As you may or may not have noticed, I am a big fan of video games. I own well over 100 video games, and I own every single current video game console out there. My introduction to video games came when my parents bought my brother and I a Nintendo Entertainment System when we were little kids. I have pretty much been a Nintendo fanboy ever since. Sure, there have been times when I’ve been a little less enthusiastic about Nintendo than at other times. But all in all I’ve remained pretty faithful over the years. After all, I’ve owned every single Nintendo console that’s ever been released except for the Game Boy Color, and that includes the Virtual Boy (and two different versions of the Game Boy Advance).
However, I’m starting to wonder if my days as a Nintendo fan are numbered. Not only that, but I’m starting to wonder if Nintendo’s days as a major player in the video game industry are numbered. You see, Nintendo has a new console coming out in a couple of months, the Nintendo 3DS. As you might have gathered from the name, it displays images in 3D, and it’s one of the first devices to display 3D images without needing special glasses to see them. It also has a 3D camera, so you can take 3D pictures and show them off. It’s got some other nice features too. It’s definitely a nice video game console, but aside from the 3D, it doesn’t really do anything that other devices (namely the iPhone/iPod Touch) don’t already do.
So you would think that maybe it would be pretty cheap, right? At the very least, cheaper than the iPod Touch, right? Well, you would be wrong. Nintendo is for some reason pricing this thing at $250. You can get an iPod Touch for $230.
I really am having a hard time understanding the logic behind this thinking. I mean, the 3DS is decent, but it’s really not spectacular. It’s not as powerful as an iPod Touch, and it’s more expensive than the base model of the iPod Touch. Oh, and that model has 8 GB of storage, whereas the 3DS only has 1.5 GB of storage. Granted, the iPod Touch isn’t specifically designed to be a video game console like the 3DS is, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a ton of good games for it. Plus, it can do so many other things that the 3DS can’t do, or at least can’t do as well.
Now, obviously I haven’t actually used a 3DS, so some of this is going to be assumption, but I think it’s pretty good assumption. One of the core features of the iPod Touch is the ability to store music on it and listen to that music. The 3DS will, I believe, have this capability as well, but it’s unlikely to be as good as on the iPod Touch. For one, the 3DS only has 1.5 GB of internal storage. That’s not going to hold very many songs. The 3DS does have an SD card slot, but that’s still kind of a pain. Plus, the iPod Touch syncs with iTunes, making it easy to transfer music to and from the device. The 3DS doesn’t have anything like that.
I could go on at great length about all of the things that make the iPod Touch superior to the 3DS, but the biggest factor to compare is games. The 3DS has three things going for it in this regard: 3D, physical buttons, and Nintendo’s exclusive franchises such as Mario and Zelda. Only two of those things actually matter to me. 3D is just a gimmick. I really have no interest in playing games in 3D. I would definitely check it out if I had a 3DS. But I’m not going to pay $250 for 3D.
As for physical buttons, this might require a bit of explanation if you’re not a gamer. The iPod Touch has no physical controls for controlling gameplay. All of the control is done on the touch screen. There are quite a lot of innovative games that use touch controls to great effect, but traditional games designed for some sort of controller are hard to adapt to a touch screen. For those sorts of games, physical buttons are definitely superior. But again, they aren’t worth $250.
So finally we come to the last advantage the 3DS has: Nintendo’s exclusive franchises. As a long-time Nintendo fanboy, this is why I will eventually buy a 3DS. But even Nintendo exclusives are not enough to make me pay $250 for an underpowered and gimmicky console. I can wait until the price drops.
Plus, the $250 base price is just the beginning. I also need to buy games, and this is where the iPod Touch has spoiled me. Games on the iTunes App Store usually cost $1-$5. $10 is just about the highest price you’ll see for a game on the App Store, with one exception. (That would be Chaos Rings, which normally costs $13. I bought it when it was on sale for $7.) 3DS games, on the other hand, are likely to cost $30-$40. Official pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but considering that’s how much games for Nintendo’s current DS system cost, I can’t quite imagine that games for the 3DS are going to be any less.
And ultimately, this is the problem. I already own an iPod Touch. And my iPod Touch does way more cool stuff than a 3DS will. So why in the world would I spend $250 on a 3DS when I already own something better?
The most frustrating thing about this is that nobody seems to care. At IGN, which is pretty much my sole source for video game news and information, most of the editors have already pre-ordered a 3DS. Now, from a professional standpoint, I would expect them to, because it’s their job to keep up on what’s going on in the video game industry. But all of them seem to think that $250 is a perfectly reasonable price point for the 3DS. Obviously, I disagree. So I’m going to vote against it with my wallet. I just hope that more Nintendo fans join me.