Jun 2, 2011

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3DS eShop Details, June 6 Date Confirmed

3DS eShop Details, June 6 Date Confirmed

Nintendo have confirmed that the 3DS update, which will include an internet browser and the eShop, will be live on June 6 for North America.  The previously leaked Pokédex 3D will be available for free at launch, and for those to upgrade by July 7, Nintendo is also offering Excitebike for free.

So far, the eShop launch line up for North America looks like this:

  • Excitebike – 3D Classics, free until July 7, then $4.99
  • Pokédex 3D – “3DSWare”, free
  • Super Mario Land – Game Boy, $3.99
  • Alleyway – Game Boy, $2.99
  • Radar Mission – Game Boy, $2.99

The selection shows off the different categories of applications that will be available for the 3DS via the eShop, including 3D Classics (old games remastered in 3D), 3DS Software, and Virtual Console (Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and other games).  Confusingly, Nintendo has decided to update the shop on Thursdays, instead of Mondays (when DSiWare and WiiWare titles release).

For each game, you will be able to view up to six dual-screen screenshots and six dual-screen videos, but Nintendo had no comment as to whether or not demos would have a place in the eShop; as of right now, the answer appears to be “none.”

In addition to the eShop, the 3DS update finally adds an internet browser, which users will be able to use even while playing a game by pressing the “home” button.  The browser will also enable you to view 3D content, but will not support Flash or PDF files.

You’ll also finally be able to transfer your DSiWare to your new 3DS, with the exception of a short list of titles. Keep in mind that once you transfer your games to your new 3DS, they will be wiped from your DSi XL or DSi, and Nintendo is still mum about whether you will be able to transfer your games to another 3DS if you decide to get a new color or upgrade to the inevitable 3DS Lite. This concept seems to be reinforced by the way the system handles transactions. While Nintendo have switched to a simple dollar system for games (rather than points), it looks like the system won’t remember your information, meaning games are still tied to the system, rather than to your account. Oh, and your points won’t transfer, remember, so if you’re planning on chucking your DSi, you might want to use up those points first.

Another note about the price is that Nintendo will let devs set their own prices, provided they meet the minimum price of $1.99.  Some more bad news for budget-minded gamers: no sales.  David Wharton, director of eShop operations, a new group formed inside Nintendo of America to handle all digital sales, commented:

“We believe strongly in maintaining the value of games. The race to the bottom is not in the best interest of the game business.”

So far, I have to say Nintendo have made another misstep with the 3DS.  Fans waited for months for the eShop to launch, and this is what we get?  While it’s great to finally be able to relive old classics like Super Mario Land, and experience Excitebike in its revamped glory, overall, I already see a lot of missed opportunities.  Nintendo’s continued refusal, for example, to utilize sales, is disheartening.  I can understand their point of view, but sales can make a huge difference in how well a title does, even if the discount is only 25%.  Though perhaps we will see a change in terms of demos, the fact is that demos can also go a long way in helping to sell a product, especially a digital one.

As someone who has really enjoyed my DS Lite and DSi XL, I can’t say Nintendo have done a great job in convincing me to part with my $250.  Bring some worthwhile games, give me reassurance that I can transfer my purchases if I decide to get a new color, and get on the bandwagon: people like discounts, and they are often more willing to spend money when something is on sale than when it isn’t.

[Source: Nintendo, Tiny Cartridge, Wired]