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Nintendo’s Plan For The 3DS

Great piece by Kirk Hamilton at Kotaku:

On my 3DS, the little games fit between the bigger games. On my iPhone, the little games fit between all the non-game stuff the device does. Fire Emblem and a handful of other games feel essential to my 3DS in the same way that email and Twitter functionality feel essential on my iPhone. Without the best 3DS games, I’d be much less interested in owning a 3DS; without email or Twitter, I’d be much less interested in owning an iPhone. It’s something of a chicken and egg scenario: Because the 3DS is made primarily to play games, its games feel essential; because the iPhone is made to do so much else, it derives essentiality from other things.

I agree. People interested in gaming aren’t buying a 3DS for its camera software, just like they aren’t buying a PS Vita for the Internet browser. On the flip side, would they buy an iPod touch to get a mix of quick-fix and hardcore games? Would they buy a 3DS just for the non-Nintendo titles of the eShop?

I’m biased, obviously. I am a long-time Nintendo fan and I am enjoying my 3DS. I haven’t been able to deeply appreciate the mechanics of any original iOS game as much as I did for Super Mario 3D Land or Luigi’s Mansion 2. Maybe I did for Ridiculous Fishing, but it’d be like comparing a succulent Italian meal to a great snack. The Wii U is doing bad, but I still have faith in Nintendo’s ability to turn this around.

As Nintendo becomes more serious about its digital ecosystem (here’s my idea from last year), how will they keep differentiating themselves from mobile app stores?