Nintendo is days away from launching its new handheld gaming system, the 3DS. Aside from having the potential to be the farthest reaching 3D consumer device released so far, the new gadget also has a host of other new features to go along with it. Unfortunately, one of them will be late for the party. When fans turn on their new eye-popping portable, they might notice that the eShop is nowhere to be found.
The 3DS eShop is the newest iteration of the various online marketplaces featured on Nintendo devices. It might be easy to assume that with the Wii and the DSi already containing virtual marketplaces of their own, this sort of thing would be old hat for Nintendo and should require no delay to launch.
However, in an interview with Gamasutra, 3DS lead project developer Hideki Konno gave some very blunt and honest reasons why the digital delivery service won’t be ready in time for the ball.
Here’s what he had to say:
“We definitely want to make sure that it's ready before we bring it out. The iterations that we've had before -- for Wii and DS -- to be honest, we just haven't been as satisfied as we would like.”
It’s nice to hear that Nintendo is looking to improve the online shopping experience on their devices. It's also rare that a company comes right out and admits when something they've been doing just isn't working. The current online shops are definitely a little slow and clunky to navigate, often requiring far more clicking and waiting than most seasoned online shoppers are willing to deal with.
Konno addressed part of the reasons for this sluggish experience and how they aim to correct it on the 3DS:
“And you know on Wii, of course, you had the promotion channel, which is where you went to get new information, and see game demos, or whatever. And so having those two separate, I think, didn't work really all that well, either.
"And for Nintendo 3DS, we really want to cover that all in one spot and cover it from all sides. And so we're really taking the right amount of time to make sure that it's right...it's not going to be browser-based; it's a native application. So again, the preparation needed for that is quite extensive."
While it’s certainly disappointing that the eShop will be a few months tardy to its own launch, any steps made to streamline the user experience are always welcome. Although it does beg the question of whether or not any one problem hindered or altered the development of the eShop, as Nintendo must have had some idea of how long it would take to finalize before deciding on a release date for the 3DS.
Will the absence of a major feature like this hurt potential launch sales of the 3DS? Will the average consumer even realize it’s missing? Should Nintendo have delayed the device’s launch until it was completely ready?
Whatever the outcome, those that do purchase a Nintendo 3DS on March 27th will have to wait until May to get their digital download on.