Friday, September 5, 2014

The New 3DS - Who The Hell is This For?

    I am a tech guy who enjoys playing with different hardware, either has a hobbiest or just as a consumer.  I'm not an expert like most tech people, it's just a hobby I have to flex my programmers brain.  So I'm used to reading and hearing about new revisions of devices I already own, it really never bothers me because it doesn't automatically make my device I own completely useless.  The New 3DS Nintendo announced though left a nasty taste in my mouth though.  Mostly because of one of new selling points is that certain games will run only on it.  It's not so much that Nintendo is going to fragment the market (Which I can see happening), it's more so that Microsoft and Sony might see this as a good idea to copy.  But after thinking about it, Nintendo is kinda responding to all the complaints about lack of decent hardware.  Which is odd because even though the 3DS is destroying the Playstation Vita in sales and is getting great games, people still think it's not good enough.

    As I said before I have a lot of different types of hardware, and over time new versions will always come out; that is the market.  For example the different Arduino's and Raspberry Pi's revisions, where they have different features or fixes for newer models released.  I have a Raspberry Pi B that has a revision new called B+.  It added more USB ports with better hot swapping, different connector for composite video, and other features like more GPIO pins.  Now the B+ was made to not make the A and B models useless, they oped to not use a newer CPU to avoid fragmenting the OS's made for it.  Which means that even though it has more stuff for the hardware, it doesn't make older boards useless and dropped in terms of support.  Which is good given it's a teaching tool first, and a fragmented board market can make it hard to jump in.  Unlike the New 3DS where Nintendo announced that because of their better specs the system can run games that older 3DS's can't run.  This isn't new, the DSi did this where the eShop allowed the system to download games the older DS couldn't play.  That didn't cause an outcry and I believe the issue steams from the fact that most DSi eShop games weren't good, and games that could use the DSi's newer features didn't lock out people with older systems.  Instead the game Nintendo was showing off was Xenoblade Chronicles.  So instead of mostly gimmicky games that wouldn't have lasted as a cart release in a store, it was a game that people petitioned to have released in the states.  This is worrying because it means people might have to buy a newer version of a current gen system to play newer games, and that is a legitimate concern.  Personally I'm not completely worried because Nintendo has done this before, only not to this level.  So for me given the track record it's a wait and see.

    My worry is that companies tend to copy ideas that work in the market place full boner.  I'm referring to Microsoft and Sony, where devs have been reporting to have already tapped the system capabilities.  This is a bit of a worry because if the two cave to the possible demands from developers and release the XBox One.5 or the Playstation 4 1/2 would devs completely abandon the older hardware for more leg room.  Common sense would say no because publishers would like to hit as many consumers as possible.  Which is why even after the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One games still were coming out for the last generation's system during the post launch window.  On the other hand hardly being able to hit the 1080p and 60 frames per second benchmark marketing has hyped up, plus how devs shunned the WiiU because of it's lacking specs could most likely make Sony and Microsoft think; "If Nintendo can take a system already selling well and give it better specs for it to play better games, why not us?"  This whole mess really make me thing about the Playstation Portable and how Sony didn't listen to demands to add a second analog stick.  They knew it would cause a unwanted hardware fragmentation with their games.

    My thoughts on The New 3DS itself is that I think it is ugly.  The second analog stick is very small and looks like it's oddly placed.  I'm not fond of the Super Famicom button colors, pretty sure if brought to the states it will be changed to match the Super Nintendo colors instead.  I honestly don't like the idea of placing the game cart on the bottom of the system, because you can hit the bottom and have the cart pop up.  The ZR and ZL buttons are oddly placed for me personally given how I hold the system.  I think the IR tracking is smart to allow the players to hold the 3DS in more then 4 slightly different positions.  For the new CPU though I'm not surprised it was done if they were adding a second analog stick.  When Kid Icarus came out the devs claimed that they couldn't do dual analog because the CPU wasn't powerful enough.  Personally I don't believe that because it could support analog+styus input (two analog values), but that's just me.  The biggest group of people this will cause headaches for is the "casual gamer".  When the 2DS came out I noticed Pokemon X and Y had stickers added to them stating it works on the 2DS.  How is Nintendo going to market this new version so people know which game runs on what?  They already screwed up on the WiiU, and the 2DS is having issues of it's own.

    That is my honest take on The New 3DS, I honestly think it's too soon to do something like this.  It's looks poorly designed, and I will just wait for the The New 3DS Hyper Edition.

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