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Why the 3DS Will Likely not Overshadow the Wii U; A Response to No More Shaders

June 29th, 2013 by Nin3DS1 comment



If you’ve been on various Nintendo news sites in the past day or so, you may have heard about the No More Shaders article going round that talks of the 3DS potentially overshadowing the Wii U due to things like pricing differences and the release of Pokemon X and Y on the former.

But I don’t think there’s really as much of an issue as people think here.  Why?  Let me explain:

1. Many People Have No Interest in Pokemon

So on that note, any talk about how relevant Pokemon X and Y is kind of go out of the window, especially for any Mario fans out there who already own a 3DS and likely own most of the Mario games being released for it.

For these people (myself included), it doesn’t MATTER how big a deal 3D Pokemon is, because they don’t care for it.  And for the parents of these people (for those who don’t have the money to buy their own games/systems), it could be very true that Mario 3D World is the much bigger deal in general since what they’re comparing to is the other upcoming 3DS games. Like Link Between Worlds, Mario Party 3DS, etc.

Pokemon X box art Pokemon Y box art

Above: Pokemon X and Y, not the be all and end all for all Nintendo fans and gamers.

And if they don’t think these games match up to a fully 3D Mario game with four player co-op and all the trimmings, then the Wii U becomes the more attractive purchase.  So let’s not forget that for starters, that not everyone likes or cares about Pokemon as a franchise.

2. A significant portion of Wii U buyers already own a 3DS and games

Another issue being made is that the author is assuming that everyone has to make the choice between a 3DS and Wii U, and that most/many Nintendo fans own neither.

But while that might be the case for quite a lot of people, it’s certainly not the case for everyone.  Many people did buy a 3DS for the games mentioned in the 3DS games list after all.  They may well own 3D Land, New Super Mario Bros 2, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Mario Kart 7, Mario Tennis Open, Paper Mario Sticker Star, Animal Crossing New Leaf or whatever games are mentioned.  Heck, about all but ten of the games mentioned are already available right now and owned by a significant portion of Nintendo fans.

3ds3

Above: This little system has sold over 30 million units so far.  And those people might be after a Wii U soon..

Lego City Undercover the Chase Begins box art  Luigis Mansion 2 European Box Art Donkey Kong Country Returns box art Paper Mario Sticker Star Box New Super Mario Bros 2 Box Art Mario Kart 7 Box

Above: Many people have owned these games for months or year now…

If the fans own these games, even the most stupid parent won’t buy them again or buy a second/third/fourth 3DS system.  Those thirty odd million 3DS owners?  Have plenty of money now to buy a Wii U, which can’t exactly be too bad for Nintendo’s sales.

3. Parents don’t exactly buy based on bad guesswork any more

Another thing to consider here is fairly simple; few are the parents who are buying their kids games with zero research, zero prompting by the kid themselves in the direction of the game said kid wants and zero knowhow.

Seriously, if a young Nintendo fan/gamer seriously wants Super Mario 3D World/Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze/A Wii U, they’ll probably tell their parents they want this thing, write it on a list for Santa Claus/Father Christmas and make it pretty darn clear they want said item.

And so said parent will just go to the store and buy pretty much whatever item said fan wants, since it’s far easier and more practical to do so than jump in without a clue what you’re buying and end up having to deal with tears and arguments when Christmas Day comes round.  I don’t genuinely think too many parents go out and deliberately pick games and consoles their kids don’t want to begin with, at least once said kids have started playing video games and an idea of what types of games they want.

4. The Gamecube is not a good example (when used in the way it is in the article)

Another potential error the original article makes is talking about the Gamecube as if its failure was offering ‘nothing different’ from the GBA.

But you know what really hurt the Gamecube?

The games.  The marketing.  And a lot of other stuff besides.

The Gamecube didn’t sell (at least according to Sean Malstrom and other such figures), because the games repelled people.  The majority didn’t want Mario on a tropical island with a water jetpack, cel shaded Link sailing in a boat or Donkey Kong as controlled by the bongos in a drug trip inspired world of craziness, they wanted a more traditional Mario platformer, a more ‘realistic’ Zelda and a more Donkey Kong Country style Donkey Kong game.

Mario Sunshine

Above: The Gamecube’s games alienated more people than the GBA did.

I strongly doubt people didn’t need a second Nintendo playing device, they just didn’t like what Nintendo was putting out on the Gamecube at time and didn’t want to splash out for it.

5. Nintendo’s handhelds and home systems do sell despite offering very similar experiences and titles

Additionally, while it’s very convenient (and easy) to talk about the GBA being responsible for the ‘failure’ of the Gamecube and the Wii as being too different from the DS to have an impact on the sales of the other system (the last one is very debatable), there’s a complete lack of understanding that the SNES and Nintendo 64 both competed with the Game Boy and managed to at do at least decently well in the process.

You know what else was interesting?  Both the SNES and Game Boy were just ‘Nintendo game playing machines’.  And parents could ‘find’ similar experiences on either then too…

SNESGBCompare

Above: A very similar set of ‘experiences’ for an uninformed parent, right?

But that didn’t stop the SNES selling.  It arguably didn’t stop the Nintendo 64 selling (competition and business choices did that) and it wouldn’t have stopped the NES selling if the Game Boy was around back then. Just because a handheld system is cheaper and has ‘similar’ games doesn’t mean it makes home consoles fail to sell.  Heck, the experiences offered by some Game Boy games were far closer to those of their SNES counterparts than the 3DS ones were to their Wii U equivalents.  Is the best you can do really comparing Luigi’s Mansion 2 to New Super Luigi U, when the Game Boy had a whole lineup of Donkey Kong Land titles that used the same bosses, music, graphics, locations and themes from their home console counterparts?

Above: Donkey Kong Land 2′s music was basically identical in basic tone to that in the SNES version, but nobody thought Land 2 was a ‘good enough’ substitute to its home console bretheren.

If the 3DS library makes the Wii U’s one seem redundant, then the Game Boy should have theoretically made the SNES’ one seem redundant (it even had one more Mario game and two more Zelda games than the home console!).  But it didn’t stop either system selling back then.

Really, I think the No More Shaders Article is just wrong on so many levels that it makes little sense. The things being brought up as issues are nowhere near as problematic as the author makes out, and whether a handheld or home console sells is based on far more than just price and what names are on the packaging.

Have Your Say!

  • Graham

    While I think some of the points here are valid the is a fair amount of fuzzy logic to the arguments.
    1) I’m with you. I couldn’t give a flip about a 3D Pokemon and I don’t think that it will move the needle as far as holiday sales choice between systems. However, Pokemon is a popular franchise and someone who was sitting on the fence of both systems, as I was until recently, might go for a Wii U because of it. I bought a 3DS XL because of Monster Hunter. I wanted to play the game but I didn’t want to spend $400 to do it. That doesn’t mean someone else in a similar situation won’t.
    2) I believe you are right, but the focus of the article was centered around out of the woods parents, not gamers. Frankly gamers, being more informed, have shown no interest in making the Wii U a big hit.
    3) While I agree that many parents now are former gamers or at least more informed, there are still many parents who think the way the article describes. I have heard my brother and sister-in-law tell their 7 year old son that he can already play games on his DS and they are not going to buy a new console. The reality is parents have no problem with their kids playing games but they have no interest in going broke because of it.
    4) I agree with you whole heartedly. I loved that thing but it was a hot mess.
    5) I don’t think the the Wii and the DS had any comparable points. They were two very different systems. With the Gameboy you had the first viable, (in my opinion), handheld system that could play different games. That itself was a strong selling point. Plus the graphics were garbage compared to the SNES. similar experiences gameplay wise, maybe, but not really the same.
    I think that you undervalue the focal point of the article. Price does matter. Ask the Sony how console gaming on the go for $250-300 is working out for them.