Hey Nintendo of America, Where’s the New 3DS?

New 3DS

The roll-out of the New Nintendo 3DS has been a staggered and confusing one.  It’s evidently coming westward soon, but you wouldn’t know that if you live in North America. Nintendo of America, rather than put their promotional shoes forward, have been oddly radio silent on the handheld revision. Not since the pre-release of the DSi and DSi XL have we in the States had to wait so long for a Nintendo handheld.

This situation goes all the way back to when the New Nintendo 3DS was announced on August 29th, 2014. The announcement for a Japan-only release in October 2014 was kept quiet to the rest of the world. We quickly learned that the New 3DS would release in the west in 2015, but only through the company’s Japanese investor’s website. That this was shared with investors and not with consumers is telling of Nintendo’s strategy.

In the meantime, one western territory did receive the New 3DS in 2014: Australia, along with fellow nation New Zealand. This probably came down to the nation’s close distance from Japan, meaning that manufacturing and shipping the units (coupled with the smaller amount of game releases down under) made it easy for Nintendo to test the system before launching in the greater parts of the world.

To this day, nothing has been announced by Nintendo of America about the release date of the New 3DS. Conversely, Nintendo of Europe has been much more forward about it. A New Year’s message from NoE president Satoru Shibata all but said the handheld would be coming there in 2015. Meanwhile, Nintendo of America would be content with re-tweeting Michelle Phan’s Mii makeup tips.

Amb-1

But it was this week, and what prompted this editorial, that really struck a blow for North America. Select Club Nintendo members were granted access to an Ambassador Edition of the New 3DS…in Europe. And once again, NoA was deadly silent on the matter. Now, folks around the world have access to the New 3DS in Japan, Austrailia, some of Europe, but not here in the States. To rub salt in the wound, those Ambassador units shipped out one day within the first day of orders, proving that the official release can’t be far behind.

When asked why the New 3DS wasn’t launching in Europe or the U.S. in 2014, Satoru Iwata said that the west hadn’t bought enough 3DS units already available, that there wasn’t enough market penetration. “…neither of the cumulative sales figures of Nintendo 3DS in the U.S. nor Europe is more than that in Japan despite, based on the historical performance, bigger sales potential,” he told investors in October. “In short, Nintendo 3DS is still at an earlier stage of popularization in these two markets.”

The problem with this idea is that the west will potentially buy less of the standard 3DS when they know a better one is out there waiting. The real answer is the same reason Japan got Super Smash Bros. for 3DS first: Japan favors portables, so Nintendo is placing their bets on the strongest market.

Nintendo is in a position where they need to launch the New 3DS now. Nintendo stated at the start of their fiscal year 2014 that they would sell 12 million 3DS units. The first quarter, lacking killer software, caused the needle to only move less than a half million systems worldwide. The past holiday season in North America went without any mention of 3DS hardware numbers. Conversely in Japan, the 3DS hardware family outsold all other hardware combined for the year.

When did Nintendo of America become the red-headed stepchild of the company? Between the amiibo shortages and the silence on New 3DS, fans in North America are getting screwed over more than they realize. How much further is the company from their 12m goal? The New 3DS not launching worldwide sooner was a missed opportunity, especially during the critical holiday season. Hopefully it will launch before the end of March 2015, because the rest of the world can’t wait for long.

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About The Author

Editor-in-Chief (Former)

A man with a plan. My favorite video game franchise is Pokemon, but his favorite video game is Resident Evil 4. I can also tell you trivial cartoon factoids.