It's safe to say that for many children, holiday memories will always be deeply connected to the Nintendo product wrapped under the tree, or being driven across the country in their grandparents' trunk. It certainly wouldn't be the holiday season without an impending launch of a Nintendo product, and although the wait isn't quite over, the Nintendo 3DS is on the way. While North American gamers will have to wait until March 2011 to get their hands on Nintendo's new handheld, Nintendo believes that the launch will undoubtedly take its place in the company's history as one of its "landmark" hardware releases.
The belief may be a fair one, given the titles that have been announced as in-production for the new platform. Recent years have proven that launch titles can make or break a system's success in its first months, so developer support is just as important as the device's technology.
Dawn Paine, the manager of marketing for Nintendo UK is looking forward to the launch in the new year, telling MCV that it's a sentiment shared by the company as a whole:
“We’re really relishing one of those big landmark moments...As you can imagine, we are deep in the planning and it is going to be another once-in-a-cycle launch.”
There's no denying the unbelievable explosion in the handheld market for gaming, especially on devices like the iPhone and Android. From casual games to those aspiring to hardcore heights, the market once dominated by the Japanese company has seen some serious increase in competition. Nintendo isn't short on games for the 3D platform, with Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D and the potential return of a platforming favorite just a few of the 3DS games to look forward to.
If there was any thought that the influx of European and North American content in the handheld market would hurt Nintendo's popularity among the non-gaming crowd, it's something the company isn't worried about one bit. In fact, they're looking forward to the competition:
“The difference is that there are other brands operating in that space — and we’re really excited about the positioning of the product and what it can achieve...It’s the world’s first mass-market, portable, 3D device, without glasses. Buried within that one sentence are some huge factors that will bring about big changes...It’s a great opportunity to explode 3D onto the wider marketplace.”
The introduction of an affordable, well-supported 3D device could certainly change the way media is used in today's world. Nintendo has already hinted at the possibilities of streaming television programs as well as big-budget 3D movies as viable opportunities on the 3DS, and the device hasn't even launched yet.
Even though the game didn't meet the launch we all hoped for, there really is limitless potential. The size of the game cartridges could open the door for much larger and richer experiences, but that is only if developers are willing to spend the large amounts of money it apparently takes to develop a title for the device.
Clearly the potential of the 3DS to change the way we see the handheld gaming market isn't lost on Nintendo, and the past has shown that whenever they experiment with improving their portable gaming devices, the results are usually worth the risk. Those who thought that the 3D hardware put on display at E3 was just a novelty were clearly wrong, as the company has big plans for the little machine.
We'll see how close the launch comes to other "landmark" releases in the company's history when the Nintendo 3DS is released in Japan on February 26, 2011, and North America sometime after.