Nintendo’s 3DS also managed to capture that timeless Nintendo feeling on launch a couple of years ago, with the new 2DS, a flatter, non flip model, following later as the newest addition to the lineup. All the 3DS and 2DS consoles have fared reasonably well here in the UK and the US, but apparently Nintendo has some reservations about bringing the next iteration of the DS to English-speaking territories.
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The said new model is an upgraded version of the timeless flip design, seen above, which harks back to the original DS, the first major handheld console with a touchscreen. How far we’ve come today… Just look at the PS Vita for example.
But according to Satoru Iwata, the big boss over at Nintendo Japan, western markets just don’t need the new version yet – current offering are more than enough apparently.
“The overseas markets are different from the Japanese market in both their stages of popularisation of Nintendo 3DS and their market characteristics,” He said in a recent financial briefing.
“Neither of the cumulative sales figures of Nintendo 3DS in the U.S. nor Europe is more than that in Japan despite, based on the historical performance, bigger sales potential. In short, Nintendo 3DS is still at an earlier stage of popularisation in these two markets.”
Japan has an intimate and storied history with the handheld – the PSP, DS and Game Boy all growing up in the country, the handheld was born in Japan – for Japan, there just is no other way to explain it. The close proximity of living spaces in the country’s crowded cities and public transport, plus a high student population also factor into the success of handhelds in Japan.
Here in the west, homes are bigger, demands are greater and the gaming culture has been saturated with the promise of flashy graphics and intense multiplayer for years. The West just isn’t as receptive to portable gaming as Japan has been over the last two decades – even mobile gaming on smartphones hasn’t taken much of a chunk out of the ‘sitting room gaming’ experience we’re used to over here.
This is why Iwata thinks we in the West just don’t need a new 3DS – whereas back in his native Japan, the insatiable legions of handheld gamers have almost worn out the current generation of DS consoles.
“In Japan, the total number of sales of Nintendo 3DS has reached nearly 17 million in the three and a half years since its launch. It is almost the same as the lifetime sales of GameBoy Advance released in 2001, which implies that it is reasonable that the sales of Nintendo 3DS have been temporarily slow moving in the Japanese market. This is one of the reasons we needed to bring New Nintendo 3DS/3DS XL to the market this year.” Iwata said.
With massive appeal and market relevance in the country, Japan is the most logical choice for that brand new 3DS – over here in the UK and over in the US, gamers will sadly have to wait, at least after Christmas for the new console.