Nintendo Prez Makes Guess About Why People Aren’t Buying the 3DS

The majority of 3DS sales came in the first week of release or so in each territory; it’s been kinda trudging along since then. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata thinks he knows why that is, and he explained it in his year-end financial briefing today.

Here are a couple quotes from the presentation that Nintendo translated: (warning: the translation is not very good)

The value of 3D images without the need for special glasses is hard to be understood through the existing media. However, we have found that people cannot feel it just by trying out a device, rather, some might even misestimate it when experiencing the images in an improper fashion.

Call me a cynic if you like, but it sounds to me like he’s completely dismissing the possibility that most people just don’t care about 3D even if you don’t need glasses to see it. No amount of arm-twisting is going to change that; you just need better content. Speaking of which:

In addition to glassless 3D images, Nintendo 3DS has various features including new communication methods like “StreetPass” and “SpotPass,” AR(Augmented Reality)-related functions, “Mii Maker” and so on. However, it is now clear that the combination of these new features is not necessarily easy-to-understand by just saying one word to those without experience.

I don’t really think any of those things are selling points for the device. They’re just nice little features that few people care about. I have a 3DS, and I tend to forget that those things are even there. That’s not because I don’t understand them; they just don’t add much to the experience of using a 3DS. But, again that doesn’t matter, because those aren’t selling points.

To his credit, Iwata does get to the actual heart of the lackadaisical 3DS sales:

There is a big proposition that not that many people believe “Now is the time to buy it!” The penetration will not gain speed without overcoming this challenge. After all, the way to solve this problem lies in how to communicate “what kind of games can be played,” as long as Nintendo 3DS is a gaming device. There might be consumers who are interested in Nintendo 3DS, but they are unable to find software which they want to play, and they are in the “wait-and-see mode.”

And that’s really what it’s all about. Nintendo shouldn’t really worry about slow sales until the eShop is up and a handful of first-party titles have been released. If it’s not going like crazy in November, though…

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