii U is basically your "average" console, unlike the Wii which was a phenomenon so its performance broke home console trends. Truth is, A LOT of home consoles (even the PS2), had a rough to average first year on the market because the masses tend to stick to current stuff for a while. It usually falls in the hands of the fanbase or dedicated gamers to increase exposure to the masses. And to do this, you need make the console adequate, and bring a hit game in. For the the PS1 it was Final Fantasy 7. For PS2, it was Grand Theft Auto III. For Xbox 360, it was Halo 3. For PS3, it was Metal Gear Solid 4.

Now we look to the Wii U. It's first year is certainly rough, but it looks Nintendo is definitely going to give their fanbase a reason to buy a Wii U after E3 (and likely before the competition arrives). Then once the Nintendo fanbase makes the plunge, Wii fans and casuals will finally take notice and adopt the system to reasonable numbers. This why I know the Wii U can succeed and also why I am glad it has launched for first.

And as for the 3DS, keep it up! You'll become the handheld PS2 and make the DS proud in no time! :)

MetalKingShield

#40

MetalKingShield said:

I love the 3DS, it's been my favourite handheld since it launched, but... I have to say, I preferred the sort of games they had in the early days to the type that are on their way. Nothing seems quite as exciting as OOT 3D, so I hope there are more like that.

Emaan

#41

Emaan said:

Well if it shows, it's the fact that games make the system more appealing. In a great majority of 2011, the 3DS had nothing worth buying it for. 2012 worked to amend these issues, and I feel 2013 is where we finally are starting to see some key franchises showing up on the system. Oh and Pokemon. Pokemon is huge. :O

Jaco

#42

Jaco said:

@NintendoPro64 You basically said everything I've been trying to say to my friends for the last couple months about WiiU. A lot of people seem to just want to predict doom when things are going slow but it's premature. Just look at 3DS or PS3.

I finally got some of my friends to get a 3DS and they are not disappointed. And I know of a good number of people waiting for the the Pokemon games to get one so I know the 3DS is sure going to fly!

Game0ver_Gavin

#43

Game0ver_Gavin said:

I remember when all the PS fanboys were claiming Vita would destroy the 3DS because of it being more powerful. Hah. Unless Sony pulls something out of it's hat at E3, the Vita has no chance this year. All they needed was a Pokémon game and they'd be sell 4 million 3DS's, but no. They have Pokémon, Zelda, Mario Party, and the promise of a new Yoshi's Island and Smash Bros. in 2014. 3DS forever!

McGruber

#45

McGruber said:

It will be a banner year for 3DS mostly because of Pokemon X & Y. That game seems like the one that will actually sell systems to me. I don't understand how they can put Mario Party out on 3DS and expect it to do better than the DS one without adding online multiplayer. To have it in Luigi's Mansion, and not Mario Party would be pretty obsurd. But hey, Luigi's Mansion is amazing so it's whatever

DaveC

#46

DaveC said:

I just wish there were a few FPS games, there are NONE and there were some for the DS and even GBA, why not the 3DS? That would certainly help in the gun-crazy West ;)

Moshugan

#47

Moshugan said:

I think that Wii U was prematurely released. Everything points that it should've been a Holiday 2013 release.
Sure, this gave it headstart to PS4/X720 but most games are being released later this year.
However, next year will be awesome for Wii U!
Let's hope it'll take off like 3DS did.

ToxieDogg

#48

ToxieDogg said:

It's nothing to do with western gamers finally 'getting' the 3DS, it's to do with them finally releasing a great selection of must have titles, with plenty more advertised in the near future.

Which is also what the Wii U sorely needs before many gamers will 'get it'.

Ralizah

#49

Ralizah said:

Maybe we can get a few years of respite from the familiar refrain about smartphones crushing the handheld market now? The only audiences that Nintendo has lost are the ultra-casual market that bought the DS to play Solitaire and the trend-followers who bought a DS because it was popular and everyone else had one. Anybody with a lick of interest in gaming sees the difference in quality between iOS/Android games and 3DS/Vita games.

And, of course, remember that Q4 is seeing the release of a new main series Pokemon game and a new original Zelda title. This holiday is going to be massively profitable for Nintendo.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my Android smartphone. It is so useful on so many levels. But it could never replace my handheld gaming device. Even the more unique and in-depth mobile games pale in comparison to proper handheld games.

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