Posted on July 15 2011 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
While Ocarina of Time 3D performed admirably in its stint at the top of the charts during its first week on sale and managed to end June as the second best-selling game that month, it seems that is success was short-lived. The game was supposed to bring the 3DS out of its sales slump and begin a long upward trend for the system as well as rocketing software sales, but as of now the game’s been on sale for four weeks, and it seems the momentum has all but died down.
After three weeks on top of the handheld market, 3DS has sunk back down to the last place seller among all major gaming consoles. Even Ocarina of Time‘s numbers aren’t looking too great – while the last two DS games both managed to sell one million units within the first two weeks on the market, Ocarina of Time 3D‘s still about a quarter-million away after twice the time.
I’m a little worried about the future of the handheld, and I’m seriously hoping that the software coming later this year does for the 3DS what New Super Mario Bros. did for its predecessor. While I hate to be cynical, I unfortunately can’t see that happening. While Mario Kart and Super Mario are sure to do fairly well, I’m not sure other games like Kid Icarus or Star Fox are aimed at targeting the right audience to really boost the 3DS’s viability. Even then, it’s hard to say whether Super Mario will truly bridge the gap between Super Mario Bros. and 3D Mario games, despite the clear effort Nintendo’s putting out to make this happen.
It’s the first time ever that I think Nintendo’s really been in this position. Even the DS had a real sure-fire hit in the wings with New Super Mario Bros., but the 3DS is going with the more risky Super Mario and really banking on Mario Bros. players jumping over to the new 3D hybrid. The system’s been on sale for months now and it’s still sitting at about 3 million units sold, meaning there’s not a particularly potent existing userbase – new games have to be system sellers to succeed. Do they have a contingency plan if that doesn’t happen with Mario? I have no idea, to be honest with you.
I do know that Nintendo’s failure to deliver content on both of their current platforms is working against them right now. Wii is on top right now thanks to the price cuts and Nintendo Selects offers, but that can only carry them so far. They need content – consistent, quality content – to stay on top, and decisions like saving strong 3DS software until after launch (really, Pilotwings was the headline title?), refusing to fill the software drought with already-completed games like Xenoblade and The Last Story, and essentially ending Wii development aren’t helping them accomplish this. All I know is right now I’m extremely skeptical that the 3DS will wind up being worth the $250 I paid for it.