Posts tagged ‘3DS’


In which I respond to aspersions cast by an internet necromancer

by wfgodbold

Nearly two years ago, I posted an overly long and verbose piece on why, despite my preference for region-free consoles and gaming, consumers don’t have the right to region-free games. This was mainly in response to Nintendo’s decision to region-lock the 3DS. Early this morning, through what I can only assume was the use of the necromantic arts, someone responded to that post. Because my response to that comment would have been far longer than a comment has any right to be, I chose to respond in a new post. Consider this a sequel to that original post.

In the two years since my original post, Nintendo launched the 3DS (region-locked), and then had to drop the price because it was too expensive and no one was buying it. I still have not bought one (the last Nintendo console I bought was the DS Lite–I haven’t bought a Wii and have no plans to buy a Wii U), though I have bought a PS3 and PS Vita in the meantime (both of which, you will notice, can at the very least play out-of-region physical games).

This, dear reader, is a little thing I like to call The Market.™

Sony has made choices with which I agree, and to support those choices, I am willing to pay for their consoles and games (and I have games for both systems from both the US and Japan).

Nintendo has continued to region-lock their consoles and games. The prices of those consoles and games have not dropped to the point where I would be willing to forego the ability to play games from all regions on one console, so I have not bought them (even though I would dearly love to play Tales of the Abyss with load times that aren’t measured in geologic time, and Project X Zone looks ridiculous enough to be awesome).

Sullivan, in his comment, says,

And Nintendo doesn’t owe you anything? You are a customer. Neither Nintendo nor their shareholders would make ANY money without the customers. They sure as hell owe you. And what you get for your money is that they patronize you and severely restrict your freedom. It is not okay. And telling people not to buy the system because of that is just stupid. It is not a solution. It was not the game developers’ choice to make games region locked.

In response, I would like to point out that Nintendo does not owe me anything.

I bought a DS Lite. Nintendo fulfilled its side of the bargain bye delivering what was promised–a region-free handheld gaming system. Since then, I have not been a Nintendo customer–I haven’t bought anything because I don’t want to pay them to restrict my gaming options. If you buy a 3DS/Wii/Wii U knowing that it’s region-locked, Nintendo still doesn’t owe you–you’re still getting exactly what you paid for.

I don’t owe support to game companies. Game companies don’t owe me good games, bad games, mediocre games, region-free games, or region-locked games. If a game company has a game I want to play, I buy it, and the relationship ends there.

Not buying the system because it’s region-locked is not only the solution, it’s the cheapest solution (it’s certainly cheaper than trying to get a big enough block of Nintendo stock to control the company’s decisions). If you’re not willing to give up the ability to play the games that come out despite the region-locking that Nintendo has foisted upon consumers, then you’ve made an economic decision that region-free gaming is not worth as much to you as it is to someone who chooses not to buy a Nintendo console because of the region-locking.

Nintendo is free to choose to region-lock their consoles and games. Sony is free to choose not to region-lock their consoles and games.

And the consumer is free to vote with his wallet and support whichever philosophy he agrees with, if he even cares. Sadly, I suspect most consumers don’t care about whether or not their consoles are region-locked.


I don’t grok Nintendo’s thought process…

by wfgodbold

As part of a way to sell more 3DS widgets, they’ve developed a steering wheel peripheral that fits on the outside of the 3DS so that you can more easily (I guess?) use the accelerometer to steer in-game.

The only problem with that plan is that the 3D effect of the screen only works if you hold the system in one position.

If you use this steering wheel doodad to play Mario Kart “3D”, you won’t actually be able to play it in 3D; you’ll have to fix the screen so that it’s displaying 2D. If you want to play in 3D, you have to hold the 3DS in the regular position without moving it to steer.

They had the same problem with Super Monkey Ball 3D; if you tilted the system to control the ball’s movement, you wouldn’t be able to see the eye-popping 3D you paid extra to get.

Well played, Nintendo. You’ve managed to come up with an entirely useless product that millions of people will nonetheless buy.

I only wish I’d thought of it first!


Sorry, Nintendo

by wfgodbold

But a redesign and an addon second joystick are not going to transform the 3DS into a successful handheld console.

The games are too expensive (even more than DS games, and far more than smartphone games), and the system was too expensive at launch (and there were no games then, either). $170 is more palatable, but a redesign is going to be more expensive, and no one will buy it, either.

Not after the fiasco that was the 3DS launch.


Nintendo falls from heaven…

by wfgodbold

Mainly because of extremely poor 3DS sales (though another large factor is the strong yen, especially relative to the dollar).

To try to move more units, they’re cutting the system’s price in Japan by ¥10,000 (to ¥15,000) and in the US by $80 (to $170). That’s closer to what I’m willing to pay, though I’d be far more amenable if it weren’t region locked.

The new lower price point should make it more competitive with Sony’s PS Vita when it launches this winter, since it will be priced at $250 (for the wifi model; 3G will run $299). In the meantime, though, Nintendo will have to hope that software sales make up for the loss they’re going to be eating with every 3DS sold. With a big enough increase in the user base, that should be possible.

And if you do buy a new, lower priced 3DS (starting August 12th), pay no attention to that burning sensation in your eyes. That’s entirely normal.


Finally, details on the NGP that aren’t rank speculation

by wfgodbold

It’s not going to be officially called the NGP; the actual console name is the PlayStation Vita.

The wifi only model will be $250, and the 3G model (via AT&T) will be $300.

Sony is aiming for a worldwide release by the end of 2011.

Over 150 developers have signed on to support the NGP (PSV. Whatever.), including Falcom, Namco, SEGA, tri-Ace, and Square Enix.

It’s got an OLED touch screen, and a touch pad on the back, a built in mic, a PSV card slot, a memory card slot (probably some Memory Stick variant), and front and rear cameras.

That leak was fairly accurate (even if some of the information it contains doesn’t appear to have been presented).

It’s an impressive little system, and unlike the 3DS, it won’t give anyone who tries to use it a splitting headache.

No word yet on whether it will be region-free, though; hope springs eternal.


NGP details leaked!

by wfgodbold

If accurate, at E3 Sony will release the following information about their Next Generation Portable:

  • It will be released in time for Christmas 2011 in Japan; overseas, March 2012 is more likely.
  • The price will compete directly with the 3DS’s (for the non-3G model); the 3G capable model will probably cost more. Roughly ¥25000.
  • The leak does not reveal specifics regarding the memory; initial estimates put main memory at 512MB, graphics memory at 128MB, but recently it seems more likely that the main memory will be 256MB. They are trying to make the OS as small as possible (to ~26MB) and will put it in very fast memory. The graphics memory estimate is unchanged at 128MB.
  • The system’s initially planned 16GB of flash memory for games and data has been eliminated; games will be available on cards similar to SD cards.

No other new data was leaked; this may change with the presentation at E3, or may be inaccurate.

The total memory tops out at 410MB (256 + 128 + 26), which puts the NGP on par with the iPhone and the iPad 2’s 512MB of memory.

It looks like the original source was in French, which was then translated into Japanese, and which I have subsequently rendered into English. Telephone game rules apply (and my translation hat is probably a bit rusty).


No Tales of Graces for the US until 2012

by wfgodbold

Though we will be getting the 3DS port of Tales of the Abyss sometime this year.

Tales of Graces should be worth the wait; the graphics are crisp, the story is decent, and the dual styles each character has makes for a deep combat system.

Remember, if you want Tales of Xillia, you need to support Tales of games when they come out here!


In spite of the hype and fanfare

by wfgodbold

I have not yet bought a 3DS. I’m planning on stopping by Best Buy tomorrow; if they’ve got a demo unit set up, I’ll give it a whirl. Unless it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, I don’t see myself buying one.

Even if, as Kotaku claims, Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars is X-COM: UFO Defense (minus the aliens, of course). Initially I didn’t think that any of the launch games sounded interesting, but a real X-COM game (as opposed to the horrible, horrible FPS update that’s in the works) gets my squad combat strategy juices going. Fantasy SRPGs are fun and all, but opportunity fire and cover are even better (for a console strategy game with both of those, I recommend Valkyria Chronicles; if you can put up with the anime-style art and character-driven story, the gameplay will not disappoint).

I get the feeling that a lot of the games are going to depend on gimmicks; the DS was the same way when it was first released. In Steel Diver, if the player spins in a circle (like in a swivel chair), the submarine’s periscope will rotate. Since the game was originally a tech demo at E3 in 2004, I doubt that it pushes the 3DS envelope; it’s probably been just updated enough to release as a full game, a la Luigi’s Mansion.

Super Street Fighter IV is supposed to be the best example of what the 3DS can do, but even it has problems; the backgrounds are static and lifeless, and the over-the-shoulder angle (as opposed to the traditional side-on camera angle) makes judging distance impossible.

I also have it on good authority that Pilotwings Resort is fun; my friend and newly christened fly-jin Dan has been playing the Japanese release on his Japan-region 3DS, and claims that it’s great.

I don’t know that I’ll get a 3DS any time soon, but it’s a pretty sure bet that I’ll get one eventually; I assure you, gentle reader, that I didn’t make this post and fill it with Amazon affiliate links in a blatant attempt to capitalize on inevitable launch day traffic. Why, the very idea is absurd! Such blatant shilling would be completely out of in character!


So, how about that weather?

Update: After playing around with Best Buy’s demo unit for a few minutes, I can definitely say that the 3D is impressive. On the other hand, I was decidedly less impressed with Pilotwings Resort; it’s basically a 3D handheld port of the plane flying games (it’s no flight simulator, trust me) included in Wii Sports Resort. They only had the one demo unit, and it only had the one game, so I don’t know if any of the other games are any good. If you’re curious, head to a Best Buy (I imagine Gamestops will have demo units set up, but I haven’t seen for myself) and try it out.


3DS and NGP news, or Lash me to the mast and call me Odysseus

by wfgodbold

‘Cause the 3DS’s siren song is working.

Engadet’s review makes it sound like the 3DS invented sliced bread whilst walking across water; I have to admit, the augmented reality games sound pretty cool. They confirm that the system is region-locked (though given the current ¥-$ exchange rate, that’s probably for the best, especially for my wallet), though they do point out that the region-locking only affects 3DS games; DS games from any region should still work fine.

The big news on the NGP front is that all of the games will be downloadable, and some might not have a physical release at all. Hopefully the bigger titles will be released on physical media at some point; I thought one of the main drawbacks to the PSP G0 was that there was no way to get UMD-only releases onto the console without hacking.

Now all Sony needs to do is give me a way to get my UMD games into digital format for playing on the NGP, and I’ll be set to upgrade.


Finish the Promise

by wfgodbold

Tales of the Abyss was released with much fanfare for the PS2 (thanks to the 10th anniversary of the Tales of series), and was well received; in its first year, it sold nearly half a million copies in Japan alone.

It was decently reviewed in the US as well; my main issue with the game was the long load times. If it hadn’t had those, I’d have enjoyed it far more; that’s one reason I’m looking forward to the 3DS port.

Finish the Promise is an adaptation of the main Tales of the Abyss theme, Promise; this arrangement (as you might guess) plays during part of the final boss battle.

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