It seems like only yesterday that I was ready to proclaim the Nintendo 3DS as the next big thing.
And it was, for a hot second. The 3DS was the most preordered game console ever, doubling numbers that the Wii put up. But why did sales drop so sharply only months after its release? What was the big problem?
Shiny New Console Syndrome is a temporary ailment. Eventually, the 3D novelty can no longer stand on its own and the settings menu stops being so much fun to look at. You need games to play. Good games.
Sure, eventually The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D came out, and that was a big deal. But it was still a remake, not an original. Other than that, there were a handful of games that were greeted with a collective "meh" across the industry. The biggest 3DS game coming out this month? Star Fox 64 3D, another remake.
Consumers got smart. They knew that eventually there will be another Mario Kart game and another Mario Bros game that will likely become must-plays, but they'll wait until the games are available before jumping in on the system.
Sales plummeted. In response, Nintendo dropped the price of the system by an unprecedented $80. Everyone who waited to buy the system was vindicated for waiting. But what about the early adopters?
I was one of the preorders. So yeah, I felt screwed out of $80. But then Nintendo announced the "3DS Ambassador" program which would award those who bought the system before August 12th with 20 free downloadable games. That's a pretty hefty number. 10 of them have already been released, and include such classics as old-school NES titles The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., and Metroid. For a minute there, it felt kinda good to be a 3DS Ambassador.
But Nintendo apparently wasn't finished. It's now been revealed that they are releasing an attachment to the 3DS that includes a second analog circle pad and three additional shoulder buttons.
On one hand, this is a smart move as it will take away the dual-analog control exclusivity that the Sony Playstation Vita was projected to wield. On the other hand, we know that Nintendo will now begin releasing games that require the use of this pad, so that's another peripheral to buy. And it looks awfully bulky and a lot less portable than the 3DS on its own.
Thanks to a German 3DS site, new rumors are alive. Grumblings are that Nintendo is planning a new 3DS model, and we can only speculate that it will include the second analog pad and additional shoulder buttons in its new chassis. And judging by Nintendo's history with the original DS, they were never shy to release new models, and release them early. But never has there been such a drastic adjustment to the control scheme for an entire Nintendo console, particularly so close to launch.
So with a new Nintendo 3DS model potentially on the horizon, what does that mean? We 3DS Ambassadors not only spent $80 more than we had to, but we may also be the only ones required to buy this new peripheral before it's built-in to a brand new 3DS model.
Being a 3DS Ambassador sucks.