Last year, here on Nintendo Insider, I gave my thoughts on the Nintendo 3DS and looked at what it had achieved in its first year.
Now, two years since its original European release, I felt it would be interesting to take another look at the handheld and its achievements during its second year.
After a slow and disappointing start, the 3DS picked up pace substantially. There was a new addition to Nintendo’s handheld line-up, the 3DS XL, which offered fans a larger alternative to their 3D gaming.
Combined with regular 3DS systems, there have now been almost eight million 3DS systems sold in Europe since the console launched, and impressively, almost thirty million systems worldwide. Global sales have been helped by the success of Animal Crossing: New Leaf in Japan, as well as Fire Emblem: Awakening in the US, with the system now being available in a variety of different colours, making your choice of 3DS as personal and as individual as you.
It’s fair to say that the 3DS didn’t have a great deal of notable titles to start, but in my opinion, quality first party releases have been much more common in year two. There has been a steady stream of big titles like Kid Icarus: Uprising, New Super Mario Bros. 2, New Style Boutique and Paper Mario: Sticker Star for owners to enjoy. There was also plenty of third-party support from Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Heroes of Ruin, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate and most recently, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate.
I’m pleased to say that the Nintendo eShop has grown and matured, offering a broader number of titles, demos and an improved layout. Furthermore, the digital store has played host to some great sales, encouraging users to purchase their games digitally. I feel this is a positive step in the right direction for Nintendo, and I hope that they continue these sales and offer a realistic and affordable price for their games.
Nintendo have continued to support the software which is built into their system by releasing a sequel to Streetpass Quest, which could be unlocked after completing the original game. There were more enemies, alternative paths to take and more hats to collect.
Nintendo also added additional puzzles to Puzzle Swap, with the addition of pink puzzle pieces that could only be obtained through passing other 3DS systems, encouraging the use of the feature. I’ve personally found this to be more achievable by attending some of the bigger gaming events that I was lucky enough to attend this year, where attendees brought their 3DS with them. However I do feel that it’s a disadvantage to owners who live in small rural areas, who may not have that luxury.
The future of 3DS looks set to be even better, with lots of big releases just on the horizon. Both Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Fire Emblem: Awakening have been released in other regions for some time now, those titles will be here within the second quarter of 2013, along with Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. Beyond that, we have new Mario Golf, Mario and Donkey Kong and a new addition to the Mario & Luigi series.
The most notable title for many seems to be the sixth generation of Pokémon games, Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, which will release globally in October.
Personally, Animal Crossing: New Leaf is my most anticipated title, one that I have wanted to see for some time. It has sold almost three million copies in Japan, increasing sales of the 3DS massively in that region. I am confident that it will do the same in the west.
Finally, one of the biggest changes coming to the 3DS in the near future will be Miiverse, which has already been a big hit on the Wii U, allowing us to post updates and comments about our games as we play.
I have already expressed in a previous article just how much I love Miiverse on Wii U, and if the 3DS version of the service is anything like that, then the 3DS has an interesting future.
Happy Birthday Nintendo 3DS! Here’s to your third year…