From infographics to hard numbers, the buzz surrounding the heir to Nintendo’s wildly successful Nintendo DS, the Nintendo 3DS, is more about how poorly the unit is doing on the market, rather than its library of games (one of the biggest reasons why it is doing so poorly) or the unit itself. French site 01Net is reporting that Nintendo is planning a drastic overhaul of their flailing unit; so drastic, that the two most prominent changes that 01Net is reporting Nintendo is considering making is radically toning down the 3D features of the machine — the feature after which the device is named — as well as adding a secondary, detachable circle pad (the 3DS version of an analog stick).
Now, these are rumors, but 01Net actually has a bit of pedigree, as it broke the news of the Wii U and PlayStation Vita’s specifications before their official announcements earlier this year.
The site claims to have received this information from its unnamed source, which it calls “one of the very few Nintendo employees to dare break the code of silence.” The source claims that Nintendo is already readying a second iteration of the Nintendo 3Ds for a 2012 launch, and that the recent price drop was a means to clear retailers of 3DS stock in order to make way for the supposed new iteration. The source also claims that third party developers are growing frustrated with Nintendo due to the lack of widely available 3DS dev kits — though third party frustration with Nintendo is a recurring theme each gaming generation — with companies on a long waiting list for dev kits, while only 300 are being made each month.
The report from 01Net is the first in a four part series regarding how Nintendo is turmoil regarding the sluggish sales and what direction to take the 3DS. Oddly enough, the rumor of radically toning down the 3D on the unit that was specifically designed with 3D being the main feature wouldn’t be a bad choice, as whenever I’ve personally spotted a 3DS in the wild, the 3D slider is set the “off” position, so it seems most gamers aren’t particularly thrilled with the feature to begin with. Although, Nintendo would never be able to live down removing the 3D from the 3DS, so who knows how likely of an option it’ll actually be.
Either way, something needs to be done to kickstart the 3DS, but I personally feel that has more to do with Nintendo and their philosophy than the flaws of the actual device — as we all know, in the world of video games, the actual games always end up being the determining factor as to whether or not a console succeeds.