The 3DS has come a long way since it launched less than a year ago and this is thanks to extensive firmware updates, a price cut and good software finally coming out for it. Though the portable gaming machine has a long way to come to enjoy more success in this generation. Some things I mention here are more for nit-picking, there are some pretty glaring issues that may be holding back the 3DS from reaching true success.
The first thing, though least troubling, is most noticable only after spending a decent amount of time nagivating through the eShop and other system menus. That is the lack of button integration, it feels very half-hearted. You can use the D-Pad, A and B buttons to navigate most menus without having to use your trusty Stylus, but that’s the problem, you can only naviagte most, not all. Its usually when you get deep enough into a sub menu then want to go back that you notice the B button no longer does what it should and though it is not assigned to any other function you still must press the Back button on the screen then continue as normal. They should have either forced you to use the touch screen entirely or fully integrated button use in the system menus.
Another more obvious issue is the eShop. It is terribly organized with little rhyme or reason for a lot of the sections, as well as how they are presented. I wouldn’t mind all these sections that change week to week so long as they were in alphabetical order, or maybe started with those sections that have new software added first, or anything really,so I could hop on and find interesting contentc without scrolling through a line-up of sections. There is a newest software option in the menu of the eShop but it also happens to show downloadable videos, thus making it hard to find games amid random videos, that also needs correcting.
It would be hard to lay out the eShop in a way similar to the PSN or Xbox Live as there are no add-ons, demos, themes or avatar enhancements to create a section for, but I very much hope that once these features are common place on the 3DS, the eShop gets a major overhaul, along with that should come some sales. Digital sales are simply expected now when it comes to downloadable games, the PSP has them and it’s been around since before the DSi got it’s own marketplace. Sales help get people excited about buying digitally and they are a major driving force behind the digital market, even on ce a month Nintendo, that’s all I ask. I wouldn’t complain if they lowered the prices on some of their games as well, there is no reason Plants vs. Zombies should cost almost as much on the 3DS as it does on Xbox Live.
Most of my qualms happen to be with the online services that Nintendo is or isn’t providing and that is because we are a generation of connection, everything is connected, even refridgerators have wi-fi now, so why can’t we add those people we meet via StreetPass be our online friends too. There should be a system in place that allows you to send a friend request to those Mii’s you pick up on your daily commute, then after accepting they are in your friends list allowing for the ability to enjoy games with them online. The friends system is closed off enough with those archaic friend codes as it is, so this would help make it far more accessible and useful.
I know they are limiting the ability to message and share information with random people because of safety reasons, but if Nintendo is only concerned with the child market of gamers then they should not complain when all the adult gamers aren’t buying their products. Also, SwapNote is hardly a replacement for actually being able to message a friend, who has your friendcode somehow anyway, so they can’t be a pedophile, right?
The hardware in the 3DS is powerful enough to be enjoyed for a couple more years, but that hardware will mean nothing if it can’t provide a cohesive and connected experience that is now expected from technology today. Nintendo tried to innovate with the StreetPass,SpotPass,and the eShop but still doesn’t seem to understand how to make those actually useful in day to day gaming, unless of course you really, really just want to get all those hats.
Is there anything I missed? What do you think would help the 3DS succeed this year?